Washington Center for Performing Arts Launches Capital Campaign

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts announced last week at their annual Gala that they will be implementing the first comprehensive capital campaign since construction in 1985. With a goal of raising $8.6 million dollars to overhaul the many components that are at the heart of every theater, the campaign will touch every aspect of the Center’s interior.

Chaired by Alex and Tammy Bunn, the campaign is already 89% of the way to the goal, with over $7.6 million in commitments. With just a little under $1 million to raise, the Bunns are passionate about the facility. “The arts set children and adults up to pursue their dreams,” says Alex. “The Washington Center is an anchor in our community and shines as our region’s most treasured asset.” As a long-time board member and a past board president, Alex has a seasoned perspective on the Center and its needs.

Implemented in two phases, the improvements will be identified in two major categories as backstage and public spaces. Backstage improvements include lighting, sound, curtains and rigging.  All of these elements bring the theater to life for thousands of patrons every year. Public spaces will include 1,000 new seats, carpet, concessions remodel and interior design improvements, as well as infrastructure like HVAC and electrical upgrades.

Eager to ensure the interior of the Center matches the beautiful exterior which was renovated by the City of Olympia in 2014, Executive Director Jill Barnes believes the improvements will protect the community’s past investment and enhance how patrons feel when they walk through the doors. According to Barnes, “delivering a world-class experience is needed to maintain the highest level of quality in every aspect of the Center, from backstage and onstage, to our lobbies and concession areas.” She added, “We are proud to have the opportunity and support to preserve and care for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts like the cultural and community asset that it is.”

Barnes says the COVID-19 pandemic was a hurdle the campaign committee did not anticipate. “The shutdown due to the global pandemic has been devastating to the entire arts industry,” says Barnes. “The reopening of the Center is a true testament to the emotional power of the arts.”

She continues, “We ‘quietly’ embarked on a capital campaign several years ago. The pandemic added significant uncertainty and stress to an already herculean undertaking. The perseverance of staff, crew, and supporters during this time has been nothing short of miraculous. We know the full recovery of the arts may take years, and the possibility to recover in a fully renovated, state-of-the art venue made possible by this community fills me with hope and joy.”For more information about the Washington center, please visit www.washingtoncenter.org.

Debra Van Tuinen’s New Gallery Offering Light and Inspiration

Layers of blue, grey and silver leaf create deep and translucent layers that almost obscure the tiny boat in Debra Van Tuinen’s “Adrift” which is currently on view at her new gallery in downtown Olympia. The work, which seems to change from different angles, was created during the long months of the pandemic. For Van Tuinen, it reflects the crashing waves of confusion and deep sense of isolation many people struggled with and experienced in 2020.

With over a 40-year career as an artist, art teacher, and art supporter, Van Tuinen’s dedication to not only creating but sharing her work was not deterred by the limitations of the lockdown. The arrival of this new gallery, which opened in August of 2020, comes at an incredibly important time for art aficionados. Restricted from visiting museums, Van Tuinen’s work is viewable from the street through giant, light-filling windows as well as for private appointments. “I want people to be able to see my work and learn about what I do. You don’t have to be able to buy a piece,” said Van Tuinen.

Additionally, as travel restrictions limit explorations and adventures, it is through her work that new views can be found and savored. Focused on the personal exploration of landscape, many of these works can transport you
instantaneously to other places for that much needed change of scenery.

“Van Tuinen’s paintings possess radiance,” wrote LA art critic Doug Meyer. “They bask in the reflected light of a physical universe beyond the picture plane.”

She hopes to have a large grand opening to celebrate the new gallery and participate in the spring Art Walk in Olympia.

Eventually, she’d like to offer classes in the adjoining studio on encaustic techniques. Until then, Van Tuinen encourages people to walk by and enjoy the work on view.

With a career that has taken her art work around the world and included in private, corporate and museum collections, the Pacific Northwest is lucky to have an artist that remains grounded and accessible to anyone interested to enjoy the voyages of her work.

For Additional Information
Van Tuinen Art
vantuinenart.com

BY HILLARY RYAN

Keb’ Mo’ at The Washington Center

Time seems to award Keb’ Mo’ rather than age him. With 14 albums under his belt, a slue of Grammy Nominations and Awards, as well as Blues Foundation and BMI Awards, he’s a proven musical American classic.

He will perform Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at Washington Center for the Performing Arts. His latest album release was “TajMo” in 2017. Though this wasn’t the first time Keb’ Mo’ performed with Taj Mahal, it was the first time they recorded music together.

