Arts Mailbox: Black Fret Seattle Announces 11 Grant Recipients, Frye Art Museum Director Steps Down, and More

SassyBlack, Black Ends and Acid Tongue are all 2021 Black Fret Scholarship recipients. Courtesy of Black Fret

You get $5,000! And you get $5,000! And YOU get $5,000! Today, the nonprofit organization Black Fret announced its latest round of grants (totaling $55,000) that will go to 11 Seattle-area bands to do with them: Acid Tongue , Beverly Crusher, Black Ends, Caitlin Sherman, Da Qween, Parisalexa, SassyBlack, Shelby Earl, Sol, True Loves and Zan Fiskum. The Austin-based nonprofit launched a chapter in Seattle in 2020 to provide financial assistance to local musicians. According to their press release, to date Black Fret has distributed over $150,000 in direct support to Seattle bands and artists. Their 2021 grant recipients would do a sick concert lineup. I’m just saying!


Yesterday was the closing of the State Legislature Finance Committee, meaning that if a bill did not pass either by appropriations in the House or by ways and means in the Senate, then it is probably dead. On Slog, we mainly followed two sets of bills dealing with the arts in Washington. The first set is House Bill 1647/Senate Bill 5530 regarding Washington’s Building for the Arts program, which currently provides a 20% match of project costs to cultural organizations that acquire, contract or renovate their facilities. The proposed legislation would increase the state’s match to 33.3% and raise the program’s cap to $18 million from $12 million. HB 1647 easily walked out of the chamber on February 2 and is now being read in the Senate. Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said in an emailed statement that the bill “has great momentum and I expect it to be adopted”. Hooray! More funding for the arts!

And the other set of bills we follow is House Bill 1914/Senate Bill 5760, which would increase funding for the state’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program from $3.5 million to $20 million per year. The committee cut did not apply to them because they are labeled “necessary for budget execution” (NITB). So! They always revolve around the Senate and the House. In the Senate, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Frockt, says they’re “working hard to get support” and know “there are a lot of members of the Ways and Means Committee, from both parties, who support do something here”. The main sponsor, Senator Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), said she would “remain a strong advocate for this legislation” and that “almost everyone knows that the Pacific Northwest is the stuff of movies “. Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), the bill’s primary House sponsor, had this to say about the state of affairs:

“The Bill to increase funding for the Film Competitiveness Program is not subject to cuts and after discussing it with Finance Representative Chair Noel Frame, I expect it will receive a public hearing in the coming weeks. This bill is alive and I know something about zombie bills (and zombies). The challenges ahead with this widely supported bipartisan bill to create and sustain jobs for our creative community and bring significant economic benefits to Washington are moving the bill forward with the level of funding requested.

He also included this photo of him making an appearance on SyFy Nation-Z– famously filmed in Spokane with support from the state’s Competitive Film Program – to really show he gets it:

Guess I should start watching Z-Nation now?

I guess I should start looking Nation-Z now? Courtesy of Representative Riccelli’s Office

According to the editorial board of the Seattle Times, what do arts institutions in Seattle need? More money, of course, but also more police resources. Ouch!

Joseph Rosa of the Frye Art Museum sets sail for other shores: After five years in the role, the director and chief executive of the First Hill Museum will step down once his contract expires on March 31. According to a press release announcing the news, Frye’s board will launch an ~international search~ for Rosa’s replacement with Chief Financial Officer Thomas Mitchell and Chief Curator Amanda Donna as interim co-directors. “I am incredibly grateful to have contributed to the legacy of this beloved museum,” Rosa said in a statement.

Some good news: Seattle-based comic book artist James the Stanton releases a glorious 272 pages of his epic Gnartoons comic book series with Silver Sprocket on March 23. And it’s a hardcover! Pre-order one of these bad boys here.

Phew: Adamma and Adanne Ebo Honk for Jesus. Save your soul.– which premiered at Sundance late last month – was eventually sold to Jordan Peele’s Focus Feature, Peacock and Monkeypaw Productions for $8.5 million, reports Variety. Read my review of the film here.

Seattle artist Preston Singletary’s exhibit opened last month at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC: The show is called “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight” and originally premiered at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma in 2018. This iteration of the famous Tlingit heritage glass artist will run until January 29, 2023 It “tells the story of how light was given to the world by the powerful and mischievous figure of Raven,” reports the Seattle Times. Gayle Clemens did a Q&A with Singletary last week, where they discussed the story behind the show and the relationship between light and dark.

And in other DC news: Jorge Zamanillo of the HistoryMiami Museum has been named founding director of the National Museum of the Latin American, reports ArtForum. The new museum was established by Congress in 2020 “to illuminate the history of the United States for the benefit of all by showcasing Latin American contributions to the nation’s art, history, and culture from its beginnings”. Zamanillo will step into the role in May.

Need a little laugh? Read about the debacle against Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ruth Asawa in March Architectural Summary presented his house.

Rain City Relief is having a party this Saturday at Easy Street Records in West Seattle to celebrate the release of their new vinyl compilation. It features songs from ten Seattle artists, including The Black Tones, Chong the Nomad and Smokey Brights. Rain City Relief is a benefit project between The Reef and the Seattle World Tour Foundation with the goal of raising $100,000 in direct financial support for Seattle-area musicians. According to a press release, 75% of record sales will go directly to artists, with the remaining 25% going to an ongoing Seattle musician relief fund. On Saturday, Beverly Crusher, Ariana DeBoo and All Star Opera will all perform in-store.


Mildred D. Field