Seattle’s cultural innovators of 2020 | Crosscut

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This pandemic stunned the art world-these ideas stunned them.

 Dancers performing behind the windows to perform "break-in" dance performances; the development of plywood art by artists such as Cady Bogart (aka @thequeencity); flexible posters of Monyee Chau in Seattle's Chinatown-International District; and local fashion design Teacher Erika Dalya Massaquoi, they are dedicated to making masks. There is no shortage of creativity in 2020. (Devin Muñoz; Daniel Spils; Dorothy Edwards; Victoria Kovios)

2020 is a critical moment, not just a dance company. As the coronavirus reduces cultural close contact, various arts organizations must keep their toes (and feet) to tide over economic and artistic difficulties. They maintain the participation of audiences and artists by proposing clever methods, while supporting greater interests. In the process, many creators have proposed creative solutions, and in some cases new methods of making and consuming artworks. The following are some of the innovations and innovators we hope to persist.

One of the most obvious things we have all done is actually face to face? Wear a mask every day. At the beginning of the pandemic, a group of enterprising local craftsmen and laid-off clothing manufacturers did not wait for the arrival of the mask. In response to the severe shortage of personal protective equipment on the medical front, Seattle craftsmen convened in the virtual sewing world

To the local homeless and other organizations. Since March last year,

Facebook Group (now a non-profit organization called Crafters United) has distributed more than 100,000 cloth masks to approximately 150 local organizations and groups, including the Seattle vaccine trial at Fred Hutch, Monroe Correctional Complex and Yakima Immigration Farm worker-

With the popularity of masks,

Hugging face covering,

. Even the art world, which is usually in a leading position in terms of new trends, has joined the trend. This fall, the new museum museum

The exhibition is called "Mask Parade".

Since March, local fashion designer Erika Dalya Massaquoi has sold thousands of masks made of African wax fabric Ankara. (Victoria Corvios)

2020 has brought many surprises. For me, one of them is to find myself crying in my parked car while a man in yellow clothes is dancing with a balloon above the windshield. By that time (early May), the Seattle performing arts venues had been closed for several weeks, the artists did not perform, and the audience was eager to appreciate art off-screen. 


, The latest dance experiment of a local company

, In April and May. Guided by the pins on the map and the downloaded soundtrack, the audience traveled through the city to a series of unusual performance venues. Once parked,

The dancers use their own balcony, yard and windows as a stage. Since then, producers Leah Crosby and Danielle Doell have staged the latest version of the show (one of the dancers performed a dynamic pas de deux with her indoor plants). Pay close attention to their

New materials for 2021. 

On August 3, 2020, local dance company Whim W'Him performed a pop-up performance at Seward Park in Seattle. Dancers raised their hands to the sky. (Matt M. McKnight / Crosscut)

In summer, the local dance company Whim W'Him brought 

. in


The dancers marching at a distance of 6 feet are a technique to ensure that the audience does not gather-the dancers rotate, rotate, hide, and jump, as the park visitors arrive. 

We also caught a glimpse of the inner world of the dancers: literally their houses,

 All in the name of dance class (from


), rehearsal and performance at home. Pacific Northwest Ballet staged a highlight clip of the cancelled performance

Dancers perform alone in apartments, corridors and outdoor venues, wearing sweat and street clothes. 

PNB, Whim W'Him and

Also took advantage of the opportunities under the stage

. Thanks to the 360-degree close-up lens, surprising position and powerful photographic effects, 

, So that more people can appreciate dance, and brings new hope for the art form, we hope this form can continue to exist.

Seattle's dance church is one of many dance classes that switched to an online streaming model this spring. (Alaa Mendili)

By mid-March, the number of cancellations of concerts due to the ban on gatherings increased sharply, turning into an avalanche. The sudden loss of work has brought huge economic losses to musicians who rely on live performances.

Some local organizations are determined to help artists climb out of the snowdrift through live concerts. Seattle Music and Events Non-Profit Organization

Launched a series called "Virtual Concert"

Help musicians make up for lost income. As a crosscutting contributor

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, living room concerts (some with virtual "donate" buttons) flourished. 

