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Original Hits by Original Artists & Upstream Music in a Good Arts Pop-up

R.I.P. the album cover, sort of. We said our goodbyes to that roomy square-foot of substantial cardstock, with its fantastic artwork — maybe by Warhol or Dali or Mapplethorpe —to name just a few. We also said our goodbyes to the hours of contemplation of the cover-art while the music spun on a nearby turntable, a unique synthesis of the aural with the visual with the tactile — a feast for the soul. Then the album cover was demoted in both size and importance, a mere afterthought of a booklet cover, encased in brittle plastic. Now stripped of its physicality entirely, it’s relegated to the ether where its low-rez pixelated remains live out their diminished existence barely visible on tiny hand-held screens. Until now! With LP sales now at a twenty-eight-year high, the album cover (both genuine and fake) is back!

Original Hits by Original Artists, opening May 4 at the Good Arts Building, will pay proper homage to the art of the album cover, both past and present—without the album. The exhibit features covers for dozens of fabricated albums cut by bands that exist only in the artists’ imaginations. The show will be on view May 4 – May 31, 2017 in our 108 Cherry Street storefront, downstairs from ’57 Biscayne & next door to the future home of Cherry Street Coffee House.

A Release Party and reception for the artists will be held First Thursday, May 4, 6:00 -10:00 p.m. followed by the Upstream Music Fest, May 11-13, when there will be actual live (if unrelated) music on site, programmed by Upstream during the run of the festival. One of a handful of free venues in the neighborhood, it will be open from 4-8PM on May 11 & 12; and 1PM-8PM (music 4-8PM only) on May 13. Beer and snacks will be available for purchase during the festival courtesy of co-owner Cherry Street Coffee House. The exhibit will also be open on the last two Fridays and Saturdays in May, from 1-6PM and by appointment.

Original Hits is co-curated by artists Jane Richlovsky and Dara Solliday of ’57 Biscayne studios which, incidentally, were named for a Joni Mitchell song lyric. For this show Richlovsky and Solliday invited approximately thirty-three and one third artists to unearth those long-forgotten catch phrases that had once sparked a reply of “That would make a great band name!” and then create a full-size old-school 12-inch LP album cover for this hypothetical hitmaker. Artists include Romson Bustillo, Kelly Lyles, Nia Michaels, Jed Dunkerley, Gabriel Campanario, Richlovsky, and Solliday, showing fake album covers in paint, collage, repurposed tin, textiles, wood, and who knows what else.

Coming soon: The newest Cherry Street Coffee House, Upstream Music Fest, AND the art of the album cover

Watch this space! Construction began this week for the new Cherry Street Coffee House in the southwest corner of the Good Arts Building. Three spaces are being combined, the former Cafe Bengodi plus two adjacent storefronts that once housed Metzger Maps and, in more recent memory, a bar featuring naked sushi.

Good Arts denizens ’57 Biscayne Studios will present Original Hits by Original Artists as the inaugural exhibit in the new space: Opening May 4,  the show will pay proper homage to the art of the album cover, both past and present—without the album. The exhibit features covers for approximately 33-1/3  fabricated albums cut by bands that exist only in the artists’ imaginations. On view May 4 – May 31, 2017 in the future home of Cherry Street Coffee House, 700 1st Avenue.

A Release Party and reception for the artists will be held First Thursday, May 4, 6:00 -10:00 p.m. followed by the Upstream Music Fest, May 11-13, when there will be actual live (if unrelated) music on site, programmed by Upstream during the run of the festival. (One of a handful of free venues in the neighborhood.)

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Naughtiness at the Good Arts Building

There’s a peepshow at the Good Arts Building. If you should happen to glance over at the window as you walk by 108 Cherry Street, you might catch a glimpse of a gyrating silhouette through the cutouts in the blacked-out windows. Step right up and take a closer look, and leave your noseprint with all the others on the window.

Amanda James Parker’s Ghosts II is an iteration of an earlier site-specific video installation, Ghosts of Flesh Avenue. Inspired by the artist’s experience as a dancer at an iconic, now extinct Seattle peep show, Ghosts II pays homage to downtown Seattle’s checkered history as a skid row and red light district, the evidence of which is rapidly being washed away to make way for a shinier, cleaned-up downtown. Artist, art model, longtime associate of ’57 Biscayne, Parker created the original video to project at the former site of the defunct Lusty Lady strip club, just down the road from us on First Avenue. She needed a place to shoot a video of naked people dancing, and Good Arts had an open space to lend her. She hung a translucent scrim from the ceiling and invited a bunch of her former stripper pals to dance together once again, filming their ghostly silhouettes through the fabric.

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Parker first projected the video onto the walls of the old Lusty Lady last September, setting up a dance floor for patrons to join them. The more voyeuristically-inclined could watch through holes in a nearby wall. Jen Graves wrote about the piece in the Stranger.

Ghosts of Flesh Avenue was slated to run at the Lusty Lady for just a month but, our building being no slacker in the sleazy-past department, we invited her to remount the video piece at the Good Arts Building in the same storefront where she’d shot the original footage. Ghosts II had its Cherry Street debut in December 2016, and is now running 24/7 for several months, until construction begins for the Good Arts Arcade gallery and studios. Best time to see it is after dark, but come take a peep any time. C’mon, you know you want to.

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The Artist and the Developer

Last spring, UW Professor Jeff Schulman interviewed some of the Good Arts partners for his Seattle Growth Podcast. He hadn’t used much of our material in the original series, (we got pre-empted by the mayor, whatever), but then a couple of days ago Jeff wrote us:
“With all the divisiveness in country, I felt like now was a good time to share the powerful story of the good that can come from approaching challenges and community members with an open mind.”
The story of the Good Arts Building is, literally, A Very Special Episode of the Seattle Growth Podcast:The Artist and the Developer, available on iTunes. It’s a half-hour and very uplifting, even if we do say so ourselves.

