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Tag: Spaceworks Tacoma


Clouds of art in Tacoma’s new Woolworth Windows installation

Janet Marcavage, "Fabrication." Courtesy photo.

Just when the weather’s finally warming up, we get clouds of art. The latest Spaceworks installation in the Woolworth Windows in downtown Tacoma features three artists – all female, not sure if that means anything – playing with clouds in form, metaphor and effect, using paper, fabric and straw to create art that wafts through the windows’ large interiors.

On the uptown end University of Puget Sound-based printmaker Janet Marcavage continues her rather dry, formal investigation of patterns and textures. This time she takes the ubiquitous stripe – think college dorm sheets, tacky business shirts – and transmutes it into flowing, leaf-shaped papers that flutter by in drifts, their interestingly-hatched stripes giving them the illusion of folded fabric.

Janet Marcavage, "Fabrication." Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

The flat window decals add to the dimensional riff, and the palette of violet/poppy red is bold and lipsticky. What drags the installation down is the inclusion of all the striped jersey sheets, pinned lumpily to the walls. Their heaviness detracts from the paper’s skillful construction, and the whole thing seems a little lazy – a kind of “how can I possibly fill this entire window?” Read more »


Spaceworks works, at least in the Hilltop, says City of Tacoma

The Fab-5 space on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

Spaceworks Tacoma has been filling vacant downtown commercial space with art for a few years now, and the benefits to artists have been obvious: more exposure, cheap venues, different audiences. The benefits to the community are harder to quantify, but include more street traffic and the uplift that comes from art anyway, and more and more properties have been drawn into this collaboration between the City of Tacoma, the Chamber of Commerce and arts non-profit Shunpike. In 2011 alone Spaceworks supported 18 creative enterprises, exhibited 28 art installations, occupied 20 retail spaces, supported over 70 events and attracted over 16,500 visitors. That’s a lot of downtown activity.

Now the project has spawned commercial success, at least in the Hilltop. Two Spaceworks project sites at 1310-1316 Martin Luther King Jr. Way – the Fab-5 hip hop youth arts group and the Nate Dybevik Piano Company – have taken on regular leases with the property owner after six months low-cost leasing through Spaceworks. Read more »


Toy Boat Theatre winds up at their Spaceworks venue on Tacoma’s Hilltop with a solstice celebration

Actors and musicians in "That Delicate Light" at Toy Boat Theatre: from the left: Olivia Seward, Marilyn Bennett, Peter Pendras (guitar), Meleesa Wyatt, Matt Shimkus, Trevor Pendras (guitar, organ), Aaron Jacobs. Courtesy photo.

Spaceworks, that City of Tacoma project that fills empty commercial spaces downtown with art, music, dance and theater, has had some really good results – Toy Boat Theatre being one of them. This UPS-based, professional-level company has been able to offer Tacoma the kind of theater you’d never see in a community or professional space, thanks to the no-rent Spaceworks arrangment. Plays by Erin Cressida Wilson and Edward Albee, improv and workshops, and this weekend an original production combining poetry, music and theater focused on the winter solstice.

Well, it’s not actually on the solstice itself, which is next Tuesday, on Dec. 22. But Tuesday’s not a good theater night, so you can get a jump on the solstice and still leave the actual night free for whatever other rituals you want to indulge in by checking out Toy Boat Theatre. Directed by Suzy Willhoft, with local actors Aaron Jacobs, Matt Shimkus, Olivia Seward, Meleesa Wyatt and Toy Boat artistic director Marilyn Bennett herself, “That Delicate Light” is a staged reading reflecting on the long night and short day of this season through poems and stories ranging from Billy Collins to Suzan Lori-Parks and Dylan Thomas to Sesame Street, says Bennett, plus music from Frank Loesser to Crowded House. Read more »


Toy Boat Theatre plumbs the depths of Edward Albee’s bleakness in “Zoo Story”

The latest production from Toy Boat Theatre, a temporary black-box theater company and Spaceworks participant on the Hilltop, is Edward Albee’s “Zoo Story,” which in just one hour manages to descend to the depths of human misery both through Albee’s inimitable wordsmithing and through excellent work from two Tacoma actors.

Scott Campbell (formerly of Lakewood Playhouse and Tacoma Little Theatre) plays Peter, while Luke Amundson (The Outfit, Found Space Productions) plays Jerry in this first of Albee’s plays. Written in 1958, it was initially rejected by American companies for its caustic degradation of “wholesome” American society; it was

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Critic’s Picks: photography workshop at MoG, Virna Haffer at TAM, Spaceworks window art and Artwalk

Peter Serko workshop at MoG

Tacoma photographer Peter Serko, whose Museum of Glass-related work is on show now in the museum, will lead a mini photo workshop for all ages at MoG’s Family Day, along with a discussion of his work, and an outdoor composition workshop by Jennifer Adams. 1-4 p.m. Aug. 13 (1 p.m. discussion). $12/$10/$5/free for under-six. 1801 Dock St., Tacoma. 866-4-MUSEUM, www.museumofglass.org

Haffer’s photographs at TAM

Virna Haffer was a Tacoma photographer through the early and mid-20th century; her work was not only groundbreaking technically, but also socially and artistically. Thanks to recent research, Tacoma Art Museum

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Toy Boat Theatre walks the weird edge of a love triangle in “Dakota’s Belly”

If incest, lesbian love, onstage orgasm and bloodletting aren’t your cup of theater tea, then you’d better not see “Dakota’s Belly, Wyoming.” All the rest of us, however, will thoroughly enjoy this intimate little production from the brand new Toy Boat Theatre on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Toy Boat’s part of Tacoma’s Spaceworks project, matching up vacant commercial space with artists, and though this is only the second theatrical event it’s a keeper. Mounted by former and current University of Puget Sound students and faculty, the company has transformed the tiny shop space into a venue that’s just big

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Barefoot Collective presents “Ides of May” as part of Spaceworks Tacoma

This weekend sees a contemporary dance concert unusual in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s put on by the Barefoot Collective, but features not only their professional work but that of Gig Harbor High School students as a result of free workshops given there recently by the group. And secondly, it’s not at a theater: Instead, the show is at an empty storefront space on Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, as part of the Spaceworks program.

The high school workshops are new to Barefoot, a contemporary dance collective which has been giving creative and unusual performances over the last few years

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Dance at Tollefson for ArtWalk: BQDanza does oil-spill-inspired “Thick”

Thanks to Spaceworks (the Tacoma Arts Commission’s summer-fall arts project for empty spaces), downtown Tacoma’s hosting a lot of cool art these days. Some of the coolest is in Tollefson Plaza, and next week for third Thursday ArtWalk we’ll get to see a new dance work by one of the South Sound’s most inventive choreographers, Carla Barragan.

Barragan, an Ecuadorian-American choreographer who’s known for inventive, thoughtful site-specific work in Tacoma, Seattle, South America and elsewhere, has turned for her 20-minute Tollefson piece to the Gulf oil spill. In “Thick,” dancers from Barragan’s group BQDanza move around the plaza

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