Beacon Hill Public Art Bike Tour

Grab your helmets and join us for a FREE bicycle tour of public art in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Partnering with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is offering a family-friendly, seven-mile (round trip) bike tour for all ages and abilities that will take you from Jimi Hendrix Park/Northwest African-American Museum to Jefferson Park.

We will stop to view these public artworks—including the four sites below in the City’s collection—and more, including at the Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro:

Artists Elizabeth Conner (Drawing the Land and Painting and Sculpting the Land) and Gerard Tsutakawa (Urban Peace Circle), and others will join us to talk about their artworks. Participants will also learn about other bike routes in the region that feature prominent public artworks.

Date: Saturday, September 15
Tour Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tour starts: Jimi Hendrix Park, 2400 S Massachusetts St. (24th Ave S & S Massachusetts St). Meet at the shelter (pictured here).

This easy-paced tour will take you on public streets, bicycle lanes and multi-use trails. Participants need to provide their own bike (or use a dock-less ride share bike) and helmets are required.

What Does Freedom Look Like in the Classroom?

Written by Tina LaPadula

The past two years have been especially challenging for educators and students, as we all struggle to find space for restorative and creative learning.

This year’s Creative Advantage Professional Learning Series endeavored to address the rising tension and anxiety with goals to support reflection, healing, and community building. Supported by Regan Pro, Education and Community Programs Director from Seattle Art Museum and Lara Davis, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Arts Education Manager, my co-facilitators Shontina Vernon, Donte Felder and I created a map for the journey we hoped to guide participants through.

We had 3 opportunities to teach the workshop together, so worked iteratively and moved components around as we honed in on the most mindful sequence of stepping stones. We discussed our own classroom struggles this year and decided to center our exploration on a series of questions.

What is culture?

The day began with a walking meditation that Shontina facilitated followed up with a writing activity she uses with incarcerated youth exploring these prompts – Who claims you? What was happening at the time you were born and at the time you were coming of age?

Participant responses featured story snippets of family and loved ones peppered with generational details ranging from scrunchy hair bands to slain civil rights leaders. We then unpacked how our worldview, artistic practice and our approach to teaching have been shaped by these formative experiences. We explored how beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are represented in our familial, societal, institutional, and organizational cultures, and named aspects of our acculturation we inherit versus that which we actively seek to create.

Who gets to decide what is relevant?

After lunch the conversation shifted to pop culture. We considered what people in the future will say is happening now; Black Lives Matter, The Me Too Movement, ICE raids, school shootings, student protests, homelessness. Donte wondered what our students find relevant. He modeled an examination of classroom content that he’s used with his Orca K-8 students using the lyrics to Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar.

What does freedom look like in your classroom? In your practice?

My co-facilitators and I shared some critical questions we ask ourselves as a strategy to help us consistently examine the content we bring into our classrooms, check our biases, and support our students.

  • Is it anti-racist?
  • Is it intersectional?
  • What does it say relative to representation?
  • Is it complex or one-dimensional?
  • Does it promote archetypes or stereotypes?
  • What was happening historically as it relates to its origin?

Participants broke into small groups to incubate a larger list of Liberatory Questions. We inventoried our brainstorm, edited and revised it collectively. Here’s a small selection of what more than 90 teachers and teaching artists from all over the district generated:

  • Can students see themselves in this content?
  • Does it allow space for student voice (to create curriculum)?
  • How does this support my own cultural world view? (or detract from it?)
  • Is this cultural appropriation?
  • Am I willing to not be the expert?
  • Am I willing to be vulnerable? (as vulnerable as I’m asking my students to be?)
  • Am I willing to give up power? (power with, not power over)
  • Does this push assumptions?
  • Does this broaden the narrative created by the dominant culture?
  • What stereotypes does this perpetuate?
  • How will I address them if it does?
  • Does this engage + encourage joy?
  • How is this relevant to youth culture now?
  • Am I making space for students to show up in all their identities?
  • Does this support the shared goals of our community?
  • Does it reflect the diversity in the classroom?
  • Are the student’s voices in the content planning?
  • Am I asking more questions than I’m answering?
  • Am I valuing my students’ knowledge and experience?
  • Am I creating a non-hierarchical setting?
  • Is this content or exploration unveiling oppression?
  • Is this content empowering / inspiring action?
  • Does this material speak to me, but exclude others?
  • Am I bringing in this material because I want my students to think about me in a certain way, or because they will learn from it?
  • Do I understand my own authentic relationship to this content?
  • Can the students own his content, as “experts”?
  • Is this in my student’s vernacular / language?
  • Can my students see themselves as the protagonist?
  • Are they (and their experiences) centered?
  • What kind of response reaction might this inspire?
  • Is our institution ready to support us?
  • What are my real or perceived limitations, and how might I get around them?
  • Are my students ready to be liberated? Are WE?

