Art of Our City

Terry Crane, artistic director of Seattle's Acrobatic Conundrum.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Snoqualmie native Terry Crane has always been a climber.

“There are pictures of me climbing fences when I was two,” he laughs.

But Crane didn’t find his climbing bliss until he was 19. That’s when the circus rolled into Oberlin, Ohio, where Crane was a student at Oberlin College.

Beth Barrett cheerfully confesses that she almost flunked the only film studies class she took when she was a student at the University of Iowa.

'Isis' painting by Noah Davis.
Courtesy Frye Art Museum

Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes believes that to be an artist, one must live life to the max.

“I meet people all the time that don’t live full enough lives,” he says. “I’m real adamant about living. If people ask me, I’d be more inclined to say I’m a bon vivant than to tell you I’m an artist.”

Courtesy of Niki Sherey Keenan

Niki Sherey Keenan’s moments of inspiration arrive when most of us are still in bed.

“There might be a sunrise that only lasts five seconds,” she explains. “It would stick with me all day.”

Sherey Keenan recreates these special moments in her dream-like paintings.

Tod Marshall is Washington state's new poet laureate.
Courtesy of Amy Sinisterra Photography

Tod Marshall grew up in the Midwest, but Eastern Washington’s high desert is the place that inspires his poetry.

Marshall, the newly appointed Washington state poet laureate, teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and he spends much of his free time exploring the nearby vast open spaces.

Linda Hartzell, left, with SCT staff, working on an adaptation of 'High School Musical'
Courtesy of Chris Bennion

Linda Hartzell’s office at the Seattle Children’s Theater is packed with memorabilia. Photos of colleagues, friends and family clamor for space on the credenza behind her desk.

Hartzell’s happy to give details about these mementos, but she pauses when asked about a framed child’s drawing. 

Sarah Rudinoff at the piano at On The Boards.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman


That’s the best way to describe Seattle performer Sarah Rudinoff.

Musician Wayne Horvitz.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

When Wayne Horvitz moved to Seattle, he was looking for a quiet place to chill out between road trips.

He never imagined himself in a symphony hall.

Seattle mystery author J.A. Jance.
KUOW Photo/Michael Clinard

On a damp gray morning, J.A. Jance sits inside the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Her cheery yellow blazer stands out in all the gloom.

Jance chuckles as she points out a large shelf devoted to her books.

If you read mystery novels, chances are you’ve run across one of them. Jance has published 51 novels, along with novellas and short stories. They’re divided into four distinct series; three are set in Arizona, where Jance grew up.

"Welfare," by Billy Shire. This denim jacket has metal studs, crystal beads and a call bell on the back. The jacket won the 1974 Levis Denim Art contest. In the background, a photo by Sam Haskins.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Tie-dye. Macrame. Fringes and beads.

If you came of age in the 1960s, you’ll recognize these in the signature look of the era.

Maybe you turned your old jeans into a skirt, or embroidered colorful mandalas onto the back of a faded work shirt. In the 1960s and '70s, clothing was as much about personal expression as it was protection against the elements. But did you know you were creating art?

Composer Wayne Horvitz.
Courtesy of Nica Horvitz

Seattle’s Richard Hugo House is a literary center in a large wood-frame house, just east of Cal Anderson Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The center’s namesake, the late poet Richard Hugo, might be taken aback by the trendy restaurants and modern condo buildings that now vie for space in one of the city’s hippest and most expensive neighborhoods.

Roger Shimomura's "American in Disguise"
Courtesy Tacoma Art Museum

Roger Shimomura wasn't even three years old when he and his family were sent to the Puyallup Assembly Center in 1942. He celebrated his third birthday there.

That's one of his earliest memories.

Former PNB dancer Ariana Lallone at Teatro Zinzanni.
Courtesy of Teatro Zinzanni/Michael Doucett

She may kill me for revealing her age, but what the heck? 

Ariana Lallone is 47 years old, and she’s as striking and vibrant as the first time I saw her dance with Pacific Northwest Ballet 20 years ago.

Gordon Hirabayashi, a sociology student at the University of Washington, violated curfew set for Japanese Americans in Seattle.

When Jeanne Sakata was growing up near Watsonville, California, her parents never talked about what happened to them during World War II. Like thousands of other Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, Sakata’s family had been forcibly removed from their home and sent to an armed camp.

Madeline DeFrees in 1967. The poet, formerly a nun, would tuck an envelope and pencil into the deep pockets of her habit to write when she had time.
Lee Nye via

Madeline DeFrees published her first poem at the age of 12.

It was called “Sympathy,” written for a Portland newspaper poetry contest.