Art of Our City

Poet Nora Giron-Dolce at a Seattle bus stop.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you live in King County, you're surrounded by public artworks: murals, sculptures, fountains — you name it. Art is everywhere in this region.

That's due in large part to the county's One Percent for Art Program, one of the oldest in the nation. One percent of public construction project budgets are set aside for art or integrated design for those specific projects.

The people behind "Now I'm Fine," a performance that melds music, comedy and storytelling at On The Boards this week.
On The Boards

It was 2006, and Ahamlefule J. Oluo was not fine. 

"I was very young, in my early 20s," he says. "I had just gone through a divorce." 

His Nigerian father, a man he'd never met and only spoken with once on the telephone, had died before Oluo got to fulfill his wish of forging a relationship with him.

A scene from "All the Way," a play about President Lyndon B. Johnson by Seattle playwright Robert Schenkkan.
Seattle Repertory Theatre

For those of us who came of age in the 1960s, Texas Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson was larger than life. 

Johnson had years of Congressional politicking under his belt when he was thrust into the presidency after John F. Kennedy's assassination. He used that political experience to change America. The Johnson administration ushered in a new era for civil rights, as well as environmental protections, among other cultural paradigm shifts.

Courtesy Cornish College of the Arts

What do acclaimed dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, drag performer par excellence Jinxx Monsoon and conceptual art darling Sutton Beres Culler have in common?

They are all graduates of Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts.

Courtesy Tacoma Art Museum/Lisa Terry

When we think about blankets, we usually conjure comforting images: babies swaddled in flannel wraps, colorful afghans hand knit by loved ones, puffy quilts that we snuggle under when the weather is cold.

When artist Marie Watt thinks about blankets, she sees the raw materials for sculpture.

Courtesy Book-It Repertory Theatre

Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre is like the "Little Engine That Could."

Courtesy On the Boards

Amy O’Neal is a formally trained white dancer who feels more at home with hip-hop culture and movement than with she does with Western European contemporary art.

Seattle Repertory Theatre/Nate Watters

  Acclaimed playwright Cheryl West’s work has been seen on stages from Washington state to Washington, DC. She’s written for the big screen and for television. This woman knows her stuff.

Courtesy of Seattle Opera/Brandon Patoc

Speight. That's the name that conjures Seattle Opera for tens of thousands of fans.

photo by Benjamin Benschneider, courtesy Seattle Art Museum

It's a Monday afternoon in June, and Seattle Art Museum Director Kimerly Rorschach leans on a metal railing near Elliott Bay at Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park. The sun is shining, seagulls are whirling overhead, and Rorschach is eavesdropping.

photo by Ben Van Houten, courtesy SSO

Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky's career spanned most of the 20th century, but chances are you know him best for a piece of music he wrote when he was just starting out: "Rite of Spring."

Courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet/Lindsay Thomas

Most people see only the sparkly side of ballet: the live performances, with dancers in costume, pointe shoes tied, orchestra in the pit. Whether it’s the annual holiday production of “Nutcracker” or an edgier, contemporary work, many of the dancers at Pacific Northwest Ballet see performances as a reward for their hours of rehearsal.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Kaori Nakamura remembers the day she got her first pointe shoes.

Seattle Repertory Theatre/Alan Alabastro

After almost three decades on the job, Seattle Repertory Theatre Managing Director Ben Moore will retire at the end of June.

Flickr Photo/Vikalpa

At 22, Joshua Roman became the Seattle Symphony's youngest-ever principal cellist. With his mop of curly brown hair and his baby face, Roman was a distinctive presence at Benaroya Hall.

But just two years after the young musician took up his post, Roman decided to leave the orchestra to carve out his own career as a concert performer.

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