Art Mailbox: Drama about New Acting Director of ARTS, Van Gogh’s Immersive Installation Delayed, There’s a New BLM Mural in Town – Slog

Two Seattle Arts Commission co-chairs resigned on Tuesday on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s sudden appointment of the former executive director of the Royal Alley-Barnes Center for Contemporary Art as interim director of the Bureau of Arts and Culture (ARTS), Publicola reported. The post was vacated by Randy Engstrom earlier this year, with Calandra Childers serving as the interim director so far. In an open letter announcing their resignation, the commission’s Dr Quinton Morris and Sarah Wilke criticized the mayor’s “lack of process” without “any input or involvement from the Arts Commission or members of the arts and culture community.”


Spot a flurry of other open letters: As reported by Publicola, Tim Lennon of LANGSTON as well as a group of members of the ARTS Director Search Advisory Committee wrote letters arguing that the mayor did not consult with community members when making his decision. Lennon criticized “the apparent complete lack of consultation with our sector” and “the complete absence of an articulated strategy for ARTS which requires this change of leadership four months before the end of this administration.” Earlier this week, City Council President Lorena González and CM Tammy Morales also expressed frustration over Durkan’s early appointment to Alley-Barnes, although they ultimately agreed with the mayor.

In a statement sent by email to The foreigner: A spokesperson for the mayor’s office noted that the mayor had followed a similar process by appointing other interim or interim directors in the city. They did not consult with stakeholders during the appointments of Rico Quirindongo, Pamela Banks and Helen Howell to their municipal positions. In a separate email, mayor’s spokeswoman Kamaria Hightower said it was “unfortunate” that committee chairs have resigned, but she is “grateful” that González and Morales now agree with Alley-Barnes. She has included several letters from various community members and artists – such as former King County Council member Larry Gossett and CoCA’s Judith Rayl – in support of Alley-Barnes’ appointment.

Note : Alley-Barnes is the first black director to lead ARTS. It is too It should be noted that ARTS was criticized by a former black employee, Paul Rucker, for anti-black discrimination during his tenure at the department.

About that Van Gogh: the immersive experience exposure: It was supposed to open here in the city this month, but its secret location was never revealed and some customers have reported that their tickets have been canceled. Now the Seattle weather says the immersive installation has been pushed back to Oct. 15, giving consumers the option to defer or receive a full refund. The organizers behind the facility always keep the location a secret.

Recently, King County announced that it has allocated $ 20 million in grants for the cultural sector: The funds come from the American Rescue Plan and are up for grabs from “cultural organizations and creative businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said. The money will go specifically to organizations that can prove their inclusiveness and service to a diverse community in the county. Here’s how those funds – which organizations could start asking for last week – break down according to the county statement:

  • $ 16.5 million to arts, culture and heritage organizations with an annual budget of over $ 1 million for the full operating season before COVID 19
  • $ 1.5 million to science organizations that promote science and nature conservation through educational programs, exhibits and other public admission programs in King County
  • $ 1 million to independently owned and operated concert halls
  • $ 500,000 to independently owned and operated theaters
  • Besides, $ 9.4 million goes to 4Culture to be distributed to smaller arts organizations with pre-COVID operating budgets of less than $ 1 million. Yesterday, 4Culture posted the application for these grants.

    Well, how will the county ensure that the funds are fairly distributed? In an email last week, county spokeswoman Kristin Elia said she is “doing broad outreach” with her equity cabinet and partners to ensure that “organizations focused on the BIPOC, women and LGBTQ + are aware of this opportunity and the details of the candidacy there.

    And what do arts organizations and cultural venues think of this allocation of funds? “Finally, finally! Finally! ”Said Manny Cawaling, executive director of the arts advocacy organization Inspire Washington, on a call last week summarizing his feelings about the King County plan.“ Funding people can start asking for to access has been a long – over a year – advocacy effort. ”Cawaling praised the county’s“ commitment to cultural work ”and hopes to see more counties and cities across the state follow suit.

    “The timing is right because a lot of federal aid sources have expired, so organizations will start to have some cash, ”Cawaling observed. Especially since the Delta variant is causing some slowdown in the arts, he believes the public will “tiptoe back into the spaces,” making financial support critical to the success of many organizations.

    From another point of view : In an email to The foreigner, Ellen Walker, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, wrote that the $ 20 million in funds open to county arts organizations “comes at a critical time.” Noting that the ballet’s COVID security measures are costly to implement, she wrote that she hopes to use funds for “rapid tests for performers and the additional staff needed to keep the public and the venues safe and comfortable.” .

    The city installed a new long-term Black Lives Matter mural in front of Seattle City Hall: It’s interesting. The sidewalk public art installation has “BLACK LIVES MATTER” written in black and “enough is enough” is superimposed in red writing. In a statement announcing the installation, the mayor’s office said the project was born at the behest of organizations such as the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) and Onyx Fine Arts Collective, asking the city to show support for BLM. The mural is made of durable materials designed to last at least five years, with the Seattle Department of Transportation providing the maintenance. What I will saying is that “enough is enough” is not the first sentence I would associate with the BLM movement.


    About Bernice D. Brewer

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