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Mural Opportunity – Call for Artists

8 May

skybrdige 3

Spaceworks Tacoma is partnering with the Downtown Tacoma Business Improvement Area (BIA) to find an artist or artist team to beautify a downtown icon in need of a facelift!

The location is in the skybridge over Commerce Street connecting the Park Plaza North Parking Garage (923 S. Commerce) and Transit Plaza/Theater on the Square (917 Broadway).  This consists of the two interior walls, each roughly 85-feet long and 3-feet tall. Continue reading

What Happened? New Artscapes Mural

10 Feb

A call to participate…


A new public artwork has popped up on one of the last remaining HAPPENINGS kiosks at the corner of 13th and Market in downtown Tacoma. The work invites you to visit where you will find the following prompt: Continue reading

2016: Year in Photos

29 Dec

2016 quickly ramped up to be an exciting ride of cultural activities and business opportunities, bringing many new things. Spaceworks had a landmark year! We doubled the capacity of our Creative Enterprise program, invited the public to ‘Fish Tank’ where entrepreneurs made business pitches to a panel of experts, launched the Spaceworks Gallery on the corner of 11th & Commerce, hosted our 1st inaugural auction/fundraiser NEON, and added 3 new staff members!  This look back at the many events in which Spaceworks took part shows a very active year. Tacoma is what we make it, let’s keep making it vibrant.

Artscapes Span Delicate Deer to Monotonous Mechanics

21 Sep

“Looking forward, Looking backward”, an installation by Eva Funderburgh. Courtesy photo

In a departure from the clever, fantastical creatures she coaxes out of smooth mounds of clay, Eva Funderburgh used tree branches and chicken wire to shape the forest animals in her new installation, Looking forward, Looking backward, at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th and Broadway, through Nov. 17, 2016.

In this installation, two “deer-like creatures” face each other from opposing windows. “They can be interpreted either chronologically, as childhood and adulthood, or as parent and child,” said the Seattle-based artist. The figures are separated by an insurmountable outdoor space, which adds poignancy to either reading.  The forms are molded from chicken wire “with branches woven through the wire to give them more substance and a ‘sketched’ look.” The openness of the wire allows overhead light to pass through the bodies creating interesting skeins of shadows on a white backdrop. Inside the bodies, dark blue spheres made from plant material add color and depth.


Art by Eva Funderburgh. Courtesy photo

“My work deals with the overlap of humanity and the natural world,” said Funderburgh. “I use my simple, emotive animal forms to examine human motives and emotions. Humans are animals, and as animals they are part of nature. Guided by this idea, I seek insight into the human condition from sources as diverse as animal fables and biology textbooks.” An accomplished sculptor in clay and bronze, she animates the curious figures she makes with a unique sense of movement and an often humorous emotionality.

Funderburgh attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Art, with focuses in chemistry and sculpture. In Seattle, she is part of the crew on two local anagama kilns, Santatsugama and Ochawangama. In 2006, she teamed up with five other artists to create Florentia Clayworks, a cooperative clay studio. She is an instructor in the Foundry program at Pratt Fine Arts Center, where she explores a fascination with patinas that began with her studies in chemistry.


“Toothybeast Movement Study” by Eva Funderburgh. Courtesy photo

In 2010, Funderburgh spent five weeks as an artist in residence at the Guldagergaard Center for Ceramics in Skaelskor, Denmark. The experience inspired her to expand both the scale and complexity of her work. It also renewed an interest in installation art; today, she counts a permanent installation in a Seattle school, and temporary works in galleries and a museum, to her credit. Spaceworks is proud to introduce her large-scale art to Tacoma.

• • • • •

Near Funderburgh’s installation on Broadway, a new film short by Isaac Olsen is playing at the Tollbooth Gallery. Machine Loop depicts machinery and motion in a bold, visceral, repetitive display. Weirdly – hypnotically – the power of the film lies in its monotony; one just can’t stop watching to see whether the loop of the title is a closed one.


Image from “Machine Loop” by Isaac Olsen.

Machine Loop is on display at the world’s smallest gallery through Nov. 17th, 2016.
 Olsen uses an original score and animation, and has applied graffiti-esque painting around the outside of the Tollbooth kiosk. He is a Tacoma-based filmmaker, documentarian, animator and pragmatist whose films include Ich hunger (2013), and Strictly Sacred: The Story of Girl Trouble (2014).  -Lisa Kinoshita

Check out “Looking forward, Looking backward” by Eva Funderburgh, and “Machine Loop” by Isaac Olsen, at S. 11th & Broadway through Nov. 17, 2016.



