Rain and Leaves, with Hints of Snow

Teen Editorial Staff November 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Disha Cattamanchi and Yoon Lee

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Welcome to the “Thursday” of the year! November isn’t exactly the Wednesday of the week, but it definitely isn’t Friday either. As we float towards the weekend of the year (December), the local arts scene too begins making the shift from fall to the holiday season. Various arts events of holiday spirit now coexist with cultural exhibitions that redefine the giving season, culminating in a Mariah Carey-esque thawing as the festive fun begins. So please you, enjoy yourself this November with productions of all kinds, holiday-themed or not!

Thanksgiving season is a time to reflect on our cultural identities, identifying how they will shape our futures. American Art: The Stories We Carry, an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, does just that, highlighting a diverse array of experiences that give new meaning to the term “American.” The exhibit opened on October 20th, and is a fun way to spark conversation with family and friends as you trudge about Seattle’s art scene in the remaining fall weather.

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Behind the Art of "Beyond the Mountain"

Review of Beyond the Mountain at the Seattle Asian Art Museum

Written by Teen Writer Olivia Qi and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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There’s a mountain of historical Chinese art, and many people are familiar with its loose inky style. But what lies beyond the mountain? The answers, present in the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Beyond the Mountain exhibit, are thought-provoking performance art, painting, photography, and multimedia installations. The exhibit is organized around five themes and five artists. The themes are combinations of a traditional motif and concepts gaining traction in the modern world, with names like ink/protest, artifact/culture, proverb/nature, landscape/cityscape, and landscape/escape. Beyond the Mountain shows how contemporary Chinese artists react to a modern world while staying rooted in tradition. Furthermore, it shows how their Chinese art breaks national boundaries, becoming internationally relevant in the face of globalization.

ink/protest

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Frights and Thrills for the Creative Spirit

Teen Editorial Staff October 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Esha Potharaju

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A rush of autumnal spirit thrums in the air. The transition from September to October is jarring—all of a sudden, the wind picks up, carrying the aroma of fall spices, and Halloween seems just around the corner. Throughout the local art scene, creative minds are preparing for this transition, setting up spooky productions of well-known favorites and spine-tingling selections of film and art that are sure to offer you a new vision into what the human mind is capable of creating. This October, seek out some new frights and thrills to get your blood pumping and rejuvenate your spirit, curated by the Teen Editorial Staff here at TeenTix.

If you’re eager to experience how the classic monster-laden iconography of Halloween manifests in the mind of Shakespeare, visit Center Theatre for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s taste of cackling witches and cold-blooded murder in their production of the world-renowned play Macbeth. If you’re riding on that wave of spooky theater but are looking for something a bit more lighthearted and punchy, drop by at Village Theatre to watch Little Shop of Horrors, based on the cult classic 1960s film of the same name. The show is jam packed with comedy, rock, romance, and carnivorous, borderline predatory plants.

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The Immersive World of MAGMA SLIT

Review of MAGMA SLIT exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Lily Fredericks and edited by Teen Editor Aamina Mughal

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Equal parts enthralling and bewildering, your queries will spiral as you immerse yourself in Donna Huanca’s MAGMA SLIT. Transporting the viewer from the mundane reality of Seattle traffic and tedious routine, Huanca provides a reprieve from the ordinary, casting the viewer into a cathartic land of discovery. Residing in the Henry Art Gallery, MAGMA SLIT consists of four expansive paintings depicting each season, bringing life to their formerly inanimate white backdrop. These paintings emerged from an array of digitally printed photographs from Huanca’s life, which were stitched together and transformed into the paintings. Huanca coated these foundations with vivid strokes of paint, hues primarily corresponding with their associated seasons: warmer tones depicting summer, cooler ones characterizing winter, and a flurried blend of both expressing the transitory seasons of spring and fall. Echoed with hints of life, these paintings display glimpses of the photographs of people and natural textures concealed within them, providing a real life connection between the audience and Huanca’s abstract world.

In the middle of the exhibit lies a stage. Down the center, a line of six steel sheets with alternating reflective and opaque sides create a transcendent mirror effect. This allows you to simultaneously view slivers of the paintings behind you, before you, and even catch glimpses of yourself. Cast against the vibrant settings of the paintings, viewers are further immersed in Huanca’s surreal world by becoming part of it. This deepens the viewer’s connection with the exhibit through encouraging them to relate Huanca’s pieces to themselves. Donna Huanca, Installation view of Donna Huanca: MAGMA SLIT, 2022, Henry Art Gallery, University of Seattle, Washington. Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit courtesy of the Henry Art Gallery.

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Windows and Mirrors Across the Seattle Art Scene

Teen Editorial Staff September 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Aamina Mughal

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As summer yields itself to autumn, a sense of renewal flurries in the air. For TeenTix, this manifests itself most literally in our new batch of TEDS (Teen Editorial Staff) and Newsroom writers, but we also want to consider the importance of increasing the range of stories we consume and how we consume them. Depending on your perspective, the events you’ll see reviewed on the blog this month can act as windows into experiences different from your own, as well as mirrors reflecting and representing voices that are too often left unheard.

Art has served as an outlet for marginalized communities, but the arts community has also historically suppressed these voices, making diverse perspectives inaccessible. We believe it is critical for teens (and all citizens) to see themselves represented in art and expose themselves to the experiences of others. As the school year starts back up, it is our hope that we continue this trend of renewal and are able to introduce a greater feeling of belonging in the arts scene.

