Images from my 2016 exhibit at Seattle’s historic Paramount Theatre.
As a society, we prescribe definitions to our spaces and faces, in an effort to put the world around us into context. Via participation with a significant number of arts managers in our area, Seattle Theatre Group has gained an increased sensitivity to how definitions can be limiting, outdated and in many cases, hurtful. To expand the conversation on the importance of space and how it can be illuminating, STG will be showcasing three visual art exhibits featuring Black artists and their work within the context of an historic space.
The goal of the current project is to elevate the presence of and the availability of work created by Black artists in Seattle. Future exhibits will continue to focus on illustrating the work of local visual artists responding to issues of importance, as we keep evolving the ways in which we use our space(s). The Paramount lobby bar space offers a unique opportunity for participating artists’ work to be seen by the roughly 500,000 people who come through the theatre’s doors each season for a variety of engagements.
The anticipated impact of this new thrust for the Paramount Theatre Lobby Bar is an expanded awareness of the multiplicity of voices that are resident in our community. This project also connects to STG’s Strategic Plan (Engage with artists beyond performance-be a convener), and provides an additional invitation to the artist community for engagement with STG.
CURATOR’S MISSION STATEMENT: Re:definition’s current exhibits will showcase, within the historic cultural space of The Paramount Theatre, the work of Black Seattle artists. By providing sustained exposure for ideas and perspectives too often marginalized, we hope to challenge preconceptions and facilitate awareness and understanding.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As people, we move through the world with our own identities, experiences and opinions, creating a lens which determines what we see and how we make sense of what lies in front of us. Individually, we engage in this cycle of “meaning-making” and can choose to either disregard what it teaches us or allow it to influence our worldview. Our collective meaning-making, our collective person-time, if you will, further magnifies that process, adding new ideas and complexities as we learn about the world through each other, making change harder to ignore. The more we expose ourselves to real images and stories of real people around the world, the more our understanding grows. Hopefully, we can push beyond understanding and develop greater compassion, acceptance and openness towards difference. The more person-time we individually contribute to this study, the more we collectively work towards creating new meanings, ultimately impacting global culture itself.