Indigenous Futurisms Fest comes to Tacoma this June, 2023

As a showcase to Indigenous science fiction authors, scholars, and artists, ALMA in Downtown Tacoma will host the Indigenous Futurisms Festival Northwest (IFFNW) Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. While admission is free and open to all, registration is encouraged.

IFFNW will showcase award-winning First Nations and First American scholars, artists and other Native creators from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There will be an interactive programming highlighting musicians, painters, instruction on making tabletop role playing games (TTRPG), podcasts, discussions with elders, children’s activities and many live performances.

“IFFNW will help dispel contemporary misrepresentations of who they are today. We are thrilled to collaborate with ALMA as a safe and welcoming gathering spot that channels, celebrates, and seeks to nourish the soul of this land, the people on it, the people from it, and those just passing through.”

Kristin Gentry (Choctaw), says Native Realities’ Director of Community Engagement and Outreach

What is Indigenous Futurism? Dr. Grace Dillon, editor of Walking the Clouds, and Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, coined the term to describe literature, comics, art, fashion, and other media that seek a way forward through fantastical and speculative imaginings that hold close to values of relationship, integrity, interconnection, and balance. Dillon chose the term in homage to Afrofuturism, which is an “examination of how Black culture intersects with technology and the African diaspora.”

Examples of other Indigenous Futurists works include Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirited and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, and The Marrow Thieves.

The Facebook event page for IFFNW can be found here.

Shop for gothy gifts at Full Moon Flea Market

Nestled in Antique row is shopping for the goth-inclined: Full Moon Flea Market – a self-proclaimed purveyor of “Grim Gifts and Goods: Dark Arts and Antiques from the Pacific Northwest.”

After a few years of being housed within the Sanford and Son building they moved to a storefront last year. They feature over the work of over 65 local artists – of spooky, macabre, horror, punk, LGBT, and witchy works. You can also everything from jewelry to pins and buttons, stickers, patches, books and zines, cards, art prints, and so much more.

Due to some health issues the physical storefront will be taking a hiatus for some months but they will be returning soon after. Their last in-store day will be May 28th, after which they will be doing all their business through their websitePlease visit! Follow them on Instagram and Facebook. They will be doing a product refresh with new works from a variety of their awesome artists!

Gothic Pride Seattle – 2023 Dark Delights Spring Bazaar & Bakesale

Today we travelled up to Seattle from Tacoma for the second annual Dark Delights Spring Bazaar & Bake Sale by Gothic Pride Seattle.

“Gothic Pride Seattle is an all-inclusive nonprofit 501(c)3 organization working to help strengthen and empower our diverse community through advocacy, education, social, and fundraising events. We strive to help make safe and lasting connections and alliances within and throughout the Seattle Gothic community, as well as in the greater Seattle area.

Through hosting and participating in local gothic events, we help strengthen and unify our community and promote connections. We create visibility through our float in Seattle’s yearly Pride Parade, and invite all community members to join us and celebrate your gothic pride!

All the profits from the sales of the t-shirts, hoodies and other merchandise goes to the Community Crypt fund which is distributed to local goth businesses in need.”

The history of Gothic Pride Seattle can be found here – The GPS website offers many ways for community goths to become involved, whether that be through volunteering, donating, or supporting sponsoring businesses.

These were some of the partipating vendors:

Iikka Keränen – Dark and Gothy artist
Dropping Needles Embroidery – Spooky and Geeky embroidery
Handbasket Co  – Home of the Satanizer to ‘clean your hands, not your soul’
Gothic Pride Seattle Shop – Coffee mugs, t-shirts, hoodies
MX Morgan Illustrations – Dark Fantasy Artist
Shady Lamp Lady – Gothy lamps
Charmed Curio – Jewelry
Robert Tritthardt  – Dark Pen and Ink Illustration
Ground by the Sound – Crystals

I enjoyed browsing and seeing everyone’s talents. I will definitely visit their online stores to acquire more wares. I found a couple beautiful prints by Mx Morgan Illustrations – the one I was able to purchase today was this lovely dark moon against a blood red sky. They had a collection of really dark and adorable stickers as well. I’ll be returning to their shop to try to purchase the other print I was eyeing.

Blood Moon – by Mx Morgan

I was happy to meet Tara of the aspiring Little Goth Cafe on the Hill – Please help support her efforts to develop a late night gothy cafe in Seattle that will feature art, vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian options, and community/meeting spaces.

Tinkertopia – Tacoma’s Creative Reuse Center

If you’re in Downtown Tacoma visiting either the University of Washington in Tacoma, the local TAM (Tacoma Art Museum), Museum of Glass, or Washington State History Museum – just across the street on Pacific Ave you HAVE to go see Tinkertopia!

Tinkertopia works with local businesses and the community to safely gather reusable materials, converting them into imaginative arts and craft supplies for kids, teachers, “makers and tinkerers.”

