Announcing the launch of the Laureate Listening Project

27 Feb
2013-15 Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo records a poem for the Laureate Listening Project.

2013-15 Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo records a poem for the Laureate Listening Project.

The City of Tacoma and Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo are proud to announce the launch of the Laureate Listening Project. In this interactive online audio anthology, community members from Tacoma and greater Pierce County reflect on the importance of a particular place in their own life through poetry. Audio recordings of these poems, centered on the “spirit of place” theme, are linked to a Google map so users can search by a particular poet or location and listen to work inspired by the site.

“Poetry is most powerful when it’s done in community,” said Smiraldo. “We have many communities in Tacoma and they don’t intersect and interconnect enough. The Laureate Listening Project is an exercise in community building and community voice.”

Smiraldo worked with various nonprofit and cultural organizations including the Tacoma Public Library, Peace Community Center and Peace Lutheran Church, Northwest Leadership Foundation, The Conversation, B Sharp Coffeehouse, The Center for Spiritual Living, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, and Smiraldo’s own monthly event, Live at the Auricle, to record poems from a diversity of Pierce County residents. Currently, the Laureate Listening Project hosts over 55 poems. Additional poems will be added periodically.

Smiraldo will host an open mic to showcase alumni of the Laureate Listening Project on March 20, 7 p.m., at B Sharp Coffeehouse (706 Opera Alley). At least 30 alumni will share their poems from the project during this free public event.

The Laureate Listening Project and additional information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program is available at cityoftacoma.org/poet.

Individuals who are interested in having their short spoken works included in the project can contact Smiraldo at vanillasoul@clear.net for more information and to schedule a recording session.

The Laureate Listening Project was conceived and organized by Smiraldo in collaboration with the Tacoma Arts Commission. Funding for the Laureate Listening Project is made possible by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Mapping capability is made possible by the City of Tacoma.

Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra Spotlights Talented Young Musicians

25 Feb
Patrons gather after the concert to congratulate student soloist Anna Harris.

Patrons gather after the concert to congratulate Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra student soloist Anna Harris.

On February 21st, I had the pleasure of attending the Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra under the baton of Conductor Dale Johnson.  These exceptionally talented young musicians performed a very exciting concert.

Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra is one of six orchestras presented by the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association — making it one of the top youth orchestra associations in the country.  Because of their size, and more importantly, their dedication to excellence, TYSA provides young musicians the opportunity to play as part of a large orchestra starting at a young age.  The Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra is the penultimate orchestra in TYSA, with musicians ranging in age from late middle school to early high school.

Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra student soloist, Claire Turner.

Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra student soloist, Claire Turner.

The program I attended featured late 19th and early 20th century composers evoking a “Celebration of the New World.” The highlights of the evening were two pieces for solo violin and orchestra.  The first, Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20 by Pablo de Sarasate, featured an electrifying solo performance by high school junior Anna Harris.  In the second, soloist Claire Turner, also a junior in high school, skillfully played a delightful finale to Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in g minor, Op. 26.  These gifted soloists were backed by approximately 75 of their peers with a full orchestra.  The music was breathtaking.

During intermission a patron remarked to me, “You can’t listen to this music and not have hope for the future.”

Tacoma is very fortunate to have the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association – an organization that inspires excellence and provides unique, high caliber opportunities for young musicians in our community. TYSA truly is a community treasure.

COMING UP

What: “Rhapsody in Blue” by Tacoma Youth Symphony (TYSA’s most senior level orchestra)
Where: Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th Street
When: Sunday, March 13:00 pm
Cost: Main floor tickets are $8.00 before the concert and $10.00 at the door.  There are 100 free student festival tickets available at the door. Balcony tickets are $16 – $19.
More information: www.tysamusic.org, (253) 627-2792

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association through the Arts Anchor Fund.

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This review was written by Tacoma Arts Commission member Scott Campbell. Scott is the Managing Director of Tacoma Youth Theatre. He is the winner of two Emmy Awards and has worked as a writer; television producer; media consultant; communications director, and theater director, actor, and designer. He has served on the Tacoma Arts Commission since 2014.

Wanted: Tacoma Arts Commission Volunteers

23 Feb

CBC_logocolorstackedThe Tacoma City Council invites individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about the literary, visual and performing arts to apply for the Tacoma Arts Commission. If you are interested in supporting, enhancing and providing leadership for the arts in Tacoma, this is a great opportunity.

The Tacoma City Council is looking to fill one At-Large position on the Commission.

The Commission consists of 15 volunteer members who are appointed by the Economic Development Committee and confirmed by the City Council to serve three-year terms. Members are Tacoma residents who are arts advocates and artists.

The Commission provides leadership in supporting and enhancing the arts for the benefit of the City and its residents. Its purpose is to develop, support, coordinate, sponsor, and present the arts on a year-round basis for the benefit of the residents of Tacoma. The primary responsibility of the Commission is to create policies to support the ongoing development of arts programs and projects in Tacoma. Its primary programs include the funding of artists and arts organizations to provide services for the citizens of Tacoma; oversight of the Municipal Art Program; and supporting programs such as Spaceworks Tacoma, Tacoma Arts Month and the Tacoma Murals Project. The Commission’s functions are outlined in Chapter 1.28A and 1.28B of the Tacoma Municipal Code.

