Tag Archives: Seed Arts

Artist Studios Seek to Inspire “Hillman Renaissance”

by Marcus Harrison Green

Once it was the scourge of otherwise grand surroundings; the geographic pariah that made the city that sired it cringe at being forced to claim paternity of the warped offspring. The almost ceaseless violence that flooded its streets seeped into the psyche of all its inhabitants and tinged all social contact with fear. Those who warily called it home used the word as mere euphemism for a repository of destitution, anxiety, and horror. A neglected silo absent of opportunity and hope, with commerce reduced to the peddling of human flesh to satisfy the indulgences of carnal desires and urban opiate to compensate for the lack of more ambitious ones. That it was beyond rehabilitation seemed incontrovertible fact. That it was unworthy of it accepted gospel.

But a curious thing happened on its way to perpetual squalor, artists who straddled the worlds of literature, music, poetry, and dance found refuge in its borders. Their presence was felt only gradually at first, the pace of their activity moving no faster than honey’s trickle, but inevitably the indelible work they spawned proved a more transformative tool than any found at a foreman’s disposal, as they helped to craft what became recognized as America’s epicenter of cultural opulence.

And while history grows ever ignorant of Harlem’s dimmer days, preferring to rely tales from its golden era during this Harlem Renaissance period, it is the focus on this earlier era, that has inspired a laudable attempt at luring artists to the Hillman City neighborhood.

To be clear, even at its worst, Hillman City – often referred to by uninformed South Seattleites as: “That junction between Rainier Beach and Columbia City”- never matched the complete desolation found in Harlem prior to its metamorphosis, however it does share more with the area during that time frame than just commencing its name with the same consonant, as for some time economic stagnation and derelict scenery had come to define the area’s prospects.

Recently, however, a proliferation of new businesses, co-operatives, and restaurants have littered the blocks of the unsung neighborhood, and while their influx into the community has certainly sparked a long sought optimism in its residents, it’s total renaissance remains incomplete. This is something that Jerri Plumridge, SEEDArts Director, hopes to remedy as she borrows the same formula that lifted New York’s most famous borough out of its depravity during its artist fueled resurgence, in opening up SEEDArts Studios in the heart of Hillman City.

“We believe that art can act as a tool for transformation and we think having artists of diverse disciplines housed in Hillman will help to revitalize this area,” says Plumridge who had been working to establish an artist studio in South Seattle since the early 1990’s.

The SeedArts Studios, which will be housed right above the the Collaboratory on Rainier Avenue South and compliment the Columbia City Gallery and the Rainier Valley Cultural Center as South Seattle art hubs, will feature 22 artist workspaces , each replete with full spectrum LED lighting,a large window, new flooring and fresh paint, but it is the opportunity for collaboration amongst artists and the neighborhood that houses the facility that most excites Plumridge.

“There’s a lot of movement going on (in Hillman City) at the moment and we really want artists here who can be a part of that and help build on what’s already been established here. We want this place to be looked at as nexus of creativity in the area, and want art that is inspired by, produced and presented in this area.”

The artist units-ranging in price from $200 to $500 depending on the size – have already sparked interest from creative types from all over the region looking to be on the upper floor of an impending watershed moment in the Seattle arts world.

“The response has been outstanding,” says Plumridge, as applications continue to flood in (prior to the conclusion of the submission period at the end of the month). “As brilliant as artists are, we don’t just need them to make wonderful art, or write tremendous prose…We need them to use some of their creativity in creating Hillman as a vibrant place that, yes, can rival Harlem in its day!”

For more information about SEED Arts Studios call 206-349-6480 or email studios@seedseattle.org

The Emerald’s Guide to Art Walk Rainier Beach

Today delivers Art Walk Rainier Beach to the south end of Seattle. Fast becoming the Rainier Beach area’s seminal event, this year’s festival proved too immense to pack into just one day and as a result has been extended over the entire weekend for the first time in its brief history. This means you might need to start practicing your “sick” voice now – so you can hoodwink your boss come Monday- as all the food, music, art, and dance the festival has to offer promises to necessitate a day for recuperation!


Note* The intersection of Rainier Ave and Henderson will be closed for the event


Here is our guide to this weekend’s festivities


Art Walk Day 1, Saturday September 6th On South Henderson Street Between Rainier Ave And Seward

(Day 1 Events Will Take Place on Two Stages)

10:00 AM: Event Kickoff

Stage 1: Mariachi Guadalajara de Seattle

10:30 AM

Stage 2: Zumba With Toni

11:30 AM

Stage 1: Pico Blvd

Stage 2: Lion Dance Group

12:00 PM

Stage 2: Mapes Creek Walkway Opening with Yegizaw Michael

12:30 PM

Stage 2: Martial Arts Demonstration

1:00 PM

Stage 1: Salem Band

1:30 PM

Stage 2: Fly Moon Royalty

2:30 PM

Stage 1: Vote for Pedro

Stage 2: Cuban Dance Party With Reinier Valdes

4:00 PM

Stage 1: Yirim Seck

4:30 PM

Stage 2: Soyaya

5:00 PM

Stage 1: Shady Bottom

6:00 PM (End Time)

Activities Throughout Day 1: All Ages Basketball Skills Competition,Interactive Art Activities for All Ages, Art Cars

Food Trucks For Day 1: Maya’s Mexican, Neema’s Comfort, Athena’s, Quack Dogs

Rainier Beach Community Club Bake Sale


Art Walk Day 2, Sunday September 7th

(Events Will Take Place at Various Locations)

12:00 PM

@Rainier Beach Playfield (4707 S Cloverdale St): Ethiopian New Year Celebration (Food, Music and Children’s Activities)

@Rainier Beach Community Center (8825 Rainier Ave S): Rainier Dance Center Performance

@Rainier Beach Community Center: Chalk Art Contest

1:00 PM

@Buddha Jewel Monastery (7950 Rainier Avenue South): Buddha Jewel Monastery Tour

@Rainier Beach Community Center: Touchstones Beach Square Tour

2:00 PM

@Kubota Gardens (9817 55th Avenue South): Kubota Gardens Guided Tour with Artist in Residence Mary Magenta

2:30 PM

@Rainier Beach Community Center: SEED Arts Curated Tour

@ Rainier Beach Community Center: Touchstones Waterfront Tour

8:00 PM (Festival Concludes)