Filmmaker Megan Griffiths always she knew she would come to Seattle. Griffiths spent most of her adolescence in Idaho, and Seattle was the place she'd visit for a concert or to do some shopping. But Griffiths cheerfully acknowledges she knew nothing about Seattle's film community when she decided to relocate to the Northwest.
Eli Hastings remembers his first writing experience. "My mom had given me a diary," he recalled. Hastings was in elementary school, and he scrawled down a little poem, the kind of insulting ditty that schoolboys hurl at one another on the playground.
Rose Cano is a social worker in the broadest sense. By day, Cano translates for Spanish-speaking people with health care needs. But Cano's true social platform is theater. She envisions a society where live drama is accessible and in demand by everyone. And she devotes her time outside the office to making that happen.
Susan Robb has won a Creative Capital grant for her next project, in which she'll hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail with environmental policy makers, writers, activists, performers and poets. She is photographed in her Seattle studio.
Seattle artist Susan Robb’s work has been praised by art critics and gallery owners across the country. But the impact of what she does stretches beyond insider art circles. Her work creates new friendships and gets people thinking about how to live better lives.
If Seattle’s dance community had a mayor, it might be Tonya Lockyer. As executive artistic director of Velocity Dance Center, Lockyer oversees a busy hub of classes, performances, lectures, and even potluck dinners. Professional dancers mingle with aspiring amateurs and visiting artists check in at Velocity to learn more about the city’s dance scene. Velocity is busy seven days a week, and you’ll often find Lockyer at her desk, taking in the activity and plotting to create more.
Sub Pop Records may have started small but the label has always made a big impression. Sup Pop, which began as a fanzine and evolved into a record label in the late 1980s, is considered the epicenter of the grunge movement. Megan Jasper, vice president at Sub Pop, gives Ross Reynolds a tour of the office.
Daemond Arrindell wants to change the world. Not through the ballot box or protest marches. Arrindell’s weapon is poetry. He uses his words to touch individual lives, particularly the lives of young people.
Eyvind Kang is a violist, composer and improviser who lives in Seattle. You might not have heard of him before, but he’s played with the pop stars Beck and Laurie Anderson and with big names in jazz and new music like Bill Frisell and John Zorn. All these artists are drawn to Eyvind because of his playing, his musical imagination and his unpredictability.
When Randy Engstrom and Andy Fife start talking about Seattle arts and culture you can almost feel the air around them vibrate. "It’s like a natural resource," enthuses Engstrom. Fife chimes in. "This is a place where nature is abundant and provides so much. Likewise culture."
You get the sense you’re face to face with the contemporary versions of Frederick Weyerhauser or Bill Boeing, adventurers who came West to seek their fortunes more than a century ago. Instead of harvesting trees, though, Fife and Engstrom plan to harness culture to expand Seattle’s economic vibrancy.
Contemporary art is a lot like baseball: you can't really enjoy it until you understand a few rules. Nobody, not even the hippest art insider, is born appreciating abstract expressionism or conceptual performance. In fact, no two people will give you the same definition of contemporary art. It can be anything, from abstract painting to live performance.
With her stylish clothing and regal bearing, art educator and curator Yoko Ott looks like she was born in one of the world's great art capitals. But appearances are deceiving. "It doesn't get further away from the contemporary art scene than a little island in the middle of the Pacific," she laughs.