The skateboard – painted, decal-ed, scarred and battle-worn – emerged as T-town’s ranking object of functional art at the Spaceworks launch party Thursday night. As a suggested mode of transportation (no carbon emissions, free parking), it was in evidence everywhere along the art walk route, starting with the studio of Jeremy Gregory and Chris Sharp. (The evening’s hosts practice aerial twists and turns on their indoor quarter-pipe when the place isn’t crammed with visitors.) Partygoers got fortified on raw munchies and refreshments then flowed out into the streets, on foot or on wheels, to view the ongoing 3-D dialogue between artists and the city.
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This was truly an all-ages event, with scads of even pre-SOTA grade schoolers in attendance. Many converged at 950 Pacific Avenue to see artists and green gurus Nichole Vandever and Cheryl Rux, who led the recycling charge amongst area schoolkids that resulted in their monumental Pacific Park window installation. The work’s centerpiece is a long-legged fawn made of cardboard toilet paper tubes standing in a meadow of styrofoam peanuts – it creates a tender yet unsettling mood, like Bambi retold by George Orwell.
We’ll take any chance we can get for a peek at Tea for Short Expectations, Acataphasia Grey‘s ironic, Tim Burton-esque peephole installation in Opera Alley (like a London backstreet at night). Obviously, we weren’t the only ones for whom out-of-sight doesn’t mean out-of-mind – check out this Shakespearean madhouse tea party fantasy and you’ll see why.
At 915 Pacific Avenue, Michael Hoover and Katie Stricker of the BareFoot Collective held court on the marley floor with bare feet and high spirits, talking about their upcoming Ides of May performance featuring students from Gig Harbor High School (check their Facebook page for dates and times).
The War Experience Project, a harrowing exhibition of uniforms painted by military veterans whose impact we can only compare to that of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, ended on a grace note Thursday. Program originator Rick Lawson was nominated for the prestigious Foundation of Art Award from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (the philanthropic organization that is bringing Desmond Tutu to Tacoma next month). Congratulations to Rick and his wife, Valery Tolle, for their inspired work on behalf of veterans.
Garage-band wunderkind Sam Olsen (one half of The Coma Collective, with Shayne Weeks) takes the evening’s prize for “Best Musical Performance on a Skateboard”…Olsen sweetly strummed Smokey Robinson’s You Really Got A Hold on Me on the guitar, while tracing lazy serpentines on his ‘board. It reminded us of surfing legend Duke Kahanomoku picking his ukelele while cresting an ocean wave. The painter Saul Becker and conceptual artist James Sinding share the residency space at 1114 Pacific Avenue with The Coma Collective. Becker, newly transplanted from New York, is in the process of moving in; Sinding’s wonderful wooden furniture and airplane taking a nosedive were on display.
After making the rounds of Pacific Avenue we headed back up to Broadway for a last look at installations dealing with time, history, the cosmos, philosophy, and the imperiled ecological state the world finds itself in. The Woolworth Building features works by Amy Oates, Jessica Spring, Holly Senn, Gabriel Brown and Julie Jansen. At 908-912 Broadway, installations by Rachel Hibbard, Nicole Linde and Celeste Cooning emit an unnatural light of their own, asking viewers to take pause and consider, before skating by.