Seattle art galleries

Wa Na Wari: a Seattle version of 'Hotel California'

When I reluctantly ended my first visit to Wa Na Wari, I told one of the co-founders if I didn’t get out now, I’d never leave this home-turned-gallery space. Apparently that was plan all along: get people in the door with the art, then lull them into staying. Kinda like Hotel California, but homey instead of sinister.

Wa Na Wari co-founder Rachel Kessler and visitors

Wa Na Wari co-founder Rachel Kessler and visitors

Creative reminders of home are woven throughout the house, like the hanging sculptures by Henry Jackson-Spieker. They literally mark “places that were points of gatherings or comfort” when the Greene family lived there.

Henry Jackson-Spieker glass & wood sculpture above family table

Henry Jackson-Spieker glass & wood sculpture above family table

Wa Na Wari continues the revived trend of home-based art exhibit spaces. Not pop-ups — permanent galleries. No surprise that New York artists have done this in apartments — or just in one apartment room — considering New York rents. The phenomenon seems to be solidifying in Seattle and nearby communities too, as real estate gets pricier by the minute.

Still from “Remembering Her Homecoming,” a film by Natassja E. Swift

Still from “Remembering Her Homecoming,” a film by Natassja E. Swift

The thing I love the most about Wa Na Wari, though, is it still feels welcoming like a home — not merely a house-shaped gallery. In fact, the view into the backyard shook me for a moment: it’s strongly reminiscent of my grandparents’ home in Kentucky, which no longer exists.

Contemplating art & community with Wa Na Wari co-founder Inye Wokoma

Contemplating art & community with Wa Na Wari co-founder Inye Wokoma

This weekend is an especially good time to visit: environmental artist and icon Marita Dingus is teaching a doll-making class on August 11th. Plus, her own doll sculptures are on display upstairs.

Selected works by Marita Dingus

Selected works by Marita Dingus

If you have so much fun you can’t bear to leave, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

"... Mother" returns next week

It’s like Homecoming Week up in here: “Like Mother” opens its doors in North Seattle next Wednesday, this time at the North Seattle College art gallery.

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Notice there are two opportunities for you to see our work that day! If your schedule allows, you can join us that afternoon. If not, then join us in the early evening and wait out rush hour looking at art instead of sitting in traffic. I promise, it’s far more pleasant to breathe in the sweet smell of beeswax from Deborah Kapoor’s encaustic art installation.

Deborah Kapoor, “My Body, My Home”

Deborah Kapoor, “My Body, My Home”

Maybe you have to head home right away, though; I understand. Rest up on Friday, then join me Saturday evening in Shoreline for the opening of “Living the Dream.”

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “Relatively Progressive” (detail)

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “Relatively Progressive” (detail)

Photo of Edwin T. Pratt. Credit: Black Heritage Society of WA state

Photo of Edwin T. Pratt. Credit: Black Heritage Society of WA state

Hope to see you soon — maybe at both events!

Coming soon: "Locally Sourced"

If you've never been to the Pacific Northwest, this "Portlandia" sketch will give you a (slightly exaggerated) taste of the obsession over 'local origins.'

What -- and who -- qualifies as "local?" That's the Big Question behind our exhibit at the Columbia City Gallery.

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All four contributing artists are women of color who've lived here for a long time: Carletta Carrington Wilson, Bernadette Merikle, Susan Ringstad Emery and me. I think of us all as local, as familiar as coffee in Seattle. But you know how people talk about coffee here: like it's some rare, exotic thing seen only once in a blue moon. 

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Not surprising, then, that a coffee-related marketing blurb encapsulated that paradox, which I wanted to convey in my collages: "Rare & Exquisite."

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Each of us artists has a different take on being local. Carletta's textile work speaks to migrations through time and space. Bernadette imagines her ancestors deciding the question of local origins. And Susan, who calls herself an urban Iñupiat, considers Native (and "native") Seattle icons. Come see for yourself: the opening reception for "Locally Sourced" is May 19th at 5pm PST. Hope to see you in a few hours!