arts | KUOW News and Information


Front Row Center 2017-2018 Season


Join KUOW’s Marcie Sillman as she pulls back the curtain on the creative process, giving participants a glimpse of why and how an artist creates work, and we hope, a greater appreciation for the rich and diverse cultural community in our region. 

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Mural artist Zoer paints a mural of a car crash on Friday, September 8, 2017, along the Sodo Track in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The King County Council has voted 6-3 to exert more over control over 4Culture, the public development authority that funds arts, culture and heritage organizations in the county. 

Council Chair Joe McDermott characterized the vote as a hostile takeover, but supporters believe it will lead to more equitable funding across the country.

There’s a line in “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple, that triggers pained recognition among locals.

“The drivers here are horrible,” she begins. “They’re the slowest drivers you ever saw.”

The Decemberists performing as a folk/rock band in 2011.
Flickr Photo/ann-dabney (CC BY-ND 2.0)/

The Decemberists are out with a new album Friday. The Portland-based band made a name for themselves as an indie folk/rock band a decade ago. But with a new synth heavy single, like "Severed," it seems the band is taking their sound in a different direction.

Bruce Lee spent formative years in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington from 1961 to 1964, majoring in philosophy. Behind him is Lake Washington, the subject of many of his poems.
Courtesy of Wing Luke Museum/® & © Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Before he was a martial arts icon, Bruce Lee was a poet, philosopher and fledgling instructor in Seattle.

Now there’s an exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum that focuses on that time in his life.

File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0)

Do you scoff when people say they support their local bookstores, but get their books on Amazon? Is supporting Woody Allen or R. Kelly any different? Katie Anthony says it can’t be. 

A Sony Walkman, belonging to a fictional character named Alex, holds a cassette mix tape.
GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser

Let this segment take you back — WAY back.

We’re in your high school computer class. It's the 1980s: Walkmans in backpacks, satin jackets in lockers, Apple IIe computers running BASIC. Where is this nostalgic wonderland, you ask? 

It's March 14! The day before the Ides of March, three days before St. Patrick's Day, but 3.14 is a special day all its own: Pi Day.

This year is the 30th anniversary of a whimsical holiday that celebrates the irrational, infinite, transcendent excellence of the universal constant.

High school students attend 'Hamilton' at the Paramount in Seattle, 2018.
Courtesy of STG/Christopher Nelson

What if the first live theater you ever saw was "Hamilton"?

That was the experience of many of the 2,800 students from low-income high schools across the state who got to see the hottest show in town on a field trip.

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Ben Blum about his new book "Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family, and Inexplicable Crime." The book tells the story of his cousin, Alex Blum, and how he turned from an Army Ranger to a bank robber.

Rosa Joshi poses for a portrait on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Lee Center for the Arts on Seattle University's campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Rosa Joshi wasn’t supposed to be an artist.

“I’m the daughter of Asian immigrants,” she says. “I was supposed to be a doctor.”

"Untitled", Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982. Last year the piece sold for $110 million, making it the most expensive piece of American artwork in history.
Courtesy Seattle Art Museum

What does it feel like to be in the room with $100 million? You can find out soon. The most expensive piece of American artwork ever sold at auction — a painting by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat — is coming to the Seattle Art Museum.

Sherman Alexie is a beloved native writer, filmmaker and poet. He also stands accused of sexual harassment by three women on the record and many more anonymously. KUOW reporter Liz Jones is following the story and sat down with Bill Radke after her first piece on the story published. 

Parents: Be gardeners, not carpenters

Mar 8, 2018
Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik
Wikimedia Photo/Kathleen King (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bill Radke sits down with child psychologist Alison Gopnik, author of the new book "The Gardener and the Carpenter." Gopnik explains her problems with modern parenting and how to better face the unexpected that comes with raising a child. 

KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Students from the Yakama Nation are re-connecting with their tribal roots.

At the Burke Museum on Tuesday, Yakama artists held a workshop where students learned how to weave hats from hemp and corn husks. 

KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

For 26 years, Seattle’s African-American Writers’ Alliance has held a reading at The Elliott Bay Book Company on the last Saturday in February. The group’s mission is to provide support for new and published writers, provide peer review and create opportunities for public readings.

