by Jen Graves
on Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM
There's a good discussion going on in the comments section of the story I wrote in this week's paper, about why affordable artist housing in Seattle is so disproportionately white. Some commenters say I didn't answer the question, but the fact is that there isn't a clear answer, and smart people in the story propose several ideas, including everything from the cliquishness that redounds from a history defined by racism to non-Western artists not considering themselves eligible for projects they probably think are open only to oil painters.
Most importantly, one solution is for all types of people to get down to the new building under construction next to the Mount Baker Light rail station to apply on intake day in 2014. The date hasn't been set yet, but:
Artspace is against homogeneity in more than skin tone, but skin tone is related to cultural diversity, Vandenbrink elaborated. "If you are interested in Somali music or Eritrean dance forms, yes, you are an artist in our eyes," she said. "That's what's important: in our eyes. Even the whole white artist community thinks, 'Oh, artist housing, that means it's for painters.' This is for all creative people and cultural practitioners. Music and dance and performance and arts and crafts. We include curators and stage managers. We err on the side of inclusion, not exclusion."
Spread the word. E-mail Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive notification of applications, workshops for help applying, and advance notice for when it's time to camp out.
People have also asked me why Artspace makes people camp out to be considered. Vandenbrink explained it to me but I didn't have room to include the answer in the story. It's a policy partly developed from the Tashiro-Kaplan building in Pioneer Square, where the building was specifically built to help artists who were losing spaces stay in that neighborhood—to actually stop the gentrification process, where artists move in, then end up getting pushed out. Another reason? So that some artist from Arizona can't somehow get priority over an artist from Seattle, Vandenbrink said.
A cool unexpected side effect of people camping out together to apply for a building is that these are people who will likely end up living together. They start forming connections right then. At a new Artspace buidling in Santa Cruz, they're talking about making it an annual tradition.
Bottom line: Stay tuned. E-mail Morton to get on the list so you'll receive notifications of all upcoming dates. And Forward. This. Post.