From anyone who wants to listen from anywhere, browsing the countless options is like looking at one


On Sunday morning, Marimba’s concert will move us so much (her "

"(By the way, it's still done once a week).

go with

Playing with his guitar every day (and once a week thereafter) for 2.5 months, benefiting various local organizations in the process. Local pianist


When Seattle musician Tomo Nakayama promoted his new record, 

, Online. Local musician Gordon Brown makes his debut


, And then created by a group of artists"

. "

There are local musicians and the singing of birds as a new accompaniment. 

But the fastest and most impressive music hub is provided by a 117-year-old institution:

, Proved his pioneering power by playing previously recorded concerts for free after the coronavirus prevention measures were launched. When the pandemic first closed the doors of Benaroya Hall on March 11, the symphony developed rapidly and played a previously recorded Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

Day Two-The first of many free live broadcasts. 

In September, the symphony once again caused a sensation.

The corkscrew is unbeatable:

. Art and culture editor Brangien Davis (Brangien Davis) talked about the feeling of listening to Mozart's "Don Giovanni Overture".

This is a small but impeccably dressed orchestra performing on stage, sheltered and separated by 6 feet in front of the 2500 empty seats in the auditorium.

Motto "Always new and new again"

This year's film industry. 

Even the already very old local video rental store Scarecrow Video entered the old school by testing "new" in the early stages of the pandemic.

(As our culture and arts editor described it: "

") also made a comeback.

From the high-end Canlis restaurant’s parking lot to the lower-level performing arts organization On the Boards in Queen Anne, the organization held a four-day film festival in October. 

Speaking of film festivals, small and smart

After the outbreak of the pandemic, the program quickly moved online to film festivals where the program was produced and various ticket purchases. Rana San, the artistic director of the NW Film Forum, recently told me via e-mail that this made "see The number of spectators for "niche and regional festivals" has doubled. 

Vivian Hua, the executive director of the forum, the team hopes that even after reopening its actual Capitol Hill space, its programs will remain online. 

"We have learned that there is a need for highly curated shows outside of Seattle, and the virtual cinema provides access to certain people who may not be able to go to the cinema easily," Hua added. In a recent email. 

The focus of the Northwest Film Forum seems to have paid off. The influential Sundance Film Festival recently announced that it has selected the small Capitol Hill non-profit organization as the sole Washington State partner for the 2021 edition of the festival to promote customized local programming (lectures, events, artist meet-ups) and New movie screenings. 

The writer may be known for her seclusion, but in 2020, the literary world of the entire community will merge together-writing and reading are alone together. 

Washington State Poet

Let people submit poems that isolate them from the world. As Seattle

Moved from it

, Attendance has soared. Ticket sales increased fivefold in its first online conference,

, As well as famous guest authors and

Hugo House also successfully turned to virtual literary gatherings. Although shiny

The residence on Capitol Hill is still empty, and the beloved literary center helps many writers stand out from the hands of writers

happy hour. 

It has also proven popular in Hugo House: brand new

A series with Rebecca Agiewich (now led by the poet Naa Akua); and a collaboration with the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Writers’ Organization for an hour "Write With" conference, which is a free essay writing circle for all ages and genres. In both cases, local authors will tease and leave space for personal writing, and participants can share the results in a “mutually supportive and welcoming environment”.

. Long-term customers picked up books on the side of the road (online ordering sometimes comes with some sweet support), participated in virtual reading and collectively signed a literary subscription box. 

Karen Maeda Allman of Elliott Bay Books recently added: “The authors have also been very, very supportive of us, ordering books from us and connecting with their followers on social media.” She mentioned Jeff Vandermere (Jeff Vandermere) Signing postcards on special messages for customers, Maria Semple gave out bookstore gift vouchers on her social media, as well as gifts such as Molly Wizenberg, Pam Mandel (Pam Mandel) )with

People are urged to order books through stores. 

Virtual author events are also becoming more and more popular. Seattle Arts & Lectures is very grateful for "forced" digital innovation. People with disabilities and people with bookworms in their homes can now listen to lectures with people from anywhere in the world. In addition, Rebecca Hoogs, deputy director of the organization, said: “We heard that if BIPOC audiences don’t need to attend traditional white gatherings, they might feel more comfortable participating in SAL activities.”

