Art Beat Blog Office of Arts & Culture

Art Hazards Project seeks new name, logo

Many art techniques involve the use of chemicals that can pose risks to human health and the environment if mishandled. The objective of the Art Hazards Project, a project of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, is to protect artists’ health and the natural environment in King County from the risks posed by hazardous chemicals in art supplies.

The project team collaborates with artists, art colleges, cooperatives, museums, galleries and suppliers to help artists and art educators understand risks, reduce potential exposures to chemical hazards, and ensure hazardous art materials are properly recycled or disposed when no longer needed.

This month, the program has kicked off a contest to develop a new name and logo for the Art Hazards Project. The artist who proposes the best new logo and/or new name will win $100 or a gift card to Pratt Fine Arts Center.

Click here to learn more about the contest to rename the Art Hazards Project. Entries must be submitted by midnight on September 10, 2010. There is no limit to the number of submissions that any one person may make.

The Gladiator is here… in Seattle

United Reggae magazine recently published a two-part interview with Seattle reggae master Clinton Fearon. Be sure to mark your calendars for Fearon’s upcoming free concert, 12 to 1:30 p.m., August 26 at Seattle City Hall.

Part 1 of the interview recaps Fearon’s work as bassist, singer and songwriter for reggae super group The Gladiators, his move to Seattle and the release of his new record Mi Deh Yah.

Part 2 focuses more on the Gladiators, Clinton’s time at Studio One and Black Ark, the move to Seattle and the creation of Boogie Brown band.

How arts organizations are surviving tough times

The past two years have been tough ones for artistic and cultural organizations in Seattle and across the U.S. That’s why Kelly Tweeddale’s new piece on Crosscut, “How Seattle Opera Is Surviving Tough Times,” stands out like a beacon.

As executive director of the Seattle Opera Association, Tweeddale presides over an organization that she openly admists “has been at battle with multiple enemies,” including a precarious economy, rapid changes in the way that audiences engage the arts, and the institutional risk-aversion that takes hold when money is tight.

And yet she writes that the Opera has not only survived, but even flourished this year; earlier this month, the Opera reported that it expects to have a balanced budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Tweeddale attributes this remarkable victory to an “amazing army” of people on and off the stage,  from hard-working marketers, human resource directors, finance and development staff, and trustees, to the many talented musicians and singers that light up the Opera stage.

The Seattle Opera’s story this year is a refreshing reminder of the power of determined artists and the professionals who support them – and the loyal audience that supports the whole operation. And, above all, it shows how much can be achieved by fighting for arts and culture, even in tough times.

New signal box artwork installed in the Central District

Seen anything out of the ordinary in the Central District lately? Three eye-catching decals were installed on signal boxes around the neighborhood last week. Designed by Seattle graphic artist Troy R. Miles, the three decal designs– “Straight Out the CD,” “Jackson Street Jazz,” and “Inside” – pay tribute to three different aspects of the Central District’s heritage: the neighborhood’s African-American population; the history of jazz nightclubs along Jackson Street (and the local jazz luminaries who played in them, including Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix); and the Jewish immigrant populations that arrived in the neighborhood in waves from the 1850s to the 1940s.

Adding artwork to traffic signal control boxes, or signal boxes, showcases a neighborhood or business district’s identity, engages pedestrians, and can discourage graffiti. This project was funded by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) 1% for Art funds and launched collaboratively by SDOT and the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.