Tinkertopia was founded by two artists, one a preschool art teacher who were committed to not only providing opportunities for the community to have low-cost art supplies but also to divert local waste-streams.

Continue reading “Tinkertopia – Tacoma’s Creative Reuse Center”

“Resilience – A Sansei Sense of Legacy”

Kristine Aono, Daruma of Resilience, 2019 – 2021 – A large daruma doll that invited children to post notes of their own hopes and dreams. Courtesy of the Washington State History Museum website – Photograph by Chris Barclay.

“Resilience – A Sansei Sense of Legacy”, an exhibit of art works by eight Sansei (third generation) Japanese-American artists is running until July 7, 2023, at the Washington State History Museum. The show reflects upon the multi-generational impacts of the wartime Executive Order 9066 that sent their families to internment camps.

From Exhibits USA, this touring exhibit was produced by the Mid-America Arts Alliance and curated by Gail Enns and Jerry Takigawa.

It’s difficult to convey the full impact of some of these pieces – one by Wendy Maruyama, has the heaviest presence, consisting of three tree-like bundles, suspended from the ceiling, consisting of replications of the over hundred thousand internment camp identification tags. The original exhibition featured 10 of these, like a forest….each representing one of the ten sites where the US government interned Japanese-Americans during WWII. These tall structures tower over you, sobering you with the enormity of these tags, each representing a Japanese-American, pulled away from their homes, in suspension with 120,000 others for 3-5 years.

Wendy Maruyama – The Tag Project 2011. Replications of camp identification tags.

Reiko Fujii interviewed members of different families who had been interned, in order to capture and share their story. One woman’s story was especially moving and shocking; she had been born and raised in Peru, but for reasons which many Americans don’t realize, the US government asked several Latin American countries to extradict Japanese from their countries after Pearl Harbor. She and her family (and thousands of other Japanese in Latin America) were taken to the US internment camps because they were of Japanese ancestral origin. (For context, during the late 19th-early 20th century there was an influx of Japanese that left Japan to move to Latin America – part of a larger Japanese diaspora during Meiji.)

This woman was 7 years old when she and her family were taken to the US, where they did not speak the language. After the war, even more shocking was that as ‘illegal aliens’ they could not move to communities in the US, but Peru it turned out no longer wanted them either. Their only alternative was to be sent “back” to Japan, a country devastated by the war and not their “home”. There would be no promise of resources or support for them. Her father was very ill, so because of this they stayed an additional two years in the camp until the US allowed them to stay and settle in Berkeley, CA.

To honor not only those Fujii interviewed but to symbolically honor all 120,000 interned, the artist constructed a kimono of 2,000 hand cut glass pieces holding hundreds of fused photographs and stiched with copper wire.

Reiko Fujii – Detained Enemy Alien Glass Kimono – 2017

The last works that really stood out were open ended and subjective. Na Omi Judy Shintani installed three vintage kimono – one black, one red, and one white, on poles, each above an offering bowl. Out of each of these she took cuttings, in circles or in the shape of flowers, and each of these pieces were placed lovingly into these bowls. She describes the process as one of meditation, discovery, and conversation with her ancestors. Perhaps akin to conversations one has with family or within oneself over traumatic topics – there are holes, gaps, silences….there are pieces missing, from one’s family, from oneself. There’s damage, violation of these beautiful garments, just as there was violence inflicted on these families, to their dreams and their belongings….But those pieces that remained – like cut flowers, are now being honored.

Na Omi Judy Shintani – Deconstructed Kimono – 2011

On Native Land – Landscapes at the Tacoma Art Museum

How one curates an exhibit, whose voices, whose identities one decides to center can be an opportunity to heal wounds, hold conversations, and work toward justice. The curator of the Tacoma Art Museum took this opportunity when she developed the signage for how to show the Haub collection of American landscapes. Each painting featured a landscape of what was originally Native Land. Rather than paring each painting with a biographical card about the typically white artist from the 1800s, the curator Faith Brown consulted with local members of the Puyallup tribe to instead center the Native community that had inhabited that land. By describing each work of art as being part of an ancestral homeland of different Native peoples, providing the names of the fields, lakes, rivers, mountains in the languages of those that lived there, they were in a sense giving these landscapes back to the Native communties, giving them the voice and platform within the museum. It was a very powerful act to see, a decision that was moving, important and necessary. The names of the artist were still on the painting itself, but it no longer became necessary to center these names when there others voices needed uplifting.

A video of the virtual opening gives broader context to this exhibit and its aims to cultivate a compassionate and inclusive future.

I encourage everyone local to attend this in person, the exhibit presents a visceral space where one hears the voices of Indigenous people speaking their native languages while you view the landscapes and their accompanying description of who originally lived there and what these mountains and rivers were called. This juxtaposition when you are accostomed to otherwise seeing cards with artist and art historical notes is poignant and welcome.