“Machine Loop” grumbles on inside the Tollbooth, the world’s smallest gallery. Spaceworks photo


Wayzgoose Steamrolls Into the Woolworth Windows

19 Sep

IMG_5209Giant steamroller prints from the 12th Annual Tacoma Wayzgoose Festival are on view in the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th and Broadway in downtown Tacoma through Nov. 17, 2016.


Artwork by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary. Spaceworks photo

So, what is a wayzgoose, and what is a steamroller print, you ask? According to Wikipedia, “Wayzgoose was at one time an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St. Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). It marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight.” The date is significant: “On August 24, 1456 the printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed, perhaps triggering the very first wayzgoose party at Fust–Schöffer shop in Mainz [Germany].”

A less formal guild of Tacoma print artists has updated medieval tradition with their annual letterpress and book arts festival held at King’s Books. A highlight of the weekend event, founded by Jessica Spring (Springtide Press) and bookstore owner sweet pea Flaherty, is making steamroller prints where artists carve 3′ x 3′ linoleum and print on huge sheets of paper using a steamroller as a printing press. The event was designed to showcase the paper arts and to get the public interested and involved in handprinting and bookmaking.


Artist Brian Hutcheson pays tribute to author Dashiell Hammett. Spaceworks photo

Artists participating in the 12th annual Wayzgoose included Brian Hutcheson, CLAW, Maggie Roberts, Chandler O’Leary & Jessica Spring, Candy Teeth Creative, Charles Wright Academy, Carrie Foster, Chris Sharp, Beautiful Angle, Katie Dean and Stadium High School. The art on display pays tribute to writers including Dashiell Hammett and Frank Herbert. Check out this fab exhibition and see just what those printmakers are up to when burning the tallow at both ends!

The 2016 Wayzgoose Festival posters are on view at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th and Broadway through Nov. 17, 2016.

Waiting for the Big One

17 Sep



A previous Spaceworks post noted the circus-sideshow atmosphere of the current political season, and the resultant shock-and-awe effect upon voters, including artists. Ashflow, an installation by Nola Avienne at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th and Commerce, taps into the zeitgeist. Her artwork, depicting a sculptural volcano and “still life of a pyroclastic eruption” isolates the moment before catastrophe (political, social, ecological – take your pick) strikes.


“Ashflow” by Nola Avienne.

Ashflow portrays the unreal stillness just before disaster hits, the moment of heightened senses when minute details are perceived,” said Avienne. “This volcano portrait includes impact craters, the slow advance of Pahoehoe lava, [the] vertical thrust of volcanic strata, and the rain of ash holding its breath for a brief second.” Her use of ugly, blatantly artificial materials such as construction spray foam, packing tape and panty hose amplifies the work’s sense of havoc, and its meta-distance from unalloyed nature. “Still life with volcano encompasses the experience of danger at a distance becoming beautiful,” she explained.

I choose materials that evoke a visceral response, suggesting seduction, repulsion, fragility or protection. I thrive on the alchemy of chance, unpredictable occurrences in materials that allow the environment of a work to emerge.”


“Circles of Square” by Nola Avienne. Courtesy photo

Avienne’s previous work has included fascinating experiments with mediums such as magnets and blood. Her series with magnets, especially, evokes a sense of wonder at the powerful, unseen properties of nature. These sculptures, covered in amazing, fur-like pelts of iron filings, have a harmonious sensibility absent in the manmade disaster of Ashflow.

“In my studio practice, my work has developed progressively through the investigation and negotiation of the tensions between art and science, chaos and order, humor and discomfort,” she said. Centuries ago, the poet William Blake described such creative tensions poetically, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: “Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate are necessary to Human existence.”


“Hairpiece for Bjork” by Nola Avienne. Courtesy photo

Like artists before her, Avienne explores these polarities seeking how and where synthesis and transformation occur. This election season, with its pitched battles between news and entertainment, political process and vaudeville, offers no shortage of material.  – Lisa Kinoshita

Ashflow is at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th & Commerce, through Nov.17, 2016. See more of Nola Avienne’s work at



August Tacoma Art Walk: Spaceworks Highlights

17 Aug

Sense of Place a Group Postcard Exhibition

5-11:20pm at 1120 Creative House

Sense of Place: A Group Postcard Exhibition

(1120 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA)

“Sense of Place explores personal and cultural histories within the context of individual lived experiences of living in the Pacific Northwest.”

