GO Arts

Everything new on the walls, stage, screen and streets of Tacoma and South Puget Sound.

NOTICE: GO Arts has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved GO Arts.
Visit the new section.

Category: general arts


One person’s junk, another person’s Tinkertopia: Art foraging store opening mid-July on Pacific Avenue

R.R. and Darcy Anderson in Tinkertopia, opening soon on Pacific Avenue, Tacoma. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti
R.R. and Darcy Anderson in Tinkertopia, opening soon on Pacific Avenue, Tacoma. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

It looks like an OCD nightmare – tins and barrels and baskets of plastic bits, wooden piano keys, yarn spools, picture frames, fabric remnants and any other little object you can imagine, all sprawled around the baby-blue space at 1914 Pacific Avenue. But for R.R. and Darcy Anderson, new entrepreneurs at creative reuse center Tinkertopia, it’s heaven – and the couple are hoping it will be for local artists, parents, teachers and anyone else who likes making things.

“Both of us are creative people and like to reuse things,” explains Darcy, a former pre-school teacher. “We were always fans of Creation Station in Lynnwood (another artist recycling store) but it was so far away.”

Then, when R.R. Anderson – a local cartoonist and chalk artist – lost his design day job, they realized the moment had come. The couple applied for the City of Tacoma’s Spaceworks Creative Enterprise program, which offers rent-free empty commercial space to start-up businesses on a temporary basis, and moved into the former gyro restaurant last month.

Since then they’ve been getting donation after donation: unused plastic slide holders from hospitals, tile samples from architectural firms, buckets of wood and plastic bits from the Creation Station, where the owners are retiring. Read more »


Summer fun at the Tacoma libraries begins Saturday with Bakra Bata

It’s summer – and anyone with kids knows what that means. Nearly 12 weeks of either camp or daycare (which can get expensive), or else becoming your child’s unpaid, unappreciated personal entertainment manager. Luckily the Tacoma Public Library is here to help and save your sanity. The library’s annual Summer Reading Program comes with a slew of free concerts, activities and fun stuff that’s good for both boredom and budget. Plus kids can sign up to read and potentially win prizes.

The program kicks off this Saturday with Bakra Bata, a steel drum and percussion ensemble that draws from the root traditions of trans-Atlantic cultures. Banging, hitting and grooving, they’ll play at 11 a.m. (Wheelock branch, 3722 N. 26th St), and 2 p.m. (Moore branch, 215 S. 56th St.)

This Saturday also sees a show by wacky music quartet Locust Street Taxi, at 1 p.m. (Main Branch, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S.) Read more »


Brighten your neighborhood with the Tacoma Murals Project

Hope Heights mural at 6323 McKinley Ave., by Joni Joachims with Kate Cendejas, Brian Hutcheson, Yvette Simone, Chelsea O'Sullivan, Janice Lee Warren. Courtesy photo.
Hope Heights mural at 6323 McKinley Ave., by Joni Joachims with Kate Cendejas, Brian Hutcheson, Yvette Simone, Chelsea O’Sullivan, Janice Lee Warren. Courtesy photo.

If your neighborhood could use some inspiration or TLC, now’s the time to apply for a mural from the City of Tacoma’s Murals Project. Offered by the city to combat blight and vandalism, the project sends teams of professional and student artists into neighborhoods to talk with local groups, come up with a mural that represents the area, and paint it this summer onto a wall.

“These community-based murals have proven to be positive community catalysts, bringing neighbors together, helping them find common voices, and enlivening areas that were previously neglected,” said Tacoma arts administrator Amy McBride in a press release. “It is inspiring to see how artists have been able to work within each community to develop murals that are unique and responsive to the characteristics, stories, history and future of each neighborhood.”

The project has been going for four years now, and great examples include the Portland Avenue community building, the man-in-the-moon playground at Bergerson Terrace (5301 S. Orchard St.), the giant Fern Hill postcard at South 84th Street and Park Avenue, and the flying balloons at 220 Puyallup Avenue. Read more »


Science and music meet in Susan Botti’s “Cosmosis” at Pacific Lutheran University


Composer and soprano Susan Botti. Courtesy photo.
Composer and soprano Susan Botti. Courtesy photo.

Combining arts and sciences is getting trendy around Puget Sound these days – witness the Art+Science salons held by the University of Puget Sound at Tacoma Art Museum, the upcoming opera staged at the Pacific Science Center, combined art/science teacher trainings at the Foss Waterway Seaport, and the ‘science of art’ school programs at the Museum of Glass.

