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We are here to stay.

This week, the members of Good Arts LLC, which owns our building, will be signing papers on a deal to puts preservationist group Historic Seattle at the helm. The original partners will remain involved, including Biscayne founder Jane Richlovsky and Steve Coulter, who will continue to drive the arts programming throughout the building.

This (as anyone who has lost creative space in a hot real estate market knows) is a big fucking deal. From the start, ’57 Biscayne has been about artists not whining but taking action. It took the first 5 years of ’57 Biscayne’s existence to make the Good Arts deal happen. Five years later, managing partner Greg Smith asked Jane and Steve to find a buyer for his share if they wanted to retain it as an arts building. They scrambled for a year and finally made the connection with Historic Seattle. It took yet another year to hammer out the Good Arts 2.0 deal which is being finalized this week. 

Historic Seattle is a Public Development Authority (PDA) with a mission is to preserve communities like ours and the buildings that contain them. Jane and Steve plan to leave their share of the building to Historic Seattle as a legacy with the provision that it remain a place of affordable creative space in perpetuity. 

The takeaway: ’57 Biscayne exists because a group of artists refused to believe the myth that they were passive victims to the changes in their city, and took action to secure their place in it. Our continued existence in the Good Arts Building demonstrates what is possible when people from different sectors—artists, developers, business people, preservationists—get out of their bubbles and work together. 

Please save October 1 for a building-wide celebration. It’s the 11th anniversary of ’57 Biscayne and we have much to celebrate.

Stay tuned for announcements about exciting arts developments elsewhere in the building!

Woman loading painting into hatchback behind decrepit building
Artist Dara Solliday moves out of 619 Western in 2011 on her way to greater things. Photo: Alan Berner

Historic Seattle, Good Arts LLC announce partnership

The community-based preservation organization Historic Seattle is teaming up with the current owners of the Good Arts Building, whose upper floors are home to ’57 Biscayne studios, to preserve the building and continue its mission as a hub for arts, culture and creative enterprises in perpetuity.

Historic Seattle’s board has given preliminary approval to an agreement to purchase a majority stake in the property.

The Good Arts Building, located at 110 Cherry Street, on the corner of First Avenue, stands at the north gateway to Seattle’s Pioneer Square Preservation District.

Historically known as the Scheuerman Block, it was designed by Elmer Fisher in 1889 for Christian Scheuerman and completed in 1890. Throughout the years, the building has been a hub of entrepreneurial, creative, and colorful endeavors.

The name “Good Arts” pays homage to “Good Eats,” a two-story diner once housed in its walls. The building has also been home to department stores, a cigar shop, jazz club, boxing gym, brothels, speakeasies and the original office of Washington Mutual Savings Bank.

In the 1970s, the basement housed the first gay and lesbian community center in Seattle, followed by the Skid Road Theatre, in which such local theatrical stalwarts as Kurt Beattie, R. Hamilton Wright, and Linda Hartzell produced original shows during the company’s 10 successful years.

In 2011, the building took on its current role, as a hub for the arts, when a dozen artists, evicted from the nearby 619 Western Building, established ’57 Biscayne studios on the second floor.

In 2015, Good Arts LLC—an unlikely collaboration of developer Greg Smith, artist Jane Richlovsky, theatre veteran Steve Coulter, and Cherry Street Coffee founder Ali Ghambari—purchased the building with the mission of preserving its artistic heritage and affordability to creative enterprises. The building now houses 27 artist studios, as well as Bad Bishop Bar, Saké Nomi, Beneath the Streets Tours and other small businesses.

“Since acquiring the building in 2015, Good Arts LLC has done an incredible job of providing affordable space for artists in Seattle’s most historic and artistic neighborhood, Pioneer Square,” said Kji Kelly, executive director at Historic Seattle. “Protecting community use of space is critical in this changing city.

“While landmarking and historic districts save places, mission-based ownership is what protects purpose. Our organization is dedicated to saving meaningful places that foster lively communities, so this partnership with Good Arts LLC is in perfect alignment with our mission,” Kelly continued.

“Too often artists’ cultural and economic contributions are rewarded with displacement from the neighborhoods they helped make interesting and vital,” Richlovsky added. “It’s rare that developers recognize that, and even rarer they step up to help.”

