Spaceworks Artists in the News – Tasty!

If you think about it, it’s almost dumbfounding, the number and quality of working artists who call Tacoma home. We’re not talking about a homespun enclave bookended by Seattle and Portland, but a respected community of artists, emerging and established, who exhibit regionally, nationally and around the world. Many of these pros barely make mention of the aah-mazing work they are doing, so as we ramp up to Cakewalk, the big Spaceworks fundraiser this weekend, we’re calling out some of those who have also been Spaceworks award recipients. This weekend, several of them will be donating serious art booty to the Cakewalk that you could win and take home!

This is just a small sampling, so come out this Saturday, meet and greet some of this town’s hardest-working creatives (in the studio and the kitchen), and buy tickets to win from a mind-bending array of art and edible creations that will be up for grabs! This is an all-ages event – refreshments provided, drinks available (21+). Cakewalk, September 15, 6-9 pm, 311 S. 7th St. in Tacoma. Tickets to win artwork or cakes ($20/$5). Entertainment by DJ Mr. Melanin and DJ Broam, dance performance by the BareFoot Collective, video installation by Kris Crews. For more info, click here. ADMISSION IS FREE!

Spaceworks artist and recovering golf addict Jeremy Gregory is emitting a glow these days; that special glow that says, “I have been hit by a meteor,” perhaps; or, “I have scored an astonishing art commission.” Gregory is working on the mother of all projects – a one-mile long mural at the much talked-about Point Ruston condo development on the Tacoma waterfront. “The name of the artwork is Paisley Water” and the original concept was by noted California ceramics artist Robert Gilbert, he says. Gilbert hired Gregory as an assistant, but liked his work so much he invited him to add his own inspiration to the waterfront trail, which will be executed in hand-made ceramic tiles. Tacoma artist Rachael Dotson is an assistant to Gregory.

Sculptor of words, Holly Senn, has a gorgeous, dreamily thought-provoking installation at the super-stylish Jupiter Hotel in Portland, OR, through October 2012. To support Spaceworks, Senn, who takes the leaves of cast-off library books and creates paper sculptures that vibrate with new meaning, is trying her hand at baking: “I’m donating a cake with a mini-installation on it inspired by Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project, The Umbrellas.”

The Dome District Mural.

Chris Sharp has five words for his Cakewalk contribution: “Tiny painting. Urban. Lettering oriented.” Sharp, who shared a Spaceworks residency space with Jeremy Gregory (that would be the one with a skateboard quarter-pipe), is leaving his own signature on Tacoma – he recently led a team of painters in creating a wall-size Dome District mural for the Tacoma Murals Project. It’s a tribute to “the multitude of commuters, travelers and people who come to the area to find entertainment, go to work, and live.” Sharp was the inaugural recipient of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Foundation of Art Award, a $7,500 prize.

Oliver Doriss, the hardest-working man in the gallery business. Photo courtesy of GTCF.

This year’s recipient of the GTCF Foundation of Art Award, Oliver Doriss, will be taking the night off from his Fulcrum Gallery to DJ at the Cakewalk, and he’s gifting some of his fabulous glass babyhead cups, too. In addition to curating at Fulcrum, Doriss is a studio glass artist who produces his own one-of-a-kind sculptures as well as works for the likes of Dale Chihuly and fashion designer Donna Karan. Thanks, Oliver!

Next door to Fulcrum, Tacoma’s beloved Fab-5 have found a permanent home – and energized a long-vacant commercial space – through the Spaceworks program. The group is currently wrapping up a super-secret graffiti project that goes up, down and around the insides of a corporate headquarters in Kent. This was a major commission, as in, they just shipped out 32 cubic feet of spraypaint – and that was the leftovers! “[It’s] the craziest mural project we’ve done so far in scope and detail,” says the always-fab Chris Jordan. Begun last December, the project will culminate in a video documentary. Fab-5’s organization, FABITAT, is deeply admired for its free workshops that encourage underserved youth to develop and explore their identities through music, movement, visual arts, written/spoken word, and – new this year – photography. Congratulations, Fab-5!
Fab-5 graffiti artist Kenji Stoll currently has an installation in the Woolworth Windows.