Meetings are held from 5 – 7 p.m., on the second Monday of each month, in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16 (728 St. Helens, 1st floor). Beyond monthly meetings, commissioners are asked to sit on at least one committee and one funding panel. Commissioners are also asked to periodically attend and evaluate programs produced by artists and organizations the Commission funds and are expected to attend and assist with all major programs the Commission produces.

Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by Friday, March 13, 2015. To apply, please visit cityoftacoma.org/cbcapplication or contact Nicole Emery at servetacoma@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5178, or the City Clerk’s Office, Room 11, Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Tacoma, WA 98402.

For additional information on the Tacoma Arts Commission, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

Manitou Trestle: dedicated to the love of community

3 Feb Echo Curry and children from the Henry T. Schatz branch of the Boys and Girls Club inspect the mural they helped influence.

On January 31, about 50 community members gathered in South Tacoma to dedicate the new multi-media mural, Manitou Trestle, created by artists Claudia Riedener, Chris Jordan, and Kenji Stoll, for the South 66th Street Trestle. The public art piece is a project of Sound Transit’s public art program (STart) in collaboration with the City of Tacoma’s Public Art: In Depth artist training program. 

The mural layers South Tacoma’s history, industry and personal experiences with botanical representations of native flora, topography and quotes from the community. These layers of ceramic tile and paint create a dynamic and collective representation of the community’s memories and tell a visual story of the South Tacoma neighborhood’s past, present and future.

Photographer Dane Gregory Meyer captured the event through the following photo essay.

Community members gathered at the STAR Center for the artwork dedication.

Community members gathered at the STAR Center for the artwork dedication.

During the dedication: Claudia Riedener, artist;  Chelsea Levy, Sound Transit; Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the City of Tacoma; and Joe Lonergan, Tacoma City Council member.

During the dedication (left to right): Claudia Riedener, artist; Chelsea Levy, Sound Transit; Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the City of Tacoma; and Joe Lonergan, Tacoma City Council member.

Mayor Strickland reads a poem, Manitou Trestle, written by Ken Sikes in commemoration of the dedication of the trestle.

Mayor Strickland read a poem, Manitou Trestle, written by Ken Sikes in commemoration of the artwork dedication. “…we poor, tired, huddled masses, yearning to be seen, passing through, and to. So loved. So love. So Tacoma.”

Barb Luecke, Sound Transit Art Program Manager, presents the Golden Roller community stewardship award to Venus Dergan.

Barb Luecke, Sound Transit Art Program Manager (left), presented the Golden Roller community stewardship award to Venus Dergan (right).

Artists Chris Jordan, Kenji Stoll, and Claudia Riedener (left to right) talk about the inspiration for the mural.

Artists Chris Jordan, Kenji Stoll, and Claudia Riedener (left to right) talked about the inspiration for the mural.

 

Left to right: City Council member Joe Lonergan, artist Chris Jordan, Mayor Marilyn Strickland, artist Claudia Riedener, and artist Kenji Stoll.

Left to right: City Council member Joe Lonergan, artist Chris Jordan, Mayor Marilyn Strickland, artist Claudia Riedener, and artist Kenji Stoll.

An enthusiastic group of attendees visit the mural site after the dedication ceremony.

An enthusiastic group of attendees visit the mural site after the dedication ceremony.

Echo Curry and children from the Henry T. Schatz branch of the Boys and Girls Club inspect the mural they helped influence.

Echo Curry and children from the Henry T. Schatz branch of the Boys and Girls Club inspect the mural they helped influence.

The mural is composed of botanically-inspired ceramic tiles, stamped with quotes collected from the community, layered with historic buildings and topography of the land as illustrated through aerosol paint.

The mural is composed of botanically-inspired ceramic tiles, stamped with quotes collected from the community, layered with historic buildings and topography of the land as illustrated through aerosol paint.

A view of the expansive mural, which covers the north and south sides as well as the median of the train trestle.

A view of the expansive mural, which covers the north and south sides as well as the median of the train trestle.

Manitou Trestle Dedication

Manitou Trestle Dedication

All photos used with permission from Dane Gregory Meyer. Copyright Dane Gregory Meyer.

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Dane Gregory Meyer PhotographyDane Gregory Meyer has been a professional photographer for over 25 years and owns Dane Gregory Meyer Photography. He has served on the Tacoma Arts Commission since 2009, currently as Vice Chair, in a desire to give back to the community and support the arts as an economic engine and core for Tacoma.

Will you be the next Tacoma Poet Laureate?

21 Jan

The Tacoma Arts Commission is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate program. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2015.

The individual selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for two years – from May 2015 to April 2017 – and receive a $2,000 stipend for advancing and actively contributing to Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects. This individual will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October and help produce the 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony announcing the next Tacoma Poet Laureate.