“Arts and culture are central to the historic fabric of Seattle and what makes Pioneer Square and our broader community unique and vibrant to this day,” said Urban Visions CEO and Good Arts partner Greg Smith. “Preserving this building and the artistic endeavors within was a personal passion of mine and I am thrilled to see Historic Seattle taking this step to ensure the building’s long-term uses will remain focused on fostering arts, culture and creativity.”

Now, Richlovsky, who has had a studio in Pioneer Square for 20 years, is looking forward to a new chapter.

“I’m really excited to take what we’ve built together and hand the reins to Historic Seattle. They get us,” she said. “I am planning to be here for at least 20 more.”

Good Arts partners Ali Ghambari, Greg Smith, Steve Coulter, and Jane Richlovsky stride purposefully into the future. (photo: Jesse Spring)

’57 Biscayne featured on Seattle Growth Podcast: Building Community

Last month Seattle Growth Podcast host Jeffrey D. Shulman chatted with ’57 Biscayne proprietrix Jane Richlovsky about how people find and build community in a changing city. There are two interviews in the episode; the first one is about New Tech Northwest, a community-building project of techies, which contains some ideas that people in the arts could benefit from, but if you want to skip to the ’57 Biscayne part, it starts at 33:44.

Jane was a guest on the show a few years ago, too, along with Good Arts partners Ali Ghambari and Greg Smith. They described how they came together from very different perspectives to create the wonder that is the Good Arts Building (and preserve the wonder that is ’57 Biscayne). Jeff had interviewed them separately and used the interview with Greg in one episode about real estate. He was about to scrap the rest, when the 2016 election happened. He felt like he really, really needed a heart-warming story of people setting aside their differences to work together to do good in the world—that’s us!—so he produced a Very Special Episode out of the outtakes.

Stay at ’57 Biscayne!

The Salon Rue de Cerise is open for business! There is now a lovely little getaway for visitors to Pioneer Square, a private suite tucked in amongst working artists’ studios. It even has its own exclusive art show, of affordable works by local artists, hung salon style (natch). All the art, and even the lamps, are for sale via an easy secure webpage, accessible to guests.

Best of all, the proceeds from the rentals will help keep all the spaces at the Good Arts Building affordable to artists and other creative enterprises.

The name is an homage to 27 Rue de Fleurus, where Gertrude Stein collected art and artists, supporting as-yet-unknown painters and fostering conversations at her weekly salons.  We hope to inspire visitors to do the same.

For booking information, go here.


The Good Arts Arcade: Creative retail & maker spaces for lease

On the rare occasions a space opens up at ’57 Biscayne, it is filled immediately, and we are always forced to turn away potentially awesome creative neighbors. Such is the demand for the diminishing supply of artists’ work space in Seattle (and most major U.S. cities). When Good Arts LLC formed to buy our building in 2015, it did so with the express purpose of creating new art space wherever and whenever it could. One space was built out of the second floor lobby in 2016, and now four additional spaces are being created in the downstairs storefront at 108 Cherry, which has been largely vacant (and playing host to pop-up art and music events) the past two years.

The Good Arts Arcade will consist of two retail spaces and two artists’ studios which share a street entrance and open onto a shared central gallery.

The Arcade will provide affordable space for the making, exhibiting, and selling of a range of creative goods, and foster a supportive community for the makers and sellers.

Flanked by the new Cherry Street Coffee House to the west, and the entrance to ’57 Biscayne Artist Studios to the east, Good Arts Arcade is perfectly situated for creative collaboration, fabulous combined events, and synergistic marketing opportunities. The location is well situated for foot traffic from the nearby light rail station, ferries, Pioneer Square park, and a planned streetcar stop at First and Cherry. A parklet will be installed on the street in front of the entrance, providing additional outdoor community space and a potential pop-up show venue.

