Archive | January, 2013

Bring out the family for Peter and the Wolf

16 Jan


Who: Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
What: Peter and the Wolf family concert
Where: Rialto Theater, Tacoma
When: Sunday, January 20, 2:30 pm
Tickets: $5 for children, $7 for adults. Call 253-591-5894 or visit

Tacoma area families will enjoy a special treat this month when the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra opens its new Family Concerts series with a performance of Peter and the Wolf on January 20.  Conducted by Music Director Harvey Felder, the performances will feature the famous piece by Sergei Prokofiev that has introduced generations of children to symphonic music.  Peter and the Wolf will be narrated by Noel Koran.

A musical instrument petting zoo will be held an hour before the concert – an opportunity for youngsters to touch, handle and try out instruments. 

Peter and the Wolf tells the story of a young boy living with his grandfather in a forest clearing, and the adventure he and his animal friends have with a wolf that comes in from the meadow. Individual instruments represent the different characters in the story.  This includes the flute (the bird), oboe (the duck), clarinet (the cat), bassoon, (Grandpa), the Wolf (horns), Peter (strings), and the hunters (timpani or kettle drums). 

The TSO Family Concerts series, debuting in 2013, is a joint project of the Orchestra, Ted Brown Music, and the University of Puget Sound Community Music Program. Additional support has been provided by the Bamford Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The Peter and the Wolf concert will be followed by three programs for small ensembles – String Quintet, Brass Quintet, and Percussion Quartet – held in Schneebeck Hall on the campus of University of Puget Sound.

How Tacoma collects art

14 Jan

Have you ever wondered how the City assembles its art collection? Who curates it? Who pays for it? Where can the art be seen on exhibit? This is the last in a series of posts highlighting portable artworks recently purchased by the City of Tacoma for the Municipal Art Collection.


“Long Journey” by MalPina Chan.

“This is the first time in over two decades that we have purchased any portable artwork for the collection,” says Naomi Strom-Avila, Cultural Arts Specialist for the City of Tacoma. Funds for the acquisition of public art for the Municipal Art Collection come from the City’s 1% for public art fund. “That means that 1% of construction costs for capital construction projects goes toward the construction or acquisition of public art,” she explains.

"Chamber Bay Ruins" by Michael Jardeen.

“Chambers Bay Ruins” by Michael Jardeen.

In the case of site-specific public art opportunities, the artists are chosen through a juried process in which a call to artists is issued, followed by a panel review of the applications. The panel may include Tacoma Arts Commission members, community representatives, site users, and others. The jurors narrow down the field to 3 to 5 finalists, interview those finalists, and select the artist for the project.

However, in the case of the Portable Works collection, “The panel started with images of 566 pieces of artwork and narrowed that down to 78 pieces for a second review. Those 78 pieces were brought in for the panel to see in person. Then the panel narrowed those pieces down to the final 20 pieces selected for purchase.

After the selection the City’s arts program staff goes to work to determine where to site the pieces, assessing what locations currently do not have artwork, or which could use an updated piece. All of the work goes into City buildings, and all of the pieces are sited in publicly accessible areas.

* * * * *

In Long Journey (above top), Olympia artist MalPina Chan presents a chapter of family history upon a fiery background design derived from an Imperial robe. “This print features an image of my father and his health certificate, issued before he set sail for America to a new life.”

Photograph from "Blue Midnight" series by Victoria Bjorklund.

Photograph from “Blue Midnight” series by Victoria Bjorklund.

Chambers Bay Ruins, a photograph by Michael Jardeen (above right) transforms modern concrete “ruins” into a visual feast in golden-hued sepia.

Photographer Victoria Bjorklund covered the night beat in Tacoma in a series of images entitled Blue Midnight. The artist says she was “inspired by film noir” as she photographed the city after hours.

"Porous #39" by Eunice Kim.

“Porous #39” by Eunice Kim.

Eunice Kim is a Ravensdale, WA-based artist who works exclusively in the medium of collagraph printing. She has developed a unique process of using sustainable, non-toxic techniques.
“Porous #39 comprises small, repetitive dot marks that are building blocks of my imagery and speak to the manner in which individual entities come together, coalesce and coexist.”

* * * * *

The City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Collection is composed of more than 200 works of art. You can see other recently acquired portable artworks here:

Fab-5 hits new high with indoor graffiti commission

11 Jan
Art in 3-D: dedication party for the new Fab-5 mural at DCI headquarters in Kent.

Art in 3-D: opening party for the new Fab-5 mural at DCI headquarters in Kent. The art work extends through two floors and into the backrooms.