“The Tacoma Poet Laureate program showcases local talent and provides access to the literary arts throughout our city and beyond,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “We are excited to see how the next poet laureate continues to engage the diversity of Tacoma’s citizenry.”

Eligibility extends to literary artists who live in Pierce County and are actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and practicing artists, dedicated to producing poetry in any form, genre or style on a regular basis. Other eligibility requirements apply.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., 9th floor, Visibility Center). The workshop will address questions about the application and selection process. Current poet laureate Lucas Smiraldo and former poet laureates Josie Emmons Turner and William Kupinse will talk about their experiences and how they each addressed the community engagement aspect of the position. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to bring a piece of their own poetry to share at the end of the workshop.

The Tacoma Arts Commission and Smiraldo will host a poetry event at which the winner of this year’s Poet Laureate competition will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 – 8:30 p. m. at the B Sharp Coffee House (706 Court C in downtown Tacoma).

The application and information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, which was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program in 2011, are available at cityoftacoma.org/poet.

Start 2015 off on the right note

6 Jan
Tacoma Youth Symphony woodwind ensemble

Tacoma Youth Symphony woodwind ensemble

To ring in the new year, on January 13th, Classical Tuesdays in Old Town is delighted to present the Tacoma Youth Symphony chamber music ensembles!  These are the best of the best – of the hundreds of students in the Tacoma Youth Symphony orchestras, the top instrumentalists are showcased in small groups of woodwinds, brass and strings.

Tacoma Youth Symphony string ensemble

Tacoma Youth Symphony string ensemble

Join us for fabulous music-making and cocoa, coffee and cookies! Admission is free and all ages are welcome.
What: Classical Tuesdays in Old Town
Where: Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th St., Old Town Tacoma
When: Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at 7 pm
Cost: Free

For more information visit classicaltuesdays.blogspot.com or call (253) 752-2135.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support Classical Tuesdays in Old Town through Arts Projects funding.

Spaceworks Announces 5 New Artscapes Installations

23 Dec

Originally posted on Spaceworks Tacoma:

On Display December 31, 2014 – April 16, 2015

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Five new Artscapes installations are currently being installed in the old Woolworth storefront windows (corner of 11th & Broadway), and the Tacoma Post Office Building display cases (1102 A Street). The projects will debut during Tacoma’s First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve! The artists selected for this round include Barbara De Pirro, Jennifer Chinn, Elise Konscek, Anastasia Zielinski, and a group exhibition titled “GENERIS 01T: ZIP CODE” curated by Susan Surface. This marks the 14th round of commissioned exhibitions brought to you by Spaceworks Tacoma.

Here are details on each installation:

zielinski_mockup (Mock-up image for final installation) On the corner of 11th & Broadway, a large Woolworth window is bustling with golds, silvers, shimmering fabrics, and shattered mirrors by artist Anastasia Zielinski. Since relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Anastasia has been focused on creating worlds through texture and color, transforming…

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18 Arts Projects funding recipients announced

17 Dec Community members participate in The Horn Dance, part of Puget Sound Revels' Bromliad event. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Revels.
Community members participate in The Horn Dance, part of Puget Sound Revels' Bromliad event. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Revels.

Community members participate in The Horn Dance, part of Puget Sound Revels’ Bromliad event. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Revels.

The Tacoma Arts Commission recently awarded $50,000 in 2015 Arts Projects funding to 18 Tacoma organizations in support of public outreach projects in the fields of music, dance, theater, literary, visual, cross-disciplinary, and cultural arts. The awards ranged in value from $1,000 to $4,600.

Arts Projects funding will help support the 12th year of Monkeyshines - a guerrilla art project happening around Chinese New Year each year. Photo provided by Monkeyshines.

Arts Projects funding will help support the 12th year of Monkeyshines – a guerrilla art project. Photo provided by Monkeyshines.

“Grassroots arts programming consistently reflects Tacoma’s diverse neighborhoods and interests with an emphasis on accessibility,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly. “We are proud to support this outstanding group of high quality, community-based projects.”

Funded projects include the production of five diverse cultural and arts festivals, historical arts and crafts demonstrations, visual art programs for families, contemporary and classical dance performances, a theater production, a variety of music performances, poetry readings, arts components to a cultural event, and a community-wide guerrilla art project.

Arts Projects funding helps support hands-on arts programming at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Arts Projects funding helps support hands-on arts programming at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Funded organizations include the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Elements of Education, Fort Nisqually Foundation, Hilltop Business Association, King’s Bookstore, Metropolitan Glass, Northwest Repertory Singers, Old Town Business and Professional Association, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Puget Sound Revels, Second City Chamber Series, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Maritime Fest, Toy Boat Theatre, University of Washington, and the Washington State Historical Society.

The Arts Projects funding program supports high quality community projects with a strong focus on arts that are accessible and affordable to the public. Arts Projects is one of three funding programs administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. For a complete listing of funding programs and information about the Tacoma Arts Commission, visit cityoftacoma.org/funding.

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