Seattle City (spot)Light: Katie Seling

Katie Seling has served on City Light’s Customer Energy Solutions (CES) team for the past six years. “In my current role, I evaluate the effectiveness of conservation programs,” Katie explained. “Are our customers saving what we think they’re saving? Are people participating in areas we think they are? How well is a program designed—is this something we can make more streamlined for our customers? Have we reached all of our customers and made programs available equitably?”

A native Washingtonian, Katie grew up in Lake Stevens and lives in Shoreline with her husband, Peter. They have two young sons with whom they enjoy the area’s parks and activities. “Green Lake is one of our favorite places to hang out during the summer,” she said. In this week’s (spot)Light, Katie talks about her family, her love of music and how her philosophy degree from the University of Washington laid a strong foundation for her job.

Katie and her sons at a Pride parade

“I really like living here. I love that we’re so close to the water and that we have such easy access to the mountains. I also like the climate—maybe not ten months out of the year when it’s raining, but it does make everything green. My husband and I have traveled around and can imagine living in other places, but not for long. We talk about taking our family to live abroad for a year or two, but we’d always return home to the Northwest.”

“Right now, baseball is kind of taking up the bulk of our family time. My older son is a baseball fanatic. My husband is also a huge Mariners fan. We’re a Mariners family. Even when they’re losing, we cheer them on. So, we’re either watching our son play baseball at the park or have it on TV, the radio or getting updates on Peter’s phone.”

“Music is also another family activity. When he’s not teaching middle school kids, my husband is a musician—he plays guitar, primarily—so the kids are constantly playing the various instruments we have at home. Seattle has a great music scene. Some of our favorite places to catch a show are Neumos and the Neptune. Lo-fi and the Columbia City Theater are amazing little venues. I like it when my husband plays there and at the Vera Project, where our kids sometimes join him on stage. We’re very proud to be KEXP supporters, too.”

“I like to write and am a creative person, but philosophy grounded me in analysis and critical thinking. So, I’ve applied those traits to my work with our conservation programs. I also love data and determining who is taking advantage of our programs and who isn’t. Another huge focus of mine is ensuring that the utility is creating good equity-focused programs. It’s important that RSJI (the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative) is broadly integrated into various aspects of our organization like internal operations, our programs and our evaluation process.”

“I like working at City Light because we’re serving the community. I don’t like doing work that doesn’t connect to my values. Community service, education and social justice are my three top values, and if I’m not part of those things, I just can’t whole-heartedly invest in my work.”

New Mural at KEXP

This spring artist Aramis Hamer is creating a temporary mural at the site of KEXP’s new offices and studio at the northwest corner of the Seattle Center campus. A temporary wall running 130+ feet was installed along the south side of Republican Street, where Hamer will complete her artwork for the April 16 opening of KEXP.

On Saturday, March 19 from 2-5 p.m., Aramis will host a community information and engagement session at The Vera Project, 305 Harrison Street on the Seattle Center campus. Aramis invites anyone interested to bring their retired music ephemera –CDs, LPs, and cassette tapes (1 – 2 items per person)—which will become sculptural elements in the mural.

Hamer’s mural will celebrate Seattle’s diverse communities and reflect the history and evolution of the music industry. Her vibrant mural, which will take viewers from KEXP’s library to the entrance of Seattle Center, will include acrylic paint and objects, from LPs and cassettes to CDs. The mural will engage the imagination as a fitting tribute the KEXP’s new offices and studio. According to Hamer, “Music is definitely one of my main inspirations. Songs are like stories and while listening to the lyrics, an image forms in my mind inspiring the next piece.”

Hamer moved to Seattle from Chicago, IL. She draws from music as her inspiration to create large-scale acrylic paintings. Her work is heavily influenced by street art, hip hop, and urban landscapes. Hamer has created a number of paintings for private commissions and public exhibition and collaborated with community members of the Central Area to create an interactive chalkboard mural at 23rd and Union in the summer of 2015. She completed the Office of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Boot Camp in 2015.

Funding provided by Seattle Center 1% for Art and Seattle Center funds.

Pianos in the Parks campaign encouraged music, community and a whole lot of walking

The piano in Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. Photo by Jason Barber


The Pianos in the Parks campaign ran from July 17 to Aug. 17, and park visitors seemed to enjoy every minute of it.  People from all over King County sought out the 20 parks pianos during the last month and entertained passersby with their musical talents. Thirteen of the pianos were in Seattle parks. The pianos brought together members of the community. Circles formed around musicians as familiar songs were played.

The piano in Westlake Park. Photo by Jason Barber

But the Pianos in the Parks campaign inspired more than just musicians. For one Seattle man, the pianos inspired a 59-mile urban hike.

Jason Barber was born and raised in Seattle and works at Harborview Medical Center as a research consultant and biostatistician in the Department of Neurological Surgery. He recently met Erin Moyer, the Director of Marketing at Laird Norton Wealth Management, the company that spearheaded the Pianos in the Parks campaign. When he heard about the 20 pianos, he decided to walk to all of them in a single weekend.

Jason Barber’s walking route, day 1.

“I’ve done a fair amount of hiking in the past, but a couple years ago I started doing 25-mile solo hikes in and around the city for a change of pace,” Barber said. “I found that I really enjoyed locating and visiting lesser-known Seattle neighborhoods and landmarks that I’d only ever heard about. Pianos in the Parks provided the perfect motivation to plan and execute a challenging two-day walk that not only took me through new territory and dozens of neighborhoods, but also provided very tangible milestones along the way to mark my progress.”

Barber said arriving at each of the locations felt special, so he had a difficult time choosing a favorite piano. He said he particularly liked how the Gage Academy of Art artists used unexpected psychedelic colors on the Steve Cox and Marymoor pianos and he also enjoyed the jungle piano at Sam Smith Park and the ocean piano at Hing Hay Park.

Jason Barber’s walking route, day 2.

Barber said he took the piano lessons as a child, but hasn’t played in many years and didn’t attempt a contest entry. However he did spot three people during his walk that were recording their performances on their smart phones.

“There was a tattooed guy with a skateboard who was totally rockin’ out “Billie Jean” on the Westlake piano,” Barber said. “He definitely drew the largest crowd of all the performers I saw and clearly enjoyed being the showman.”

To see other people inspired by the parks pianos, visit the campaign’s Facebook page at The winner of the Parks in the Pianos contest will perform this Friday, Aug. 22, at the Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP and Seattle Center. The concert will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Mural Amphitheatre (305 Harrison St).