Seattle City Light Seeks Partner for Georgetown Steam Plant

One of the Curtis vertical turbine generators at the historic Georgetown Steam Plant.

Seattle City Light is searching for a nonprofit organization to operate a self-sustaining center for STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – and expand public tours at the historic Georgetown Steam Plant.

“The Georgetown Steam Plant fascinates visitors during monthly open houses, and we see the potential for a much more active use as a museum and cultural center that can inspire and educate people of all ages,” Interim General Manager and CEO Jim Baggs said.

City Light owns the plant, which opened in 1907 to provide power for Seattle’s electric street car system and the Seattle-Tacoma Interurban Railway. It’s builder, Frank Gilbreth, was a great innovator and pioneer in scientific management, motion studies, ergonomics and modern construction. It houses the only two Curtis vertical turbine generators left in place in the world. The plant is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a designated National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, a National Historic Landmark and a Seattle Landmark.

More than 7,000 guests have visited the historic building since City Light began opening it to the public once a month in 2014.

City Light released a request for proposals today, seeking interested nonprofit organizations. Under the proposal, City Light would maintain ownership of the steam plant and provide maintenance of the building. The nonprofit partner would take over daily operations of the building, including tours, events and a museum/cultural center focused on STEAM education.

For more information on submitting a proposal, visit http://www.seattle.gov/light/georgetownsteamplant/request-for-proposal.asp

Statements of interest and qualifications are due by July 3 with a partner selection expected by the end of the year.

Attend a Jan. 13 Open House to Learn About Georgetown Steam Plant’s Future

For Immediate Release
Jan. 9, 2018

Contact: Scott Thomsen
206-615-0978
scott.thomsen@seattle.gov

Georgetown Steam Plant Prepares for New Future

January open house reveals advisory committee’s recommendations

SEATTLE – Seattle City Light will open the Georgetown Steam Plant to the public Jan. 13 for an open house, free guided tours and a chance to learn of key recommendations made by an outside committee comprised of historic preservationists, arts, culture and museum professionals and small business and history experts.

The Georgetown Steam Plant Advisory Committee was convened by the utility in spring of 2016 to advise on future restoration, use and management of the 110-year-old National Historic Landmark, owned by City Light since 1951. City Light accepted their recommendations and will recognize their work throughout this event with visual representations and a brief ceremony at noon.

The plant will be open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with tours beginning at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. City Light volunteers and advisory committee members will be on hand to elaborate and answer questions as well as accept community input on what is intended to become one of Seattle’s premier tourism and heritage destinations, serving diverse communities.

Georgetown Steam Plant Advisory Committee members include:
Lath Carlson, Living Computer Museum + Labs
Jennifer Mortensen, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
Larry Kreisman, Historic Seattle
Kji Kelly, Historic Seattle
Charlie Rathbun, 4Culture
Matthew Richter, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
John Bennett, John Bennett Properties, LLC
Jennifer Meisner, King County
Charles Beall, National Park Service
Lendy Hensley, City Catering
Elizabeth Stewart, Renton History Museum
Paula Becker, HistoryLink
Sarah Kavage, Artist and Urban Planner
Laurie Haag (retired), Museum of Flight
David Unger, MOHAI

More information and driving directions can be found at http://georgetownsteamplant.org/.
RSVP to the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/208478236385785/

Historic Georgetown Steam Plant powers graphic novel

Artist team David Lasky and Mairead Case selected to create novel

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle City Light has selected David Lasky and Mairead Case to create a fictionalized graphic novel about the historic Georgetown Steam Plant.

Built in 1906, the Georgetown Steam Plant advanced industrial architecture in its time through the early use of reinforced concrete employed on a massive scale. The steam plant was the result of forward-thinking in its turbine generator design that greatly increased power generation capability across the nation, and in turn influenced modern power generators. This project offers the opportunity to bring Seattle history to life, as demonstrated through the development and use of this building.

“We are thrilled to have David Lasky and Mairead Case create a story grounded in the experiences of the people and significance of the steam plant’s history,” says Lynn Best, Chief Environmental Officer Seattle City Light. “Their narrative will reach beyond Seattle and will tell the story of the historic plant as it transitions from retirement into a fully realized cultural space.”

West elevation exterior of engine room.
The Georgetown Steam Turbine Station, built in 1906 is now a National Historic Landmark. The plant is owned by Seattle City Light and has been working to restore the plant. It is open for tours the second Saturday of each month and is occasionally used as a teaching facility for steam power engineers and hobbyists.

