Archive | January, 2014

Changes are Underway for Tacoma’s Annual Arts Month

28 Jan
Marit Berg gives a hands-on demonstration during the Tacoma Studio Tour. Photo property of the City of Tacoma.

Marit Berg gives a hands-on demonstration during the Tacoma Studio Tour. Photo property of the City of Tacoma.

Everything people love about Tacoma’s annual arts month will stay the same, with the exception of two things. Starting this year, Tacoma will celebrate in October, not November. And Art at Work Month will now be known as Tacoma Arts Month.

“We feel that Tacoma Arts Month clearly reflects the inclusive nature of this event,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly. “We are celebrating the arts, in its many variations, throughout and for our community.”

In response to community feedback, the change in timing will better coincide with performing arts season openings, national Arts & Humanities Month, and avoid holiday scheduling conflicts and inclement weather associated with November.

The Tacoma Arts Commission will continue to produce a free public arts month celebration event; the annual AMOCAT Arts Awards; and the Tacoma Studio Tour (scheduled for Oct. 11 and 12, 2014). They will also continue to provide an extensive online calendar of community-hosted events, exhibits and workshops.

Organizations, businesses and individuals producing arts and culture activities in Tacoma in October are encouraged to submit their event information for free inclusion in the calendar of events. To receive direct notification when Tacoma Arts Month activity submissions are being accepted, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at or (253) 591-5191.

Started in 2002, Tacoma Arts Month is an annual month-long celebration of the arts in Tacoma. It provides an invitation to the greater community to sample hundreds of arts and culture programs happening throughout the city including music, dance and theater performances; visual art exhibits; literary readings; lectures; workshops; film screenings and cultural events. All events are open to the public and many activities are free.

The Tacoma Arts Commission voted on May 13, 2013 to change the timing of the event to the month of October. They voted again on Jan. 13, 2014 to rename the month to Tacoma Arts Month.

19 Arts Projects funding recipients announced

27 Jan
A duo does a dance routine during the final round of Fab-5's AfterLIFE breakdance battle

A duo does a dance routine during the final round of Fab-5’s AfterLIFE breakdance battle. Photo provided by Fab-5.

The Tacoma Arts Commission recently awarded $50,000 in 2014 Arts Projects funding to 19 Tacoma organizations in support of public outreach projects in the fields of music, dance, theater, literary, film, urban, visual arts and cultural arts. The awards ranged in value from $1,000 to $4,000.

“The breadth and quality of grassroots arts programming in Tacoma is consistently impressive,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly. “The range of community-based programs reflects our diverse neighborhoods and interests. We are proud to support this outstanding group of organizations.”

Funded projects include the production of five diverse cultural and arts festivals, visual art programs for families, urban art classes for youth, contemporary and multidisciplinary dance events, a variety of music performances, an international film series, poetry readings and workshops, arts components to a national conference and a community-wide guerrilla art project.

Punch and Judy performance by Kelsey Sample at Ft. Nisqually's Crafts of the Past. Photo provided by Ft. Nisqually.

Punch and Judy performance by Kelsey Sample at Ft. Nisqually’s Crafts of the Past. Photo provided by Ft. Nisqually.

Funded organizations include the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, DASH Center for the Arts, Fab-5, Fort Nisqually Foundation, King’s Bookstore, Local Life, Metropolitan Glass, MLKBallet, Northwest Repertory Singers, Old Town Business and Professional Association, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Second City Chamber Series, Sister City Council of Tacoma, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Maritime Fest, the BareFoot Collective, University of Puget Sound, 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. Twenty-three Arts Projects applications were submitted to the Tacoma Arts Commission with requests totaling $92,400.

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

Murray Morgan Bridge mural opportunity

16 Jan

DSC_0027The City of Tacoma invites artists and/or artist teams who reside in Washington state’s Pierce, Kitsap or Thurston Counties to submit qualifications for a $10,000 commission to paint a site-responsive mural that reflects the history and/or architecture of the bridge and/or area on the concrete wall of the stormwater collection system underneath the western side of Tacoma’s Murray Morgan Bridge.

Budget: $10,000 (all inclusive of artist fees, materials, supplies, equipment, insurance, travel, taxes, etc.)

Application Deadline: March 14, 2014, midnight

Artist(s) must reside in the South Sound, defined as the following counties of Washington State: Pierce, Kitsap, or Thurston. Applicant may apply as a single artist or as an artist team. Applicant must be professional artist, 18 years or older and not a full-time student.

Check out the prospectus for full details, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

About the Murray Morgan Bridge

The stormwater collection system is located under the west side of the Murray Morgan Bridge at Dock Street and S. 11th Street.

The stormwater collection system is located under the west side of the Murray Morgan Bridge at Dock Street and S. 11th Street.

