Seattle Weekender: Japantown, Tieton, and Matisse

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend.
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Spam musubi

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend.

Nihonmachi Nite

From the late 1800s until the advent of World War II, an area of about 15 blocks around South Jackson Street and Sixth Avene was known as Nihonmachi (or Japantown). Japanese businesses flourished around the neighborhood (Dearborn Street was actually named Mikado Street) until Executive Order 9066, in reaction to Pearl Harbor, sent many Japanese residents to internment camps.

Nihonmachi never fully recovered and although many of its historic buildings remain, its cultural essence has dwindled. This is why many businesses around the area like Kobo and the NP Hotel are attempting to revitalize the Japanese feel of the area by holding Nihonmachi Nite, an annual celebration of historic Japantown.

The event will kick off with a Kiddie Kimono and Yukata Contest with a prize for the best matching parent and child. The Wing Luke Museum will be doing an hour long tour of old Japantown based on the book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Momo will celebrate Spam’s 75th anniversary with their Second Annual Spam-O-Rama Musubi Making Contest

If you go: the corner of 6th Ave S. and S. Main St., Aug. 11, 4:15 to 8 p.m. 

10X10X10XTieton Juried Art Exhibition 

Ed Marquand was riding his bike through Tieton, Wash. in 2005 when he popped both his tires. While repairing his bicycle in the center of town, he recognized immense potential in the empty buildings surrounding the town’s four blocks of storefronts.

Changes in the agricultural business over the past 50 years have caused small towns like Tieton to struggle economically. Marquand saw the need for a serious rethinking of how to develop neighborhoods, so he decided to convince his friends to travel to Tieton and start renovating the old warehouses into lofts and studios for artists to live and work in.

After bringing in several artists from Seattle and Portland, Marquand and his colleagues came up with an idea: Why not use art to revitalize Tieton? Since then, Tieton has grown. Over a dozen new businesses have opened up as artists and creative thinkers are flocking to live in studios in the old buildings Marquand saw opportunity in.

All the creativity which has been flocking into Tieton will culminate this weekend during the opening reception for the 10X10X10XTieton Juried Art Exhibition. The show will feature art, craft, print, and photography by over 100 different local artists.

If you go: Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 608 Wisconsin Ave., Tieton. Fri. through Sun. noon to 3 p.m, Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

Collecting Matisse

While on a trip to Paris in 1905, Etta and Claribel Cone met Picasso and Matisse through mutual friends Leo and Gertrude Stein. The two sisters were among Baltimore’s wealthy elite, thanks to their booming textile business, and could thus afford to be patrons of early advent-garde and modernist artists. 

Picasso, who was constantly in need of money, would sell them drawings and sketches for $2 or $3 apiece, all of which are worth massive amounts of money today. But their close friendship with Matisse is perhaps most remarkable. Over a span of 40 years the sisters bought art by Matisse, highlighting some of the most regarded periods of his career. 

They collected orientalist paintings by Gauguin and Cézanne, pieces from Picasso’s blue period, and even a few by Van Gogh. When they died, they left the collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art but for the first time, 27 of the best pieces will be on display in the Northwest (the Canadian part of the Northwest). 

If you go: Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C., daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Sunday till 9 p.m., May 26 to Sept. 30, $20, seniors and students $20

Ice Cream Ferry

If you’re looking for something to do on the water this weekend, the Seattle Ferry Service runs an Ice Cream Cruise every Sunday year round rain or shine (they boast that they even operate in the snow).

The cruise departs from S. Lake Union Park and entails a 45-50 minute tour of the Lake Union houseboats, Gas Works Park, and glimpses of Dale Chihuly’s studio and the boat featured in Sleepless in Seattle.

In addition to ice cream, they also have coffee, hot cocoa, and tomato soup. 

If you float: Valley St. and Terry Ave N., departs at 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:15 p.m., adults $15, seniors $14, kids $7, and under 5 $2

Vigil in commemoration of Wisconsin shooting

If we as a society have learned anything from the horrific shooting in Wisconsin last week, it is that we don't know enough about each other and that in order to learn more we must come together as a diverse community and transcend religious, ethnic, or any other difference. 

This is one of the reasons the Washington Sikh community is going to hold a vigil at Renton's Gurdwara Singh Sabha this Saturday night. The Sikh community, as well as people across the world, remain saddened by what happened in Wisconsin, which is also why the temple has invited people of all faiths and backgrounds to commemorate the victims. 

The program will include spiritual singing as well as presentations on Sikh faith aimed at educating the community about this very old religion. 

If you go: Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Washington, 5200 Talbot Road South, Renton, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., Aug. 11


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