Tacoma Art Museum provides also a link to additional resources for more information on Native Land and artists, filmmakers and writers working conceptually and strategically toward Land Back efforts and Tribal Sovereignty.

“Golden Time (Grand Tetons)”
This painting is of Tee-win-at (or Teewinot), meaning the Many Pinnacles, also known as the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.

Holdfast – Madeline Irvine – Georgetown Art Center

Holdfast – Dissolving Environments – 2/18/22 – 3/20/22

Named after “holdfasts” – root-like structures that secure giant kelp forests to the ocean floor, Madeline Irvine‘s exhibit celebrates these critical ecosystems that reach 175 ft high and feed young marine life around the world.

Holdfast is also a call to action a plea – with its sub-title “Dissolving Environments” it’s a warning of loss.
Every work of Irvine’s is an intricate constellation of tree-like or jelly-fish-like shapes formed by volcanic salts, inks, sea salts, and/or ash. Each is an opportunity for reflection and awareness, as we appreciate the inticate nature of each design and its materials, we meditate on the inter-connectedness of these forests that feed so much, provide oxygen to so much – in the face of climate change threats. How long will they hold fast? How long will we?

Running through Mar. 20, 2022 at the Georgetown Art Center

 816 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626-5827

Phone: +1 512 930 2583

Free admission
Tues – Sat, 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday, 1 pm – 5 pm
Closed on Mondays

Austin Studio Tour 2020 – Online and Outdoors

Big Medium‘s Austin Studio Tour had to change their format this year, due to Covid-19, but they launched gallery tours virtually and self-guided tours outdoors. As usual, the tour ran across two weekends, November 14 – 22, 2020 and combined both East and West Austin for a total of over 400 artists.

The online tour featured pre-recorded and live-streamed videos, it allowed visitors to safely explore studios online, listen to artists talk and offer demos, workshops, panels and performances. There were Q&A live streaming happy hours, ‘ghost phone tutorials’ on Zoom, and a conversation with an art therapist. Many of the artists discussed what it was like to be an artist during this pandemic, especially challenging and different for those doing collaborative art.

Alex Coronel’s studio

One of my favorites was the work by metal artist Valérie Chaussonnet, who salvalges discarded metal and transforms them into incredible pieces of art. Last year I saw her Japan inspired work in the Round Rock Downtowner Art Gallery.

The live stream events are over but you can still explore the Austin Studio Tour by artist, by artworks, virtual (for pre-recorded videos) or outdoor, and themed tours. For the outdoor tour they offer a map for visitors to safely guide themselves through the city to view sculptures and murals without interacting with the artists. The themed tours offer collections of artists featured by a local partner, such as the Austin Chronicle or a local brewery such as Thirsty Planet.

So while in 2020 it was not possible to crowd the streets and studios with beer or wine in hand, speaking face to face with artists and meandering through industrial hallways, this year’s digital format allows us to explore over 400 artists on our own time and maybe that’s actually really cool. I think there is a lot to gain from this method and hope that in future Big Medium employs this as a hybrid approach. It would help those whose transportation and time are limited, as well as those with accessibility issues. But honestly, I have never found it humanly possible to see hundreds of artists in two weekends, rain or no rain. I do however, miss the food trucks, wine and Sa-ten.

2020: Coming up for air, albeit with a mask

It’s been a year since my last post and there were many reasons for that. First was work, developing taxonomies and controlled vocabularies for machine learning related projects. Then Covid happened, so I couldn’t go out to museums and galleries. Then I had to become a learning coach for my teen who is taking multiple AP classes online. Add to this ongoing efforts to stay current on technology and knowledge management by taking webinars, reading books, and going to virtual conferences. On top of all that, the hot mess that was American politics. It is Dec. 1st and I have finally come up for air – albeit with a mask.

I will do my best to re-cap and document the beta launch of Austin’s EAST online studio tour in a second post. It happened a couple weekends ago and unfortunately overlapped with an online conference so I was not able to attend in real time, but I will do my best to document for posterity.

After this I will try something new. All this time I have been tracking and posting links on Twitter for a variety of topics: online museum resources, digital humanities, digital preservation, open access courses, ethical AI, Asian visual culture and literature, taxonomy, ontology, linked data, and more. I’d like to attempt once a week to compile and curate these into newsletter type posts.

Once a month I will do my best to safely find a way to go out and look at art and review it. I will perhaps also make a post once a month looking at what local exhibitions are currently open for view and will share safety notes and tips, as well as share what online resources are available for those wanting to stay at home.

I will also work toward making occassional posts promoting resources and options for those wanting to live a more eco, sustainable, plastic-free lifestyle as that is top of mind as well.

I’d like to also share and promote local, small businesses in featured posts, pulling in photos from my Instagram account.

2021 will begin in just one more month – and I am feeling very hopeful that we will get past all this.