The Murray Morgan Bridge, also known as the 11th Street Bridge, is a vertical-lift bridge that connects downtown Tacoma with the tideflats, spanning the Thea Foss Waterway. Designed for the City of Tacoma in 1911 by noted bridge engineering firm Waddell & Harrington, the bridge originally opened on Feb. 15, 1913. The structure was unique for lift bridges due to its sloping grade, the high clearance above the water, and the truss between the towers that was designed to carry a water line to the Port.

During the 1930s the bridge became a demonstration center for longshoremen and lumber mill workers seeking union recognition and better wages as well as working conditions.

The Washington State Department of Transportation acquired the bridge in 1957 when 11th Street became State Route 509. Then, in 1982, the bridge was placed in the National Register of Historic Places both because of its designers, Waddell and Harrington of Kansas City, and because it was a unique and early example of a vertical lift bridge.

In 1997, the bridge was named after local author, historian, and journalist Murray Morgan who worked on his book, Skid Road, while working as a tender in the operator’s house on top of the bridge in the 1950s.

After the construction of the new State Route 509 in 1997, the bridge was heading towards demolition until a group of citizens called Save Our Bridge convinced City officials and the State in 2003 to save the bridge.

In 2007, the bridge closed to traffic due to safety concerns and general wear-and-tear the bridge had suffered in its near 100-year lifespan. Then, in 2010, ownership of the bridge was returned to the City and the City began planning the rehabilitation of the bridge. On February 15, 2013, the 100-year anniversary of the bridge’s original opening, the Murray Morgan Bridge was rededicated.

The $57 million rehabilitation of the bridge included a new deck, steel repairs and replacement, new mechanical and electrical systems to raise and lower the lift span, a new elevator and stairs to connect downtown to the west side of the Foss Waterway, and a new coat of black paint, the original color of the bridge.

Original gears that were used to raise and lower the bridge are mounted on top of the west wall of the stormwater collection system. The original capstan, which was used to manually raise and lower the lift span during power outages, is mounted in front of the west wall of the stormwater collection system.

Classical Guitar at Classical Tuesdays in Old Town January 14

12 Jan
Partington with

Michael Partington. Photo courtesy of Classical Tuesdays in Old Town.

Classical Tuesdays in Old Town is excited to feature Michael Partington, one of the most engaging of the new generation of musicians. Praised by Classical Guitar Magazine for his “lyricism, intensity and clear technical command,” this award-winning British guitarist has performed internationally to critical praise. Michael has a charming stage manner and audiences enjoy his innate rhythm and varied, warm tone.

The concert will have a Spanish flavor including music by De Falla, Turina and Albeniz. Join us this Tuesday! All ages are welcome.

What: Classical Guitar at Classical Tuesdays in Old Town
Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Time: 7 pm
Location: Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th St., Old Town Tacoma
Handicap parking and access from alley
Cost: Free/donations appreciated

More information call (253) 752-2135.
Facebook Event

‘Made in Tacoma’ free concert January 11

6 Jan

steighner hi-resWhat: Free concert and CD Release for ‘Made in Tacoma, New Chamber Music for Saxophone’
Where: Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma
When: January 11, 1 PM
Admission: Free

Tacoma’s Alea Publishing & Recording announces the January 11, 2014 release of a new CD recording, ‘Made in Tacoma: New Chamber Music for Saxophone,’ featuring local saxophonist Erik Steighner.

A free concert open to the public will take place at the Museum of Glass at 1pm on Saturday, January 11. The program will feature Steighner along with fellow saxophonists Evan Smith and Fred Winkler, and will include both works from the CD (by Greg Youtz, Jeff Tecca, and Erik Steighner) as well as other pieces from the saxophone repertoire (by Paul Hindemith, Barry Cockcroft, and Allan Blank).

CD GraphicThe CD will be available for purchase at the January 11 concert and after that time from the Alea Publishing & Recording website,, as well as a variety of other online retailers. This recording, made with the support of the Tacoma Arts Commission’s Tacoma Artists Initiative Program, features all–‐Tacoma production, composers and performers:

Recorded August 1 and 5–‐7, 2013 in Lagerquist Concert Hall, Pacific Lutheran University
Producer: Edwin Powell; Sound Engineer: Patrick Colin Wakefield
Performers: Erik Steighner: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxophones; Karen Ganz: Piano; Zachary Lyman: Trumpet; Francine Peterson: Bassoon; Evan Smith: Alto Saxophone; Miho Takekawa: Percussion; Fred Winkler: Soprano Saxophone; Brian Yarkosky: Percussion.
Composers: Gregory Youtz, Deborah Anderson, Robert Hutchinson, Jeff Tecca, Clement Reid, Erik Steighner.

Tacoma photos: Kim Davenport, Alea Publishing & Recording
Design/layout: Laurie Davenport, Alea Publishing & Recording

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