This weekend, Pacific Lutheran University adds their contribution with “Cosmosis,” a concert by the university’s wind ensemble and University Singers combining science, images, poetry and a science-based composition by Susan Botti.

“Music is built from scientific components – physics, acoustics… they dialogue naturally,” says Botti. “As a composer, I direct my attention to certain aspects of the world and add imagination and emotion, reflecting back some of what I perceive in the human experience.”

Botti’s a musician whose list of commissions as a composer (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra) is as impressive as her resume as a soprano (the Los Angeles Philharmonic, collaborations with conductor Tan Dun, premières with the BBC Scottish Symphony). The Cleveland native is currently on the composition faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and also teaches at Vassar.

She also performs many of her own compositions, and she’ll do just that on Saturday night. “Cosmosis” sets texts by American poet May Swenson on gravity and the Skylab experiment on Arabella, the first spider to spin a web in space. Read more »


Tonight at The Broken Spoke: a fashion show for gentlemen on bikes, courtesy of Feather and Oar in honor of National Bike Month

For those who like to look good when they ride, hip Tacoma clothing start-up Feather and Oar is holding a fashion show for bicycle wear tonight at Hilltop bar The Broken Spoke. Called “A Gentleman Rides,” the show highlights cutting-edge men’s fashion and classic bikes, together with music, all at the bar where you can get a beer while you wait for your bike to be repaired.

All this is in honor of National Bike Month (this May), which encourages us all – even those of us who aren’t men and aren’t fashionable – to get back on

Read more »


TEDx Talk tomorrow at Theatre on the Square, Tacoma

It’s alliterative, but who cares? Tomorrow sees Tacoma’s second TEDx Talk at Theatre on the Square – a gathering of minds from all disciplines that’s part of a worldwide movement to share new ways of seeing and imagining the world. Sixteen thinkers and achievers from the greater Puget Sound community, ranging from professors to artists to business people, will each take 15 minutes to explore their world view with slide illustrations.

If you’ve heard of the TED talks (an international phenomenon that’s viewable for free online at ted.com) then this is similar, only independently and locally organized. This year’s theme is Desire, and speakers include math teacher Cyrus Brown, choreographers Rainbow Fletcher and Maureen Whiting, Catholic priest Fr. Steve Lantry, surgeon Dr. Dennis Nichols and leadership director Kellie Richardson.

TEDx runs in hour-long sessions from 3-9 p.m. with reception following. $79. Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894, broadwaycenter.org Read more »


Meet with the City of Tacoma and Artspace next week to discuss artist live/work space possibilities in Tacoma

Tacoma could be on the verge of a big change. The City arts commission has invited Artspace, a national non-profit renowned for developing property into live/work studios for artists, to come to Tacoma and see if it can happen here. The feasibility study will take place May 9 and 10, but there’s a community meeting at 7 p.m. May 9 to meet Artspace representatives and offer feedback on the plan.

What’s Artspace? If you’ve wandered around Seattle’s Pioneer Square, you’ll have seen their most famous Seattle development in the Toshiro-Kaplan lofts. One of the driving forces behind the historic area’s renaissance in the 1990s, the building houses King County arts agency 4 Culture, 15 independent galleries and a coffee shop on street level, plus 50 affordable studios where artists can live and do their work with plentiful light and space. Other Artspace developments in the Northwest include the Hiawatha lofts and in-construction Mt. Baker Station lofts in south Seattle, and lofts in Everett and Portland.

Now Tacoma has the same possibility, with the non-profit taking a look around our wealth of unused downtown historic spaces. Read more »


Spoken word artist and activist Walida Imarisha performs at UPS with Fab-5 crew


Walidah Imarisha. Courtesy photo.
Walidah Imarisha. Courtesy photo.

Walidah Imarisha, a spoken word artist, educator, writer, and innovative voice on issues of youth and justice, will perform with the Fab-5 artistic youth group next Thursday, April 25, at the University of Puget Sound.

The performance is free.

Imarisha, a teacher in Portland State University’s Black Studies Department, Oregon State University’s women’s studies program and Southern New Hampshire University’s English department, will address how educational systems often alienate youth through a hidden racism.

“Students feel marginalized, silenced, invisibilized, demonized, criminalized, without that being said explicitly,” Imarisha told UPS Professor Dexter Gordon in a recent interview. “They’re not learning about themselves and everything they do learn about themselves is negative. Many young, brilliant folks have dropped out of school because they were saving their spirits. And we have to see that as a survival tactic.”

Fab-5 is a Tacoma youth organization that offers creative outlets for underserved urban youth, including DJing, spoken word and writing, breakdancing and visual art. Read more »