New charges have been filed in the Capitol Hill speakeasy case against seven people for crimes ranging from cocaine dealing to "professional gambling." One of those seven is artist dk pan (gambling charges), who helped head up the Free Sheep Foundation, profiled by Jen Graves here.
Blogs around town are parroting the SPD's allegations that the Free Sheep Foundation was, in the words of Detective Sgt. Ryan Long, "created only to generate plausible deniability to law enforcement, should suspicion arise."
We'll learn more about all this as the case unfolds, but let me point out to my fellow reporters right now that Free Sheep was most certainly not "created only to generate plausible deniability." Its artistic background is far broader and longer than the SPD is giving it credit for—and probably predates the beginning of SPD's investigation.
Free Sheep put together the Bridge Motel, the Moore Inside Out, and other events, including incubation performances for Degenerate Art Ensemble, which is currently having a show at the Frye Art Museum (which I've written about for next week's paper) where Free Sheep is credited on the wall text as a real-deal arts organization.
Was Free Sheep ever involved in any way with anything illegal? I don't know—but even if it was, that doesn't negate its identity as an arts organization. ("Art" and "crime" aren't mutually exclusive terms.) I'm disappointed at my fellow reporters who've assumed that Free Sheep was created only to generate plausible deniability to law enforcement just because the SPD says so. No calls to the Moore, no calls to the Frye, no calls to 4Culture, no calls to Seattle School or to any of the many, many artists and arts organizations who've done real work with Free Sheep.