Published on June 18th, 2014 | by Michael Fitzgerald1
Ten arts events in one at the Tacoma Post Office Building Art Walk
On June 19, a group of Tacoma’s working artists and Spaceworks Tacoma will be hosting quite a shindig at the downtown Tacoma Post Office Building, including the unveiling of recent renovations.
Artist Trust sees the event as an opportunity to see good art and network over wine and cheese. Michele Lancet, an organizer with Artist Trust, said she’s excited about collaborating with Spaceworks.
Heather Joy, Spaceworks’ Manager, has had success working with Artist Trust on events in Seattle and invited the organization to host one in Tacoma. Joy said the goal is to get “artists from all over Tacoma to know of [Artist Trust]. We want everyone to come.”
One reason they chose to have it at the Post Office Building is because Spaceworks already has studio projects and installations housed there. Tenants include projects like Alana T Photography, printmaker Alex Schelhammer’s PolyRev Adventure Supply Co., the studio of photographer Kristin Giordano, and others. Spaceworks also has installed “Artscapes” in the building’s display cases in the lobby.
Artist Trust is a not-for-profit, statewide organization that encourages independent artists with financial grants and career training. They host trainings such as “I Am an Artist,” a recent two day intensive workshop that included a session by Heather Joy. The workshop featured an idea pitch rehearsal over wine and cheese that Lancet says became more valuable as it became more informal, just a chance to get together and chat with other artists and people in the art community.
Lancet says she’s been delighted to see the event in Tacoma grow much bigger than what was originally planned to be just a happy hour, “it’s turning into something really exciting.”
Renovating a historic building to be a cultural center
Athena Reneé has been working on the renovation of a special part of the Post Office Building: June 19 will also include the public unveiling of a former courtroom refurbished as an event space called Post Hall. Reneé says the goal is to make the building a cultural space, “bringing us all together no matter who you are.” The Post Office Building wants to offer affordable studio spaces in various sizes throughout the property.
Reneé is a makeup artist with Embellish Salon and recently ran the gallery and all-ages music venue The Space. She’s been supporting the renovations throughout the Post Office for about a year, mostly dealing with red tape. She shared that she is working on creating a space for a restaurant on the street level floor, possibly another food-related store on the first floor, and eventually a garden area on the roof.
Candy Teeth Creative collaborates to exhibit skater puppets
The Art Walk event includes a multi-media exhibition by Candy Teeth Creative, including a screening of a ten-minute documentary “Fake It Until You Make Believe” by Kris Crews showcasing Jeremy Gregory’s puppetry work known as The Believables.
Gregory has a studio on the first floor of the Post Office Building and is enthusiastic about showing his work, “I’m excited for people to see more of my process working with the puppets, more of a small behind the scenes look” he said over email. A team of artists are building an original installation on a 5-by-10 foot table, featuring terrain designed by Geoff Weeg for ththe puppets to skate on.
Crews says skaters might find some elements of the installation particularly interesting, “It’s cool, it’s about skateboarding, and realistic in how somebody skateboarding would be posing. If you don’t know too much about it you might not see it.” The artist group is going to be selling prints of Believables photos taken with Crews’ large format camera for the first time ever. He said they were also thinking about creating a tiled piece made up of Jeremy Gregory’s popular Instagram photos of the Believables.
Even more exhibitions and open studios
Local photographer Kristin Giordano will be hosting an open studio as well. Her work includes photos of abandoned palaces of Qatar and other black and white cityscapes. Giordano has a film degree from NYU and holds a master’s in interdisciplinary art from Goddard. She’s lived in Tacoma since 2005 and her works can be found in various locations in the city including the Woolworth Windows and at the Fulcrum Gallery in Hilltop, but she’s never hosted an open studio event like the one on Thursday.
Giordano still uses film and is into using antiquated photo technology like pinhole cameras, toy cameras, and creating direct contact prints called photograms. Giordano is excited to invite people to come in, say hello, and rummage around. She really enjoys her space in the building noting it’s big windows, high ceilings, and wood flooring.
Alex Schelhammer of PolyRev, a Spaceworks Tacoma affiliate, is also working on showing his studio to the public during the event, and may even be able to offer attendees t-shirt printing on the spot.
The night will also feature an exhibition memorializing the Luzon Building, a historic downtown Tacoma building that was torn down in 2009.
The happy hour runs from 5 to 9 pm on June 19 at the Tacoma Post Office Building downtown and will include a DJ performance by DJ Mr. Melanin*, a performance from DASH at 7, and breakdancing from the Fab-5 at 8.