We are seeking creative community builders–artists, gallerists, and human-scale retailers–to work, grow, and collaborate in the Arcade. Floorplan and prices here: GoodArtsArcade

Original Artists, the complete list, together for the first time

Here are the Original Artists who will be fabricating bands and album covers for the upcoming show, Original Hits by Original Artists:

Gabriel Campanario
Amanda James Parker
Jed Dunkerley
Kelly Lyles
Romson Bustillo
Paul E. McKee
Paul D. McKee
Eric Eschenbach
Dara Solliday
Savina Mason
Chris Rollins
Jeff Scott
Sandy Nelson
Jane Richlovsky
Rainer Waldman Adkins
Karin Bolstad
Marne Cohen Vance
Nia Michaels
Liz Ewings
George Abeyta
Paula Wong
Krisna Schumann
Sarah Dillon
Elizabeth Arzani
Henrietta’s Eye
Jeanie Lewis
Morgan Cahn
Nathan Vass
Matthew Potter
Megan Reisinger
Hadar Iron

THAT’S 33-1/3! (or thereabouts)

Original Hits by Original Artists: An Exhibit of TOTALLY FAKE Album Covers

R.I.P. the album cover, sort of. We said our goodbyes to that roomy square-foot of substantial cardstock, with its fantastic artwork — maybe by Warhol or Dali or Mapplethorpe —to name just a few. We also said our goodbyes to the hours of contemplation of the cover-art while the music spun on a nearby turntable, a unique synthesis of the aural with the visual with the tactile — a feast for the soul. Then the album cover was demoted in both size and importance, a mere afterthought of a booklet cover, encased in brittle plastic. Now stripped of its physicality entirely, it’s relegated to the ether where its low-rez pixelated remains live out their diminished existence barely visible on tiny hand-held screens. Until now! With LP sales now at a twenty-eight-year high, the album cover (both genuine and fake) is back!

Original Hits by Original Artists, opening May 4 right downstairs on the first floor of the Good Arts Building, will pay proper homage to the art of the album cover, both past and present—without the album. The exhibit features covers for dozens of fabricated albums cut by bands that exist only in the artists’ imaginations. The show will be on view May 4 – May 31, 2017 at 108 Cherry Street in the Good Arts Building (downstairs from ’57 Biscayne).

A Release Party and reception for the artists will be held First Thursday, May 4, 6:00 -10:00 p.m. followed by the Upstream Music Fest, May 11-13, when there will be actual live (if unrelated) music on site, programmed by Upstream during the run of the festival. One of a handful of free venues in the neighborhood, it will be open from 4-8 PM with music on May 11 and 12; and 1-8 on Saturday the 13th, with music from 4-8. The exhibit will also be open on the last two Fridays and Saturdays in May, from 1-6PM and by appointment.

Original Hits is curated by artist Jane Richlovsky of ’57 Biscayne which, incidentally, was named for a Joni Mitchell song lyric. For this show Richlovsky and fellow artist Dara Solliday invited approximately thirty-three and one third artists to unearth those long-forgotten catch phrases that had once sparked a reply of “That would make a great band name!” and then create a full-size old-school 12-inch LP album cover for this hypothetical hitmaker. Artists include Romson Bustillo, Kelly Lyles, Nia Michaels, Jed Dunkerley, Gabriel Campanario, and Richlovsky, showing fake album covers in paint, collage, repurposed tin, textiles, wood, and who knows what else.

About the venue: The Good Arts Building was purchased by an artist/developer partnership, Good Arts LLC, in 2015, with the mission of promoting the interdependent prosperity of artists and other neighborhood businesses and institutions. ’57 Biscayne Studios are located on its second floor.

“Ghosts of Flesh Avenue” on view downstairs

Guest artist and honorary Biscaynito Amanda James Parker has installed her video homage to peep shows of yore in the storefront beneath ’57 Biscayne studios. More here, at the Good Arts Building website.

Placiness in progress…

Savina Mason installs her magical purple site-specific piece in the former corporate Zen garden, while Jane Richlovsky hangs new lights. Placiness will debut in our unrecognizably-transformed lobby gallery on First Thursday, have extended hours through Art Fair weekend, and run through August 28. Twenty superb Seattle artists represent, reflect, and redefine their city.

Photo by Dara Solliday

Seattle Sketcher features ’57 Biscayne Artists

It’s been a week of viaduct stories in the Seattle media, including a resurgence of interest in the old 619 Western building, as in, “Say, whatever happened to those artists?”  Bertha the tunneling machine, for whose vibrations we were evacuated from the 619 five years ago, will be burrowing under the old homestead later this month, just a few years behind schedule.

Gabriel Campanario, the famous Seattle Times Sketcher, interviewed and, of course, sketched, Jane and Libby last week and featured our story in his column on Saturday. Perhaps taking Libby’s point that it might be a good idea to go easy on the nostalgia for a particular building and support artists wherever they are, he prominently featured our present digs, the Good Arts Building.