Getting ready for our new look!

The Good Arts Building is being wrapped in scaffolding this week, in preparation for a major exterior refurbishment. The new colors, designed by Jane Richlovsky with input from other artists of ’57 Biscayne, and approved by the Pioneer Square Preservation Board this past summer, will highlight the unique Victorian decoration on the building’s trim and complement the brick and sandstone facade.

southelevationwebRendering of the Cherry Street elevation of the building.

westelevationwebRendering of the First Avenue elevation.

Good Arts Building featured on KPLU radio

KPLU reporter Monica Spain visited the Good Arts Building last week to chat with Jane Richlovsky and guest artist Gabriel Campanario about Placiness, the exhibit now on view at ’57 Biscayne on the second floor of Good Arts. Hear or read the story here.

Placiness features artwork inspired by the buildings, history, landscape, and humanscape of Seattle. Paintings, drawings, and photographs directly confronting the cityscape, constructions incorporating materials endemic to the region and more. Through August 28.

Photo of Juan Alonso‘s Town Hall digital prints by Jane Richlovsky

Art Pop-ups (and the party) Continue Through August

Seattle Art Fair has ended, but the party at the Good Arts Building is just getting started. The pop-up galleries we’re hosting in the building, as well as the upstairs art studios, will continue programming cultural wonders through August.

The exhibition Placiness at ’57 Biscayne, upstairs at 110 Cherry, will be on view through August 28, open Fridays & Saturdays 1-6  (and most weekdays but an appointment is recommended). Hours and details here.

La Sala, around the corner at 702 First Avenue, has a full line-up of poetry and music events on the weekends in August, while their visual arts exhibit will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12-5 through August 30. Full schedule at lasalapresentslacocina.com.

Meanwhile, at the Center on Contemporary Art, 106 Cherry, What You See is What You Sweat flips cultural appropriation around and builds relationships between communities of color where whiteness is not the center, through a diverse array of media from video and textiles to paintings and photographs. Through August, Thursdays through Saturdays 1-7.

(photo courtesy La Sala)

Good Arts gearing up for Art Fair Weekend

Good Arts will be home to three pop-up galleries this weekend, in addition to a freshly-spruced-up ’57 Biscayne.

Above, ’57 Biscayne artists transform the upstairs lobby and install Placiness.

Cherry Street Coffee House viewed through our new neon sign

Cherry Street Coffee House viewed through our new neon sign

 

Good Arts sign guarded by attack chihuahua while awaiting installation

Good Arts sign guarded by attack chihuahua while awaiting installation

 

Placiness: Art inspired by Seattle

The Good Arts Building is dedicated to preserving space for artists to create in the middle of the city. Most people we talk to agree that it’s a great thing to make sure artists stay in the city. But what about the art they make there? Why do the artists themselves want to stay and make their work in Seattle?

Placiness, an exhibit curated by Good Arts partner Jane Richlovsky, opens August 4 at ‘57 Biscayne on the second floor of the Good Arts Building. The show gathers visual evidence of what it actually means–from the artists’ points of view–to live and work in Seattle, to move about the city and to look at things and people. Featured guest artists include Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario, Juan Alonso, Molly Magai, the late Drake Deknatel and more.

The show will run concurrent with the Seattle Art Fair, August 4-7, at 110 Cherry Street in Pioneer Square. An Artists’ Reception will be held Saturday, August 6 from 5-8 PM. Hours during the fair are First Thursday August 4, 5-8 PM; Fri/Sat. 12-8 PM; Sun. 1-6 PM

In keeping with its mission, Good Arts has signed on as an Event Partner to the Seattle Art Fair, and is hosting a Fair venue downstairs from the studios. In addition, the Good Arts Building is providing storefront space to La Sala Latino/a Artists Network and the Center on Contemporary Art; these groups are independently organizing concurrent events.

What’s up with the boxing gloves?

If you were to look up as you walked past the Good Arts Building, you might notice that our flower baskets aren’t hanging from the standard-issue Pioneer Square brackets. Two of the buildings’ owners designed and built these brackets to pay homage to some of the characters and institutions from the building’s colorful history.

Schelles’ Grotto, a notorious speakeasy (and worse) occupied the basement at the turn of the last century; several other saloons existed on the first floor over the years, including the Yankee Clipper Tavern.

Hershberg Men’s Clothiers were among the building’s first tenants; their highly visible signage dominates the corner in early photos.

Wolf’s Good Eats Cafeteria, whose name is emblazoned on the building in photos from the teens (and the inspiration for our name), occupied both second and third floors. The cup also marks the future location of Cherry Street Coffee House!

The Skid Road Theatre (1975-1980) was an important part of Seattle’s (and Pioneer Square’s) theatrical history; actors and directors who went on to shape local professional theatre worked there in their early years.

The 102 Cherry Club (basement, 1940’s) figures prominently in Se- attle jazz history as the club where visiting acts would wind down and play casual, unadvertised sets after public mainstage shows elsewhere. Our future plans involve restoring the basement to a performance space.

The Evergreen boxing gym occupied the third floor in the 1940’s -’60’s. Among the memorable quotes attributed to ts irrepressible proprietor, George Chemeres: “I lived by the sweat of my imagination” – which also happens to be an appropriate motto for the current second-floor occupant, ’57 Biscayne art studios.

An early sketch for the design

An early sketch for the design

discs, welding, steve coulter, pioneer square, good arts

The waterjet-cut steel discs awaiting assembly

clamped

A bracket assembled and ready for welding.

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Good Arts co-owner Steve Coulter welding a bracket.