“I am donating a piece of art. I don’t have a photo of it. I’m also making a cake. All my other projects are in various stages,” says Spaceworks artist and renowned printmaker, Lance Kagey. Last year, with his creative partner, Thom Llewellyn, Kagey launched Rotator, Tacoma’s first coffee-table art magazine. He switched mediums for the Cakewalk: “I can say the art I’m giving is very different from what people may expect from me. Yes. Edible, I hope. If all goes well it will be a bit Alice-in-Wonderlandish. But it might end up, just a cake.”

Breaking new ground is Tacoma’s terrific writing center, write@253, a Spaceworks project modeled after Dave Eggers’ wildly successful San Francisco literary lab, 826Valencia. With free workshops by guests such as award-winning author, Peter Bacho; and a summer Bard Camp for children K-6, write@253 is helping to keep the language alive! Watch for write@253’s surprise gift at Cakewalk!

“Semi-Automatic” by Michael Kaniecki

Just in – a knockout Cakewalk donation by artist Michael Kaniecki, drawn from his remarkable installation of drawings, Semi-Automatic. “I am donating nine of my drawings completed during my Spaceworks residency for the Cakewalk. Each original 9″ x 12″ drawing has been folded into a cube and mounted onto a board forming another 3 x 3, three-dimensional grid ready for hanging on a wall. It’s a lightweight drawing sculpture and I love it. Hope someone else will love it too and take it home with them.” We do, we do!

Jessica Spring is an artist’s artist: she joins consummate craftsmanship as a printmaker with a wickedly humorous, literary sensibility. Her work is in numerous collections including that of the British Museum. “I’m taking off teaching this fall to finish up several new books,” she says. With Chandler O’Leary (below), an artist with whom she frequently collaborates, Spring is making a gift of a limited-edition print, Prop Cake, part of their Dead Feminists series.

Janet Marcavage found time to create a Spaceworks installation this summer in between exhibits in New York City and Port Townsend, WA. Warp and Weft I is one of the fabulous artworks that will be available at Cakewalk on September 15 – it’s a beautiful, delicate piece that is best appreciated up close and personal. The print fittingly relates to Janet’s current Spaceworks installation in the Woolworth Windows.

Sculptures by Claudia Riedener at an exhibit at Gallery 301.

Four Spaceworks artists – Chandler O’Leary, Diane Hansen, James Sinding andLisa Kinoshita – have been awarded public art commissions through the PA:ID (Public Art:In Depth) program presented last year through the City of Tacoma and taught by artist and educator, Elizabeth Conner. Artists Bret Lyon, Claudia Riedener and Ed Kroupa have also received public art commissions after completing the course. “What we are doing is investing in artists who have accomplished a level of success in their studio work to teach them intensively about public art – what it is, what it entails, how one has to not only be a good artist, but also think about the site, the community, get projects engineered, and get permits,” Amy McBride, Tacoma Arts Administrator, told the Weekly Volcano, last year.

Each of the seven artists has received a project award in the amount of $25,000; two more recipients have yet to be announced. The commissions are as follows:

Diane Hansen – A St. Passageway, Sound Transit
Lisa Kinoshita – STAR Center, Metro Parks Tacoma
Ed Kroupa – The Esplanade
Bret Lyon – Foss Waterway Seaport
Chandler O’Leary – Old Town Dock, Metro Parks Tacoma
Claudia Riedener – 66th St. Overpass, Sound Transit
James Sinding – Pacific Ave. Underpass, Sound Transit

Watch for new works by these artists throughout the city in the coming year – you may spot their work at the Cakewalk, too!

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