“Creature Feature: Animal Art” Exhibition Brings Warm Fuzzies

Creature Feature: Animal Art
April 6 – June 29, 2018
Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 3rd Floor

How long have artists been making art about animals? Over 40,000 years!

Detail of Jeffry Mitchell’s “Petit Nature Morte (sic)”

There’s nothing in the city’s collection that far back, but we do have a variety of artworks that include various creatures both real and imagined. Creature Feature: Animal Art includes 23 artworks by 22 artists in a range of mediums, from tiny prints to large sculptures.

Detail of Shelley Moore’s “Ramona and Otis Watch the Insects”

Many of the animals found in Creature Feature are based in reality but a few artists reference mythology or create something new. Cappy Thompson’s painting on glass, Sophia and the Animals, depicts a woman surrounded by animals, a few of which don’t exist in nature. Owl Woman by Caroline Orr references stories passed down by her Native American ancestors via her grandparents. Dean Wong captures a child’s wonder at dragon’s heads lined up on the sidewalk in his photograph from 1993, Michael #11. There are even some Martians created by Susan Nininger and documented in photographs by Sharon Beals and William Murray.

Detail from Dean Wong’s “Michael (#11)”

Back on Earth, Grace Weston creates and photographs humorous scenes, as in her Plume vs. Plume depicting birds watching an atomic blast. Clair Colquitt’s Turista Radio combines kitsch, West Coast funk, parrots and National Public Radio in a bright ceramic package. Man’s best friend, in this case Harold Hoy’s Erector Yorkshire, is made completely out of galvanized steel tape and screws.

Detail from Blair Wilson’s “Crumbs”

Speaking of dogs, they are well represented from William Johnson’s abstracted drawing, Untitled (Running Dog) to Sherry Markovitz’s more realistic painting, One Black, One White to Cheryl Comstock’s two fantastical pieces, April Fools I & II, which include not only canines but cats, birds, humans and even a few bugs.

Northwest fauna is represented in Jimmy Jet’s City Suite lithograph in the form of an Orca, Tom Askman’s charcoal drawing of a bivalve in Clam Destiny/Clam Chowder and we get slugs and salmon, loathed and loved respectively, in Patrick Anderson’s linocut, Geography of Washington State, Vol. 2.

From 16 birds to 2 turtles and all the creatures in between, please enjoy this show curated from the Portable Works collection.

Poetry on Buses Road Show: Lunar New Year

Poetry works in metaphors, but we’re being literal when we tell you this: An upcoming poetry event will transport you.

If you take the First Hill Street Car from Broadway to the International District for this year’s Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, February 11, between Noon and 1:30pm, you will be treated to a live poetry reading along the way. In concert with King County Metro’s Poetry on Buses program, which has placed more than 350 original poems on local transit like Metro buses and the street car, several Asian and American Asian local aspiring poets will read their work on the way to the annual festivities.

Late in 2016 working with 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Metro, Sound Transit, and Seattle Streetcar, King County Metro received thousands of submissions in its “Poetry on Buses” project, soliciting poetry from King County residents. The only guidelines? The poems had to be 50-words or less and had to focus on the decidedly Pacific Northwest theme “Your Body of Water.”

On this special Sunday, several aspiring poets from the Asian and Asian American community will be reading their winning submissions on the route between Denny Way and the ID.

Wanted: Musician/Composer for Fremont Bridge Residency

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), seeks a practicing composer and/or musician to be an Artist-in Residence in the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge. The selected composer and/or musician will undertake an in-depth exploration of the historic bridge’s role and meaning for the city of Seattle and create music in response to this residency.

The project budget is $10,000 USD ($5,000 for residency, $5,000 for sound project, presentation, documentation), inclusive of all residency costs, project, presentation, documentation of the work, and applicable taxes. Payment will be made in installments based on benchmarks established by ARTS in consultation with the artist.


The call is open to established professional musicians/composers living in Seattle or within 100 miles of Seattle. The artist selection panel will consider artistic diversity as one factor in the selection process. Artists who are well represented or have received City Artist grants may not be prioritized as highly as those who have not. Students are not eligible to apply.


11 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Pacific Standard Time)


Apply on CaFÉ. For assistance with the CaFÉ online application process, contact CaFÉ tech support or call them at (888) 562-7232, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.


Please email Kristen Ramirez or call 206.615.1095 with any questions about this project.

Photo by Joe Mabel.