Fab-5 is taking graffiti art to new heights and kicking off 2013 on a high note: team artists Kenji Stoll, Chris Jordan, Troy Long and Travis Galindo recently completed a $90,000 art commission at the Kent, WA, headquarters of global electronics company, Digital Control Incorporated (DCI). They’ve created a multi-dimensional, two-story indoor mural that wraps around corners and hovers colorfully over workstations. It’s a work that’s sure to redefine “graffiti” and catapult it to a new level – one that integrates spontaneous, free-form painting with elegantly designed work space.

Located in the neighborhood of the Boeing Co., DCI headquarters is about as big as an airplane hangar, and it provided Fab-5 with an unimaginably exciting palette. The warehouse is a model of swank industrial design with large central spaces where there are no cubicles – instead, banks of large, lush plants and crystal-clear window dividers section off work areas. Because the company specializes in electronics, the place is immaculate – but in the most appealing way. Dogs are allowed visiting privileges, there is a pingpong table on the mezzanine, and for focused quiet time, there is a submarine-size tropical aquarium that is filtered from beneath by small, living mangrove trees. The company is a leading designer of drilling guidance systems with offices in Germany, China, India, Australia, and Russia.


Spaceworks alums Chris Jordan and Kenji Stoll at the dedication of the Fab-5 mural.

The challenge for Fab-5 was to create a visual environment that dozens of engineers and designers would all be amenable to working in (plastered in graffiti?), and that would complement the space’s clean architectural style. Oh, and a deadline of two months – that alone would keep the Five in respirator masks and working around the clock last summer.

The result of their efforts: an immersive environment that is over the top, and hard to describe. On the walls, cumulous clouds of color give birth to silhouettes of gadgets related to drilling guidance systems; Jordan and Stoll, the team’s liaisons, spent hours interviewing the engineers about their work and its components, and recorded motifs that would be catalysts for thought. Color and design merge to create a dynamism that keeps the eye moving from floor to ceiling and around corners. They didn’t hold back; as Jordan pointed out, going for generic graffiti effects would have doomed the work to the pleasantly dull realm of chain restaurant art. At the mural dedication, visitors were plainly awed by the work. Most importantly, the clients, founders Peter Hambling, and John and June Mercer, were elated.

We caught up with Kenji Stoll to ask him how the commission was executed, and how the four artists in Fab-5 managed to keep the collaboration rolling smoothly. Continue reading

Spaceworks is Hiring!

11 Jan

Spaceworks Tacoma

Spaceworks is hiring! If you’re interested in making Tacoma a more vibrant, active city and think you’ve got what it takes to work with a diverse range of local artists, entrepreneurs, landlords, non-profits, and community members, we want to hear from you!

We’re looking for a 32-40hr/wk Spaceworks Coordinator to facilitate all three of the Spaceworks tracks:
a) Creative Enterprise provides designers, creators, and other fledgling entrepreneurs the chance to test new products and services in a physical space.
b) Special Projects offers dedicated practicing artists the chance to pursue projects and develop work in any discipline.
c) Artscapes temporarily places visual art installations in interior window storefronts.

For more information and a detailed job description, visit:

We look forward to hearing from you!

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2013 Metro Arts Theatre Classes for kids

9 Jan

Don’t miss out on these great theatre classes at amazing prices presented by Metro Arts!

Musical Movement and Theatre  

Age: 2 – 4
Bond with your toddler in a fun, structured class that develops language, coordination and social skills.
STAR Center
Star Pass $36; R $45; N/R $47
64459    01/12 – 02/16     Sat          9:30 – 10:15 am
64460    02/23 – 03/30     Sat          9:30 – 10:15 am

Musical Theatre   
Age: 3 – 4
This class transforms favorite tunes into theatrical presentations filled with dancing and animation.
Center at Norpoint
Center Card $29; R $35; N/R $38
64476    01/10 – 02/14     Thu        4:30 – 5 pm
64477    02/21 – 03/28     Thu        4:30 – 5 pm

Age: 5 – 8
64476    01/10 – 02/14     Thu        5 – 6 pm
64477    02/21 – 03/28     Thu        5 – 6 pm Continue reading

Classical Tuesdays kicks off 2013 with Erik Steighner

4 Jan

New Music for the New Year:
Featuring Erik Steighner on sax, at
Slavonian Hall in Old Town

Saxophonist Erik Steighner. Photo courtesy of Classical  Tuesdays

Saxophonist Erik Steighner. Photo courtesy of Classical Tuesdays

Join Classical Tuesdays in Old Town on January 8, 2013, to hear Erik Steighner mix it up live on alto, baritone and soprano saxophones, with recorded electronic accompaniment. For sonic color and variety, Erik will be joined by Zachary Lyman on trumpet.