Featuring works by Thomas Brown, Raychelle Duazo, Eileen Eddleman, Haley Haines, Lee Heath, Krista Johnson, Cam Kristenson, Ashley Lindsay, Erika Ray, Vyra Saran and Amanda Small. Continue reading

Tacoma is a Rubik’s Cube

31 Dec

“Sides of the Town”: Thomas has transformed a T-shirt and sticker design into an art installation at the Woolworth Windows. Courtesy photo

Tacoma resembles a Rubik’s Cube to artist Dion Thomas. Like the world’s most popular 3-D puzzle whose colorful parts can be twisted into different configurations until it becomes a unified whole, Thomas sees his hometown as an entity thrumming with diversity, but capable of embracing “solidarity and individuality simultaneously.”


Artwork by Dion Thomas

Thomas’s vision of Tacoma is on view in an art installation called “Sides of the Town”, at the Woolworth Windows through March 17, 2016. His project focuses on six Tacoma neighborhoods: Eastide, Hilltop, Northend, Southend, Northeast and University Place, and the way these sectors relate to and also differ from one another as the city changes and grows.

“The intention of the piece is to show how dynamic, diverse – and at times polarizing – Tacoma is,” Thomas says. The six neighborhoods are portrayed through “representations of food, clothing and shelter…the most basic of human needs,” as well as recognizable signifiers from each area such as historic memorabilia and photographs. Displayed side by side inside the confines of a 20′-long window, each geographic slice’s unique distinctions jack up the richness of the whole.


Artist Dion Thomas

Thomas brings broad street-level knowledge of the city to the project. In addition to being an artist and videographer, he is a well-known community activist, and a youth mobilization specialist for the non-profit organization, Safe Streets. Previously, for a Spaceworks Creative Enterprise project he founded the Gallery of Ambition, a vibrant urban showcase for young artists and fashion designers in the Theater District. “Shoot the T”, a photographic competition sponsored by the gallery, invited the public to show their best shots of Tacoma and drew 2,500 submissions.

At the Gallery of Ambition, Thomas’s spot-on instincts as a designer emerged in a line of much-coveted, limited-edition T-shirts and hats that celebrated Tacoma’s diamond-in-the-rough persona. It was one of these boldly graphic designs, the black-and-white “Sides of the Town” tee that spawned the current project. He hopes the concept strikes a chord: “Whether you were born, raised or just moved here, it is important to claim Tacoma as your own….No matter what side [you’re from], it’s all the same town.

“Tacoma is just like a Rubik’s Cube because it is always changing and we are still trying to figure out how all the parts fit together.”  -By Lisa Kinoshita

Dion Thomas at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th & Broadway, through March 17, 2016.


Sidewalk Dance Films at the Tollbooth

27 Dec

Wraparound graphics created for the Tollbooth Gallery. Art/photo: Jeffrey Curtis

Jeffrey Curtis has been described as “a choreographer who works with video and a video artist who works with movement.” In Sidewalk Dance Films, a project commissioned by Spaceworks Tacoma for the Tollbooth Gallery, he takes both dance and video out of context and into the street.

photo by Kris Crews _IMG_9919

Video dance performances made-to-measure for a miniature theater. Photo by Kris Crews


For those not familiar, the Tollbooth is an outdoor kiosk in downtown Tacoma that continuously screens artist videos and animation for pedestrian viewing pleasure. Through March 17, 2016, it is featuring a loop of contemporary dances made by Curtis, with a fresh collection appearing every two weeks. Some of these “sidewalk dances” are set outdoors in appropriately gritty urban environments, such as between the graffiti-covered columns of a concrete bridge. If you live, work or play downtown, break up your day with a free dance performance courtesy of this talented artist. Continue reading

Transforming advertising pulp into public art

24 Dec

An Elizabeth R. Gahan art installation. Photo courtesy of the artist

With not a flake of snow on the ground you can still take in a winter wonderland by heading down to the Woolworth Windows to see Elizabeth R. Gahan‘s beautiful geometric installation with colorful pinwheels of airborne, origami-like forms. Continue reading

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