“The collaboration between Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ sounds spontaneous, with mutual respect for each other and for what each one represents in the music,” reviews Blues Rock Review. “Keb’ Mo’ wrote most of the songs on ‘TajMo’ and it has, in general, more of Keb’s background despite the fact that he said that Taj Mahal became a mentor to him.”

As for solo recordings, in 2016 he released “That Hot Pink Blues Album,” a compilation of live recordings during his 2015 tour. “Keb’ Mo’s combination of masterful, anecdotal writing skills, distinctive guitar versatility and rich, resonant, blues-soaked vocals are a testament to his respect in the music industry,” Blues Magazine reviews. “Every song tells a story, and every story reminds listeners of why Keb’ Mo’ is one of the most multi-talented and engaging musical raconteurs on today’s roots rock and blues scene.”

Keb’ Mo’ has carried on blues traditions while also implementing his original americana style, garnering countless fans. He’s even used his talents for Playing for Change Foundation, a non-profit organization built to support music education internationally.

A few years ago when Keb’ Mo’ performed at The Aladdin Theater in Portland, Portland Radio Project described, “In true Keb Mo fashion, his music is a representation of who he is and what he likes. He doesn’t worry about which genre it fits into; he just wants to make something he’s happy with. Lucky for us, we happen to like it too!”

Tickets range from $39 to $62, with VIP tickets available for $105 that include a meet and greet and photo opportunity with Keb’ Mo’, as well as an autographed gift package. Tickets are available at https://www.washingtoncenter.org/event/kebmo-1810/

JORDAN MARIE McCAW

 

In the Spirit

What is happening in the Indigenous art world in our region? Find out at the 13th annual IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts Exhibition, where you can see 29 works from 21 Native artists. The exhibition opens Saturday, June 30 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and will be on view through Sunday, August 12. There will be three opportunities for visitors to meet some of the artists as well: the awards ceremony on July 1, 3:00 PM; gallery talks on Third Thursday evening July 19, 5:30 PM; and the Northwest Native Festival on August 11, 12:00-7:00 PM.

IN THE SPIRIT connects the Washington State Historical Society’s (WSHS) Native collections with the vibrant contemporary arts scene. Visitors will see mixed media, paintings, beadwork, textiles, sculpture, carving, and basketry. Many of the artists live in Washington but others hail from Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, and even as far as Vermont and Virginia. Art collectors will be interested to know that most of the works in the show are available for purchase.

Artist RYAN! Feddersen spoke about the connection that IN THE SPIRIT provides. “As a mixed-heritage native artist living in an urban area, contemporary Indigenous arts is one of the ways I connect to my culture. In the Spirit provides an annual opportunity to bring together native artists to share work and create cultural dialogue. Receiving the Honoring Innovation award for my work in the 2017 exhibition made me feel recognized and supported. I look forward to engaging with this exhibition as it continues to grow and acknowledge the thriving contemporary Indigenous arts field.”

Each spring, Native artists from many states and Canada submit work for consideration by a jury of local artists and curators. The 2018 jury included artist Alex McCarty, Makah, a graduate of Evergreen State College; curator and artist Asia Tail, Cherokee, a graduate of Cooper Union School of Art in New York; and Lynette Miller, head of collections at WSHS.

“The jurying is blind, meaning we don’t know the artists’ names until we have selected the pieces to be exhibited,” said Miller. “I enjoy being surprised when an artist creates something that’s completely different from the work they submitted in earlier years. I love seeing the creative spirit at work!”

The Washington State Historical Society typically adds one work from each annual exhibition to its collection, and the selection is announced at the artist awards ceremony (in 2017, RYAN! Feddersen’s mixed media sculpture Micro Spill was chosen). The 2018 artist awards will include Best in Show, Honoring Innovation, Honoring the Northwest, and Honoring Tradition, along with the purchase prize. During the run of the exhibition, visitors can cast votes for the People’s Choice first and second place awards. Ballots are available in the gallery, and People’s Choice winners are revealed at the culminating festival.

The free IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival is an indoor/outdoor celebration on Saturday, August 11, from 12:00 to 7:00 PM, co-hosted by the History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum. Celebrate the diverse cultures of the Northwest with a Native arts market, dance, song, music, food, and a designer runway fashion show. The day will end with a performance by special guests Khu.éex’ (pronounced koo-eex), a band co-founded by artist and musician Preston Singletary. Khu.éex’ translates to “Potlatch” in the Tlingit language.  The History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum are excited to bring this immersive festival experience to the community.

For more information, see www.inthespiritarts.org.

