Urban ArtWorks + Sci-Fi Writing Contest


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Urban Art Murals:

Last week, I attended a press conference at the site of the former Greyhound Bus maintenance shop at Denny and Pontius, celebrating new art murals bordering the planned City Light substation there. The substation is needed to handle increasing demands for electricity in South Lake Union, Uptown, Denny Triangle, and First Hill. Click on Denny Substation to learn more about it.

An interesting aspect of these murals is the organization that produced them: Urban ArtWorks. Not only do they provide attractive art for otherwise dismal construction sites, they exercise social justice by paying at-risk youth, along with local artists, to create the work. Stephanie Tschida, Urban ArtWorks executive director, tells me over 70% of those at-risk youth – those in our juvenile justice system – who complete an Urban ArtWorks project do not re-offend.

Nick (far right) with some of the mural artists and their probation counselors

For the Denny Substation project, Urban ArtWorks reached out to the Cascade neighborhood, inviting them to participate in Urban ArtWorks’s ‘Community Painting Days’, during which they transported several panels, paint, and youth interns and artists to work on the panels at the Cascade People’s Center. Neighbors from ages 2 to 80 pitched in.

The founder of Urban ArtWorks, Mike Peringer, published a book about the organization titled “Good Kids: the Story of Artworks,” which is being made into a film.

Sci-Fi Writing Contest for Youth:

Speaking of writing, last year I served as a judge for the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story writing contest. I enjoyed reading all kinds of wild and crazy stories from some very imaginative kids.

On Friday, March 1st, the winners of this year’s contest will be announced. EMP received 111 submissions this year – more than double than in previous years. On April 20th, an awards ceremony will be held at EMP in the afternoon. Contest winners will be invited to participate in workshops at Jack Straw Productions on writing and vocal coaching and will take part in a recording session to produce an audio version of their winning entry. Winners will also read excerpts from their stories in EMP’s Sky Church during the awards ceremony held in April.

Check EMP’s website for more information.

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