Courtesy of Anne McTiernan

Bill Radke speaks with Anne McTiernan about her new memior called, "Starved: A Nutrition Doctor's Journey from Empty to Full." McTiernan is a research professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a member of the public health sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Fantasy author Tamora Pierce has inspired young people for decades with her stories about strong girls who do things like disguise themselves as boys so they can defend their kingdoms as knights. Among her inspired readers was a young Lindy West, now a New York Times columnist.

We invited West to interview Pierce at KUOW.

Seattle tap studio blends dance with social justice

Mar 4, 2018

The Northwest Tap Connection dance studio is tucked away in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. But it’s more than just a dance studio; it’s also a space for conversations about race, identity and social justice, with students ranging from pre-K to high school.

Melba Ayco is one of Northwest Tap Connection’s founders and a 31-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department. Ayco, who goes by Ms. Melba, spends several nights a week challenging students to not only excel in artistry, but also in practical life skills.

Portland artist Haley Heynderickx just released a new album, "I Need to Start a Garden."
Alessandra Leimer

Emily Fox talks to Jerad Walker, Music Director of Oregon Public Broadcasting, about Portland artist Haley Heynderickx. Her new album, "I Need to Start a Garden," has just been released

Check back in on Fridays as KUOW profiles new music coming out of the Northwest. 

The Richard Hugo House on Capitol Hill in Seattle, 2010
Flickr Photo/Brent Ozar (CC BY)/

In the poem "Maybe This Building Should Go" — and a series of redactions —  Frances McCue considers the emotional pull of particular places and buildings. The poem is part of her collection "Timber Curtain."

Bill Radke talks with KUOW poetry correspondent Elizabeth Austen about McCue's new collection, including why the poet chose to redact or erase her own poems.

Jessica Rycheal poses for a portrait on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

As a kid in Macon, Georgia, Jessica Rycheal never imagined she’d become an artist. It  was something to do in her spare time.

She was the first in her family to go to college and she felt the unspoken pressure to be a professional.

Artwork by Carol Rashawnna Williams
Courtesy of Carol Rashawnna Williams

Carol Rashawnna Williams is a visual artist in Seattle. Climate change is a frequent subject for her.

She believes art can be a powerful medium to help people understand the connections between climate change and racial inequality.

A mural painted by artist Caratoes is shown on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, along the SODO Track in Seattle. 4Culture is one of the producing partners of SODO Track.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

King County Council members got an earful when they opened their chambers for public testimony on a proposal to exert more direct control over 4Culture, the public agency that oversees arts, culture and heritage programs county-wide.

Photographer Marilyn Montufar poses for a portrait on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Marilyn Montufar is fascinated by life on the edge.

Not the metaphorical risky edge; Montufar means civilization’s edge.

Courtesy of Red Hen Press

Several years ago, Seattle poet Tina Schumann was inspired to compile an anthology of memoir, essays and poems by children of immigrants in the United States. 

When author Judy Blume first broached topics like puberty and adolescent sexuality in her writing, it was long before those questions could be asked in a quick Google search.

Yet for those who read her now, her tales of adolescence remain modern – so much so that many of her young readers are surprised to learn Blume's books aren't brand new.

"They don't know that I wrote them generations ago. They think I wrote them yesterday for them, for the most part," Blume, who turns 80 on Monday, tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

Terese Marie Mailhot started her new memoir, Heart Berries, while she was in a mental institution, where she had committed herself after a breakdown. The pages bleed with the pain of mental illness, lost love and her family history on an Indian reservation in British Columbia.

It's a collection of essays filled with what she called "heavy material": experiences of poverty, addiction and abuse. But she also says she's finding joy in cultivating art. She spoke with me about her work and her life from Spokane, Wash.

Visual artist Ari Glass poses for a portrait in front of one of his paintings on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at his artist loft in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

You may not know Ari Glass now, but you will soon. This Southeast Seattle native has set his sights high.

He’s wanted to be an artist ever since childhood, inspired by masters like Pablo Picasso.

Courtesy of Josh Patterson

In a parallel universe, poets stand on street corners and recite for us. We stop what we’re doing and gather together with friends and strangers to listen. Then we pay them some tribute and go on with our days, moved and enriched in some way.