This weekend I spent many hours working at our new Olympia All Ages venue called Northern. Northern will be home to a gallery and all purpose mixed use space for concerts, happenings, workshops, dances and anything else we can think of or the community proposes.  Since July, I’ve been involved in Oly All Ages event promotion and organization. However, as a working board member, my official position is Gallery Coordinator.  I hope this is the first of many arts related non-profit ventures I’ll be involved with over the course of my life. I’ve waited until the space was actually confirmed and we began working on it to quietly announce a call for artists. Ahem.

The space has been vacant for over two years so needless to say, we have a lot of work to do. We tore out old cabinets, shelving and countertops last weekend. In its previous lives, the building was used as a glaze & fire pottery studio, a day care, and a jewelry boutique. In places, the ceiling is falling due to water damage. We’re currently battling a mold infestation and we have to frame and hang Sheetrock because the walls literally belong to the building next door. Because of the state of disrepair, we got a marvelous deal on rent. However, we still have plan on having 10+ shows a month to actually get this off the ground. The capacity for the space is 150, which is a large sized show in Olympia. Believe it or not, there are no dedicated music venues or contemporary art galleries in town so we’re filling both those voids. We have an assembly license. We’re a certified non profit. The board is comprised of a  collection of connections so if anyone in town could make this venture successful, it’s this particular group of people. For large shows, we’ll rent out The Loft, as seen a few posts below, and still promote it as an Olympia All Ages event.

The gallery will be traditional in appearance, yet alternative in philosophy. Work in the gallery can’t be overly precious (it will remain up throughout all performances, from punk to folk) or priced out of our market ($200 – $500). I want to show art that is contemporary, colorful (interpret as you will), thought provoking and beautiful. I want young people to look at art and contemplate what that seemingly simple three letter word means and can mean. I want to introduce Olympia to underrepresented regional artists and import other region’s underrepresented regional artists. We’re booked through May, which is good as I’m sure we’ll be getting the lighting and presentation issues worked out. Northern opens in early March.

Northern is a project space, a thought bubble, a moment in time.  How will you define your moment?

Photos taken between 11am and 5pm, Sunday February 1st.





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