If you close your eyes and imagine what joy sounds like, what might you hear? The laughter of a loved one? The crescendo of your favorite piece of music? When I tried to recall the sounds of joy, so many other senses flooded in — they kept trying to drown out the sounds. This made me realize that sound can often be an overpowering experience, making silence a relief. But if we do not explore sound — do not imagine its possibilities or examine how it can shape us — then, we may find ourselves blocked. We may discover that silence becomes a barrier because the ability to make noise is a privilege.
A faceless young woman in a white “number 3” jersey rests her unseen hand against her hip — behind her a running track fades into the distance. A large brimmed hat sits stylishly slanted on a church lady’s head, and a young girl lugs a book bag into a mysterious hallway — she’s flanked by a man wearing a white armband. These “Iconic Black Women’’ paintings by visual artist Hiawatha D., are just a few of many that greet visitors at the Wonder of Women Gallery (WOW) in Pacific Place shopping mall (600 Pine Street, 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA).
Masked visitors were greeted by warm yellow walls featuring sculptural vignettes, precisely cut paper portraits, video installations, and collages at the inauguration of Packaged Black: Derrick Adams and Barbara Earl Thomas at the Henry Art Gallery last weekend.
The exhibition brings together the brilliance of Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams and Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas. It is a perfect mesh of works and mediums born from the two artists’ shared dialogue about representation, Black identity, and practices of cultural resistance. Though the concept of a shared exhibition between two artists is not new, there is something special about the visual dialogue between these artists.
“One of the things that is so exciting about this project is its origin out of mutual respect and shared conversation between these two artists,” said Henry Art Gallery curator Nina Bozicnik.
On Saturday, Sept. 18, The Liink Project, a co-op retail space in the Central District, hosted a pop-up market featuring local Black entrepreneurs and artists. The event featured lively music, Black art, and goods for purchase.
The venue, on Union Street and 20th Avenue, opened this past summer and features retail space Mondays through Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The space will continue to be used for markets, gallery shows, and other events at other times. Stephanie Morales, one of the co-founders of The Liink Project, hopes the space will be a place where local Black businesses can grow and find community in a neighborhood that has rapidly gentrified. Formed by community grassroot efforts, The Liink Project is continuing to accept donations.
Michael Hall, better known in Seattle as Specs Wizard, has been involved in hip hop culture since the 80’s. Specs grew up in a family that was into music and that early exposure set him on course to becoming an artist himself.
Africatown-Central District hosted the Malcolm X Hip Hop Soul Rally at Jimi Hendrix Park on the afternoon of Saturday, May 22, to honor the life and legacy of the late Black activist. The event was open to the public and featured live performances from local Black artists as well as vendor opportunities for Black business owners all gathered in community. Throughout the event, emcees emphasized the importance of investing in local Black businesses and celebrating local youth and their passions.
Organizations involved with putting the event together included King County Equity Now, Africatown community organizers, Black Dot, The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Black Action Coalition, and many others.
Seattle Black artists will be funded and supported, and LANGSTON, a nonprofit committed to “cultivating Black brilliance,” is building a framework to do just that. But first, they have a question: “What is it that Black artists need to thrive and make meaningful impacts on the city and the world?” And they’re asking Black artists in the Seattle metro area to provide the answers in an online survey by May 24, 2021. But this survey doesn’t narrowly focus on the needs of the artist’s craft — LANGSTON wants to consider the “whole artist.”
“Artists are humans, they’re workers, they have whole lives,” Tim Lennon, the executive director of LANGSTON, said during our video conference interview. “And their art, whatever their art is, is an integral part of that, but it’s not the totality of their existence.”
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
COVID-19 Vaccination Locations & Access Options
King County Fire District #20 Vaccine Pop-Up in Skyway —King County Fire District #20 is hosting weekly walk-up vaccine clinics in Skyway from May 19 to June 23. Beginning today, Wednesday, May 19, at 9 a.m. at the KC Fire District #20 Administration Office, individuals ages 12 and up can receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine!
The second pop-up has been rescheduled from Wednesday, May 26 to Tuesday, May 25.
In Lisa Myers Bulmash’s home, a new item commemorates her contest winner status — a cerulean pageant sash. The phrase “Miss Thang 2021” is written across it, and a rhinestone-encrusted safety pin ensures it stays in place. Bulmash can’t help but laugh when she talks about her husband’s playful gift.
A weekly round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Emerald Staff
Wa Na Wari Announces 2021 Artist Residencies
From Wa Na Wari: Wa Na Wari, based in Seattle’s Central District, is offering three one-month-long residencies in the Wa Na Wari house where a visual artist can work and create new visual artwork. The new work will then be on view at Wa Na Wari for a two-month period after the residency. The call is open to artists over 18 years of age that identify as part of the African diaspora living in King County, Washington. Each selected artist will receive a stipend of $2,000. The application deadline is on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.