In a celebration of Tacoma composers, Classical Tuesdays will also be premiering pieces by Deborah Anderson and Greg Youtz.

Erik Steighner has performed with Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Tipping Point Saxophone Quartet, Alloy Saxophone Quartet, Lyric Brass Quintet, Camas Wind Quintet, and Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta. He is a composer and the saxophone lecturer at Pacific Lutheran University. Steighner is featured on CD releases from Albany Records, Mark Custom, Naxos, and Vienna Modern Masters.

Zachary Lyman is Associate Professor of Trumpet and Music Theory at Pacific Lutheran University where he performs with the Lyric Brass Quintet and the Seattle-based Mosaic Brass Quintet.

Slavonian Hall in Old Town. Photo courtesy of Classical Tuesdays

Slavonian Hall in Old Town. Photo courtesy of Classical Tuesdays

Classical Tuesdays is a free chamber music series that showcases professional musicians in the Puget Sound region. All ages are welcome.

Who: Classical Tuesdays in Old Town
What: Concert by Erik Steighner
Where: Historic Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th St., Tacoma (handicap parking and access in alley)
When: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 7 pm
Cost: Free, donations appreciated. For more details, contact 253.752.2135 or click here.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support this series through Arts Projects funding.

Big ideas? Apply now for 2013 TAIP funding

2 Jan
Bronze sculpture by Kyle Dillehay.

Bronze sculpture by Kyle Dillehay.

Do you have an idea you’re ready to launch? The City of Tacoma is accepting applications for funding from the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) through 5 pm on Feb. 11, 2013, from eligible Tacoma artists who wish to create new artwork and present that work through a free public component.

“In the past, funded artists have helped Tacoma residents connect to a rich array of public exhibits, readings, film screenings, workshops, performances and more,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “We’re excited to see what the new year brings.”

The Tacoma Arts Commission has allocated $40,000 for TAIP funding, and each selected artist will be awarded $2,500. A panel comprised of Tacoma Arts Commission members, community members and past TAIP awardees will review applications and make funding recommendations. Those recommendations will go to the Tacoma Arts Commission for approval. All projects selected for TAIP funding must be completed by Dec. 31, 2014.

Eligibility extends to artists who are residents of Tacoma, practicing artists who are dedicated to producing artwork on a regular basis, are at least 18 years of age, and not a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in an arts-related degree program. Artists who have received TAIP funding between 2009 and 2012 are not eligible to apply.

More details, including information on other eligibility requirements and the application form, are available at Application forms are also available by calling (253) 591-5191 or emailing

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop which explains and addresses questions about the application and funding process on Jan. 9, 2013, from 5:30-7 p.m., in the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., 9th floor, Visibility Center Conference Room). Naomi Strom-Avila, Community and Economic Development,, (253) 591-5191.

January 1: An ambiguous day

1 Jan
"Winter" by Lisa Mellinger

“Winter” by Lisa Mellinger

The winter solstice is past, the days are growing longer, and I’m hankering to pay a visit to the studio of Tacoma artist Lisa Mellinger. I find her in a retro-cool 1920s abode complete with a roaring fireplace, a huffy gray cat and a chihuahua-like dog with long legs that resembles a tiny deer. Stacks of drawings and paintings in various stages of completion give the place a sense of industry.

One piece, Winter, stands out as capturing the balancing point between uncertainty and expectancy – looking backward or forward in time – that marks the start of a new year. What is this piece about?

“That painting is from when I lived on the Upper Westside of Manhattan in a tiny studio apartment with a view of the Empire State Building,” she explains via e-mail. “I actually had a tiny art area next to the bed.


Ambiguous artist: Lisa Mellinger at home.

“I had just ended a relationship. I walked my dog every day to Riverside Park – the Hudson River was frozen and solid ice.

“The bare branches represent my raw self. A simple closeup of falling leaves, and a new season starting. Letting go. That was in 2005….”

A Tacoma native, Mellinger spent seven years in New York City. “I was going to Louise Bourgeois’ salon on Sundays where I would bring a painting and talk with her. It was at her house in Chelsea. A group of artists and her and a filmmaker video taping us. She was so cool and had great insight when she talked to me about my work. They kept calling me back but I had to teach college art history on Sundays.”

An ebullient blonde with an impressive array of grunge woolen plaids, Mellinger recalls this period with enthusiasm. “Last night I had New York City in my dream. I was on a corny tour bus and screamed, ‘New York, I love you!'” Continue reading

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