Lasky and Case will write and illustrate a compelling fictionalized graphic novel that incorporates aspects of the Georgetown Steam Plant’s history. Lasky will serve as the illustrator and bring his skill as a comic book artist with fine art sensibilities. Case, serving as the writer, will develop storylines that bring in historical information with a fictionalized narrative to ignite wonder and joy about this special building. Both have works previously published including Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank Young and David Lasky and See you in the Morning by Mairead Case.

Lasky and Case were selected from an open call inviting comic writers, artists, and illustrator teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia to apply. Seventy-one applications were reviewed by a selection panel that included Taneka Stotts, editor, comics artist, and creator of award winning anthologies; Kelly Froh, comics artist and co-founder of Short Run Comics and Arts Festival; and Larry Reid, Fantagraphics Bookstore Manager and President of the Georgetown Merchants Association.

The team will begin work immediately with in-depth research. As part of the project, they will be sharing progress throughout the next year in a combination of online updates on their blog at SteamPlantGraphicNovel and in-person events.

The finished book will be printed and made available free of charge through regional libraries, museums, and schools in 2019. The Georgetown Steam Plant graphic novel is commissioned by the Office of Arts & Culture and is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds.

Image: Photo of the Georgetown Steam Plan, by Ben Benschneider. Illustration: Single Girl panel from Carter Family: Don’t Forget this Song by Frank Young and David Lasky

Historic Georgetown Steam Plant Powers Graphic Novel

An atist works outside the Georgetown Steam Plant.

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle City Light has selected David Lasky and Mairead Case to create a fictionalized graphic novel about the historic Georgetown Steam Plant.

Built in 1906, the Georgetown Steam Plant advanced industrial architecture in its time through the early use of reinforced concrete employed on a massive scale. It was also forward thinking in its turbine generator design that greatly increased power generation capability across the nation, and in turn influenced modern power generators.  This project offers the opportunity to bring Seattle history to life, as demonstrated through the development and use of this building.

“We are thrilled to have David Lasky and Mairead Case create a story grounded in the experiences of the people and significance of the steam plant’s history,” says Lynn Best, Chief Environmental Officer Seattle City Light. “Their narrative will reach beyond Seattle and will tell the story of the historic plant as it transitions from retirement into a fully realized cultural space.”

David Lasky

Mairead Case

Lasky and Case will write and illustrate a compelling fictionalized graphic novel that incorporates aspects of the Georgetown Steam Plant’s history. Lasky will serve as the illustrator and bring his skill as a comic book artist with fine art sensibilities’.. Case, serving as the writer, will develop storylines that bring in historical information with a fictionalized narrative to ignite wonder and joy about this special building. Both have works previously published including Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank Young and David Lasky and See you in the Morning by Mairead Case.

Lasky and Case were selected from an open call inviting comic writers, artists, and illustrator teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia to apply. Seventy-one applications were reviewed by a selection panel that included Taneka Stotts, editor, comics artist, and creator of award winning anthologies; Kelly Froh, comics artist and co-founder of Short Run Comics and Arts Festival; and Larry Reid, Fantagraphics Bookstore Manager and President of the Georgetown Merchants Association.

The team will begin work immediately with in-depth research.  As part of the project, they will be sharing progress throughout the next year in a combination of online updates and in-person events.

The finished book will be printed and made available free of charge through regional libraries, museums, and schools in 2019.  The Georgetown Steam Plant graphic novel is commissioned by the Office of Arts & Culture and is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds.

One of the generators inside the Georgetown Steam Plant.

Learn About Georgetown Steam Plant Graphic Novel Project at July 8 Open House

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with Seattle City Light, has put out a call for submissions from an artist or team of artists interested in writing and illustrating a fictionalized graphic novel which incorporates aspects of the Georgetown Steam Plant’s history.

The call for submissions is open to all professional writers/artists/illustrators residing in Washington, Oregon, Idaho or British Columbia. Experienced and published graphic writers/artists/cartoonists encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is 11 p.m., Tuesday, August 15, 2017. The chosen artist or team of artists will receive an $85,000 commission.

Want to learn more? The Office of Arts & Culture is offering a free, optional workshop on July 8 at the Georgetown Steam Plant, where staff will be able to answer questions regarding the project and the online application system. Guided tours of the Georgetown Steam Plant are also available at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on that day, so you can get to know the prospective subject.  Visit the Georgetown Steam Plant website for driving and parking access information.

Georgetown Steam Plant Graphic Novel Workshop
Saturday, July 8, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Georgetown Steam Plant
6605 13th Ave S. Seattle, WA 98108

To read more about the project and what will be covered in the workshop, visit the Georgetown Steam Plant Graphic Novel project page at the Office of Arts & Culture website.