One, perhaps an unexpected benefit: a new type of intimacy that is not available in huge places. "The audience and the author face to face. The audience is a witness who speaks or two people talk. You can see every facial expression. The strange (and wonderful) is almost a more vulnerable space," Hoggs said. "Although we are far apart, the distance has been eliminated."

Crosscut Arts and Culture Editor Brangien Davis participated in a virtual silent reading gathering on Zoom this spring. (Daniel Spears)

The 3D magic of live theater has not been translated into computer screens, so 2020 becomes the year of ear theater. 

In Seattle, the coronavirus triggered

. As the venue is still closed, the actors are unemployed, the zoom event, the Sound Theater, Book-It Drama Theater, Seattle Shakespeare Theater, Fifth Avenue Theater, ACT and Seattle Public Theater staff are tired

, Is streamed over the Internet rather than the waves, including

, Native futurists

, Octavia E. Butler

And Himalayan musicals

The local performing arts organization further developed the audio creativity on the board of directors and proposed a series of 

As part of 

. With a stranger, I signed up for an hour’s phone call for questionnaires and acting sessions (we were asked to read lines and answer questions), which made me feel closer and farther away than ever before. In most cases, people are excited about the theater again. 

On the board, this was one of Seattle's most exciting performers this year: this small creative organization took on other artistic risks that the area had tried. In addition to phone performance, the company also carefully planned

(The final movie,


), and there are more exciting content, including

Designed by Seattle dance and visual arts team Zoe | Juniper.

This spring, Monyee Chau hung up her "disaster prevention poster" in Seattle's Chinatown International District. (Shibayashi Eaki)

This year COVID-19 has temporarily closed countless visual art venues, but the public can access paintings and sculptures more easily than ever. Suddenly, art was everywhere, even on the street. 

Yes: we are talking about

By local art group Vivid Matter on Pine Hill in the heart of Parliament Hill

 this summer. The murals that were quickly produced during the protest heat wave have been repainted to the end.

The transition from canvas to new medium also attracted countless artists

. (Most artworks are shot for future generations



Also went all out, thanks to the artist


and many more. 

Some artists digitized public works: The local duo Electric Coffin cast large balloons on the blank surface of the building with messages such as "We will not abandon you."

(Via your phone screen) into the sky. We believe that virtual public art will continue until 2021 and beyond. 

Artists who opened their art spaces during the pandemic (including

Located in Ballard, it is also the newest and smallest art space in King County: Sun Spot, a white box on a wooden pillar on the northern edge of Des Moines.

, And other galleries inspired by the pandemic: one gallery is purely for gram (Instagram only), and the other is broadcast live from a house in North Seattle via Twitch twice a week. 

On April 12, 2020, on Ballard Street in Seattle, artists painted murals in closed businesses. (Sarah Hoffman / Crosscut)

Also belongs to

: Many interesting virtual art viewing options popped up this year, including

Executive director Ben Heywood's collection (with a British accent and a way to talk about art completely) and "on time"

At the same time, some creatives even produced

 (Think about "The Sims", but for art). Based on Georgetown’s Studio e created a

In the first edition of the Seattle Deconstruction Art Fair, another key point of the coronavirus era is. Also view BAM


Local artist/curator CM Ruiz talked about the American intervention in Guatemala, which is like roaming the old Pioneer Plaza gallery space.

Last but not least: this year’s awards for most anti-establishment hubs go to the new archives.

It was launched before the pandemic. From the original contemporary artist's work to 

Weekly newsletter brings art news and cultural events directly to your inbox 

The advantage of the spin is that the choreographer became very creative during the coronavirus period. 

In COVID-19, choreographers provide culture on the roadside, so performers and audiences can be together.

Local manufacturers are creative and can deal with the shortage of first-line medical equipment for COVID-19.

With "Marrene's "Black Background"", the "Black Panther" star realized his long-term dream, appearing in the drama of local drama legend August Wilson.

The iconic Woodstock performance by Seattle musicians now resonates more than ever.

In the new book, Dean Spade of Seattle University emphasizes that organization and survival strategies are critical to future disasters.

Margo Vansynghel is a reporter at Crosscut, focusing on art and culture. Find her on twitter 

 Or send an email to 


Max Brooks' new novel has sparked a collision between technological optimists, pseudo-nature admirers, and Northwestern legendary creatures.

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