Arts

Arts and culture

Imagine getting a job — but in doing so, replacing a friend whose firing prompted more than 1,200 people to sign a petition calling for his return. 

That was the situation Kate Becker faced as she took over the city of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music.

Bellevue Arts Museum, Collection of Cathy and Michael Casteel

Where does the creativity come from that fuels a work of art?

For Seattle woodcarver Daniel Webb, it comes from the dialogue he has with centuries-old wood as he carves into them.

Webb uses mostly reclaimed wood, much of it more than 200 years old. His first solo exhibition opens today at Bellevue Arts Museum, where you can see how he transforms discarded stumps and I-beams into objects as delicate as a shimmering balloon, a wispy dandelion or child’s pillow. 

Undated photo via The Associate Press, courtesy of SAM

The movie “The Monuments Men” spotlights a platoon of real-life U.S. soldiers who rescued artistic masterpieces from the Nazis during World War II. 

Overall, there were approximately 350 men and women from 13 nations who fought to preserve art from the ravages of war. Two of them came from Washington state.

Sherman Lee, who was born in Seattle, was an expert in Asian art who served as associate director at the Seattle Art Museum in the late 1940s.

For centuries, people have been making a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain known as the "Way of St. James" or El Camino de Santiago, and among them is a growing number of people from the Pacific Northwest.

The pilgrimage was traditionally made for religious reasons. The route ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of  St. James the Apostle are believed to be buried.

But Portland filmmaker Lydia B. Smith, whose documentary "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago" is opening in Seattle this weekend, says there are many reasons people take on the challenge.

"A lot of people do it for the adventure or to ease a transition without looking for something specific," she said. "There really is no right or wrong reason to do the Camino."

Neil Giardino

Most people see the lion dance, at most, once a year on Lunar New Year. But for the dancers, the art is no occasional matter. Whether they practice the Chinese style or another version of the popular Asian dance, they practice year-round to perfect their moves for their annual performances.

Carlo Allegri / Invision/AP Photo

Seattle’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have seven shots at a Grammy Award on Sunday. The hip-hop duo is nominated for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album and Best Music Video.

Local pop music critic and writer Gene Stout says that’s an impressive list of nominations.

“A lot of people think of Macklemore and Lewis as an overnight success, but they’re not,” Stout said. “Macklemore’s been at it for 10 years. Certainly what they’ve done with two chart hits is extraordinary. And for a duo, it hasn’t really happened since the ‘90s.”

5th Avenue Theatre

"Oliver!" tells the story of a young orphan's misadventures in London, from the workhouse to a den of thieves and, finally, to a family that loves him. The musical, on stage now at the 5th Avenue Theatre, is based on the novel "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens.

Albert Evans, artistic and music associate at the 5th Avenue Theatre, who says the character of Oliver was one of many Dickens created and used over the years to call attention to societal ills, and to portray London as he saw it.


Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

The city-operated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) will soon be its own self-sustaining nonprofit organization.

Under a five-year plan, Seattle plans to hire a transition coordinator, help LHPAI secure nonprofit status and gradually decrease its financial investment in one of its oldest cultural institutions.

Roosevelt High School senior John Otten discovered the trumpet as a fourth grader.

"I thought, 'It’s only three valves. It wouldn’t be that hard. I bet I could do it,”’ he said.

Turned out, it was hard; he couldn’t even get a sound out that first month.

Fast forward eight years, and Otten is headed to the Grammys as the only student from the Pacific Northwest selected for the Grammy Band Jazz Session program.

American Booksellers Association

Head to an independent bookstore on Saturday, and you might find a local author working behind the counter.

One thousand authors at some 400 bookstores will be participating in a one-day national program called “Indies First”, which aims to draw shoppers to independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday.

Florangela Davila

Meet Nathan Cummings, a senior at Mercer Island High School and one of five chosen National Student Poets.

"It's like a crazy fever dream," said Cummings of having been awarded the highest recognition of its kind for young literary minds. 

 The awards are part of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. They're administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Cummings flew to Washington, D.C. last month for the ceremony where he met Joyce Carol Oates and Michelle Obama.

The film scene in the Northwest has become more prominent over the years thanks, in part, to the Northwest Film Forum. The small art house theater in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is an incubator for local talent that is getting noticed nationally. Many of these artists got their work in front of an audience for the first time at the Film Forum's annual Local Sightings Festival, which takes place over the next week. 

A campaign is under way to earn Seattle the distinction of being an international “city of literature.”

The man behind the effort is Seattle author Ryan Boudinot.

“I’m just a guy who wants cool things to happen in his city, who loves books and loves reading, and loves talking to writers and learning about new voices," he said. 

Kelly O.

What do you want to be wearing in your final moments? That's the question Seattle artist Mark Mitchell has been wondering about. And he has answered it in the form of burial clothing he has created for a new show at the Frye Museum.

"I’ve not had the luxury of not thinking about death a lot," he says. "I’ve had HIV disease well over 20 years. And I’ve lost many friends." 

In his 51 years on earth, Mitchell has been to a lot of funerals. There was the one for his father.

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Flenniken.

Washington state’s poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken has been awarded the Washington Book Award.

Flenniken’s new work of poetry, titled “Plume,” recounts her childhood in the nuclear-company town of Richland.

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