 

Chinese Opera Comes to Tacoma

Audience members will be mesmerized by a cast of acclaimed performers as Thousand Faces Chinese Opera comes to Pantages Theater in Tacoma on May 13. One of the oldest dramatic art forms, Chinese opera has developed into unique regional styles. It has evolved beyond the tradition of singing and dancing to incorporate skillful visual elements. These include face changing, martial arts, acrobatics and even fire breathing.

Yu Long, who has perfected her craft of face changing over 30 years, explains her art as quick, accurate and beautiful. Spectators might call it magical and mysterious. In face changing, the artist wears a silk face mask to represent a character or emotion. During the performance the mask is changed repeatedly with the slightest movement and imperceptibly to the eyes of the audience.

Long was born and raised in Chengdu, the birthplace of Sichuan opera. She pleaded with officials to allow a woman to study the art of face changing. Previously only men were allowed. Her dedication led to her being recognized by the Chinese government as the only national “female inheritor” of Sichuan opera.

Long will be in impressive company for Thousand Faces Chinese Opera. Joining her are Bole Zhao (赵宝乐), national opera producer and popular host of China’s Opera Channel; China national actors Wenge Hu (胡文阁), the best Mei-style Peking opera performer, and Yi Long (龙毅), a Sichuan opera performer who breathes fire; Shijia Jiang (姜适迦), a well-known Peking opera performer and professor of drama; and Lucy Wu (吴小妹), Peking opera jinghu performer and winner of the China Culture Ministry’s Outstanding Youth Artist Achievement Award. The show will also include demonstrations of calligraphy, painting, tea arts, puppetry and acrobatics.

Thousand Faces Chinese Opera will be performed in Seattle on May 12 and Tacoma on May 13. The performances are sponsored by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, America Long Yu Chinese Traditional Culture and Face Changing Art Academy, Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, and .

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Asia Pacific Cultural Center at 253.383.3900 or visit asiapacificculturalcenter.org/chineseopera. by Julie leydelmeyer

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvNyGnlBzg0

Asia Pacific Cultural Center

4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA

 

 

 

Tacoma City Ballet Has a New Home

Tacoma City Ballet has officially become the resident dance company of the new Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center. The change of venue for the ballet, welcomed by Federal Way, means that The Nutcracker of Tacoma will now be in Federal Way.

“I’m happy moving to Federal Way,” Ceragioli said. “The stage is bigger and there’s more wing space; the orchestra pit holds 52 musicians; and the box office is inside the beautiful, huge lobby. It will be very convenient for our audiences because there’s plenty of free parking, as well as nearby shopping and restaurants. It’s wonderful working in such a warm and inviting atmosphere.”

The Tacoma City Ballet has an exciting season planned, kicking off with the timeless holiday classic of the most famous ballet in the world. Now told in its entirety, The Tale of The Hard Nut is presented alongside the traditional Russian , creating a glorious production filled with dancing, live orchestral music, grand scenery and lavish costumes, bearing all of the original trappings of the beautiful 1892 Russian production.

In April and May, audiences can enjoy the storybook classic Cinderella, followed by a full-scale production of Dracula next October. All Tacoma City Ballet productions are accompanied by the Tacoma City Ballet Orchestra.

Tacoma City Ballet

tacomacityballet.com

253.272.4219

Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center
fwpaec.org

253.835.7010

Kelly Lenihan

Creative Forces Celerates 5 years

Promoting and honoring local artists, Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries is celebrating five years in business. Owner Carolyn Osborne believes that people come back to Creative Forces because they enjoy the variety, they know the importance of local and they know that she loves promoting the art of every one of her artists.

“They also know that they don’t have to ‘check’ to see if it’s local,” adds Osborne. “If it’s in Creative Forces, it’s 100 percent local. I believe that people who come back to the shop enjoy the ‘relationship’ that we establish. They know I’m a real person, realizing a longtime dream. Passion is important!”

Located in Tacoma’s Hotel Murano, the shop opened featuring 12 artists. Now it features 63, with most of the original artists still showcased there. “I have known artists, artists have found me, and I have found them,” recalls Osborne. “One artist, Nola Tresslar, had posted a piece on Facebook and I loved it, so I found more information on her, called her, and it turns out she lives within walking distance of my home!”

The art ranges from textiles to paintings to leather to blown glass. On the third Thursday of every month, the shop hosts an Art & Wine Night from 5 to 9 p.m. “People often forget what they came looking for once they step inside and see all the art,” Osborne says.

“I always wanted to open a gallery to feature my work as well as promote local artists. Not the artists that are famous and have big money behind them. I’m talking about the amazing, talented people that walk among us. Those are the ones often overlooked because of the lack of places that show local work. They are incredible people with a gift and amazing energy.”

No big changes are coming to Creative Forces anytime soon—Osborne will simply continue to feature local artists, as well as her own art. “I have watched Creative Forces grow in the number of artists,” she says. “And most importantly I have watched as more and more local people are becoming aware of our existence.” by Jordan Marie McCaw

Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries

creativeforcesgallery.com

1320 Broadway, Tacoma

253.227.8871

South Sound Fall Arts 2017

With the days shortening and the weather getting cooler, now is the time to plan your fall arts calendar. No matter what you are interested in, you’ll find outstanding performances in the South Sound this autumn. We’ve selected a few standouts that you shouldn’t miss.

POWERHOUSE VOCALS
Experience a night of electrifying music that traces the journey of American superstar Janis Joplin in A Night with Janis Joplin. You get two chances to see this amazing performance that celebrates the queen of rock ’n’ roll at either the Pantages in Tacoma or the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.

More amazing vocals are on stage in Piaf! The Show coming to Olympia in October. Focused on legendary Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf, known as “the swallow of Montmartre,” the show follows the ragsto-riches story of the singer’s career through unforgettable songs, complemented by historical photographs from a bygone day.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
Are current events getting you down? A night of laughter awaits with The Capitol Steps at the Pantages. “Putting the mock in democracy,” this performance will have you rolling in the aisles as Hillary Clinton sings a show tune, President Trump performs a rock ballad or Chris Christie dances ballet. This lighthearted show will certainly put a smile on your face.

Once you get the taste for comedy, you may be interested in checking out other comedic offerings such as the semifinal round of the Seattle International Comedy Competition at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and stand-up star in the making Hari Kondabolu, who has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with David Letterman and who just released his second comedy album with major success.

BACK TO CLASSICS
The brand-new Federal Way Performing Arts Center opens its inaugural season with RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. It’s been 50 years since Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released and here’s your chance to be immersed in Beatlemania.

Other classics offered this fall include Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s Footloose, Symphony Tacoma’s West Side Story, Lakewood Playhouse’s all-kid performance of Alice in Wonderland, and a chance to belt out “Tomorrow” at the Sing-a-long Annie show at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

You don’t need to go far for great performances that will keep your evenings entertaining this fall. The South Sound is full of amazing choices, so book your tickets soon.

HILLARY RYAN

BROADWAY CENTER
broadwaycenter.org

THE WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
washingtoncenter.org

FEDERAL WAY PERFORMING ARTS AND EVENTS CENTER
fwarts-eventcenter.org

TACOMA MUSICAL PLAYHOUSE
tmp.org

Tacoma Art Museum: Prestigious Portraiture

We have all seen portraits—but wait until you visit “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” at Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibit is composed of 43 innovative works from a Smithsonian competition.

With a dazzling variety of media, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and mixed media, the portraits explore powerful themes and challenge imaginations. The museum exhibit is on view through May 14.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Smithsonian’s exhibition to TAM and to the region,” said Stephanie Stebich, the now former executive director who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Tacoma. “Portraiture is one of TAM’s collecting strengths. Portraits carry meaning that everyone can relate to. These portraits tell stories of national concerns that resonate in Tacoma too.”

Unique stories revealed in the portraits include experiences in family and parenting, fragility of childhood, migration, race and gender, health care, poverty, and at-risk youth. The artists, as one placard states, “reveal the diversity of experiences that connect us.”

Prepare to be impressed by the large-scale works, the unique collections that express an artist’s experience, the diversity in the portraits, and the representations of current national issues. This is a show that inspires thinking on multiple levels. Visitors are invited to vote for their favorite portraits.

First prize in the Smithsonian competition went to Amy Sherald of Baltimore for an oil on canvas titled “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).” The artist grew up in Columbus, Georgia, aware of the “appropriate” behavior expected of her as an African American girl. The girl in the portrait is set on a dreamlike turquoise background. Sherald used light gray paint to “omit” skin color so her subject appears both realistic and otherworldly.

The triennial competition for contemporary portraiture and this Outwin 2016 exhibition are possible because of a gift from the late Virginia Outwin Boochever, a Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery volunteer and benefactor. More than 2,500 artists submitted entries in this fourth iteration of the competition.

This is the first time the show has traveled away from the Smithsonian gallery. Tacoma Art Museum is the first stop and only West Coast stop on a national tour. This is your opportunity to see portraits as you have never seen them before.

EMILY HAPPY

For more information, including hours and admission:

TACOMA ART MUSEUM

tacomaartmuseum.org

253.272.4258

1701 Pacific Ave

Tacoma, WA 98402