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Announcing the Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color 2022 Summer Cohort!

Applications Open Now!

Summer Mentorship Grapic

TeenTix, in partnership with The Colorization Collective (a teen-run organization that promotes diversity in the arts) is excited to announce our 2022 Summer Cohort of our Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color (M-TAC) program. This program will specifically allow teen artists of color to hone their artwork under the guidance of professional mentors. This is a great way for teens to better their craft, build connections in the arts community, and present their art!

This mentorship is for teens interested in visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.), writing (poetry, creative nonfiction, etc.) and performing arts (musical theater, acting, etc.). Teens will be put into either a visual arts, writing, or performing arts cohort, and each group will be paired with a professional mentor of color to create or workshop a piece specifically for the program showcase.SCHEDULE:

The Summer M-TAC program will run from 10 AM to 1 PM PST on the following dates:

Wednesday, July 6

Wednesday, July 13

Wednesday, July 20

Wednesday, July 27

Wednesday, August 3

There will also be an hour-long showcase on Wednesday, August 10.

All meetings are conducted virtually, via Zoom. Teens receive a per-meeting stipend for their participation.

Teens in the M-TAC program will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops during the school year, as well as present their finished work during the TeenTix Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair in June of 2023.

APPLY NOW!

Applications are open now and close at 11:59 PM PST on April 30, 2022. Applicants must be ages 13-19 and a current TeenTix member to participate. (Not a TeenTix member yet? Don't worry - sign up for free right here!)

If you need assistance filling out this application, please contact Anya Shukla at colorizationcollective@gmail.com.

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The Arts are Blossoming this Month!

Teen Editorial Staff March 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Disha Cattamanchi and Valentine Wulf

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As the Seattle rains begin to let up–how much ever Seattle rains are capable of letting up– flowers are blooming and Spring is in the air, and so are a blossoming reprieve of arts events! The vibrant and vivid colors of March are glistening in all of our curated events this month, as you get to reimagine pop culture and history through an evolving, artistic lens.

If you’re a fan of fairy tales, come see how Seattle Children’s Theatre puts a new spin on a classic Grimm story with Red Riding Hood. In this adaptation of the iconic red-caped heroine’s tale, a mysterious delivery driver questions the integrity of world-renowned actor Wolfgang, sparking a wild adventure. In Teenage Dick at Seattle Repertory Theatre, another classic, Shakespeare’s Richard II, is reimagined as a twisted, modern high school revenge tale.

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Where Digital Media and 19th Century Art Meet

Review of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Vincent van Gogh’s oil paintings are well known and honored by almost everyone who knows anything about art. It’s well known that his struggles with mental illness impacted his art. In a rented warehouse on Occidental Street, Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience displays art in a way that makes it accessible to a modern audience using digital enhancements to warp his work into a dynamic performance that captivates viewers.

Near the entry, a summary of Van Gogh’s life hangs next to a sculpture of his head. The figure holds a projection of Starry Night that looks as if it’s growing onto the figure. Having a three dimensional Van Gogh head as the canvas for a two dimensional oil painting beautifully displayed the depth behind Starry Night and showed how Van Gogh saw the stars. Though creative and captivating, the display raises the question: Does this display change his intent behind his original creation? Is this an expression of Van Gogh or the current creators of the exhibit? Photo by Dan Swartz for Exhibition Hub & Fever

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Stand in Community, Solidarity, and Love

Review of Community Spread at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Written by Teen Writer Ava Carrel and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

We Are In This Together C ID mural part of mural painting campaign that grew up after C ID businesses were boarded up in June 2020 Photo by Tony Ngo

Warm. That was how I felt leaving the Community Spread: How We Faced a Pandemic exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum. After spending a while freaking out about driving on I-90 for the first time, I walked through Capitol Hill, shivering and stuffing my hands in my pockets. Yet, when I pulled open the door to the museum, I was embraced with warm air and excited smiles.

The Wing Luke Museum is in a special spot. It could’ve been built by the Gates Discovery Center, or in Bellevue, but it’s in the International District right near Chinatown. The proximity to the Asian community that the museum honors is an important part of the experience. Walking up to the museum you pass an Asian grocery store, selling fresh dashi stock, durians, and pulled noodles. When I crossed the street, two bundled up elderly Asian women walked past me with arms full of groceries. It’s important that the museum wasn’t built in more developed neighborhoods. The museum isn’t white-washed and doesn’t pander to the desires of those more privileged. The diverse International District neighborhood creates a rich environment for the Wing Luke Museum.

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An Artful End of the Year

Teen Editorial Staff December 2021 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Disha Cattamanchi and Lucia McLaren

Dec editorial

It’s that time of year when you look back and wonder where all the months have gone. Just yesterday it seemed like everyone was cheering at 2020’s end, and here we are now, just a month away from 2022. There are many things to be thankful for this year, but there are also many ways to celebrate this new beginning. TeenTix hopes to offer a sampling of all types of nostalgia and anticipation this holiday season, so come and join us in seeing some truly magical art.

Has COVID and all-virtual gatherings been making you miss that spark of connection with others? Then you should come see The Future is 0, a live show at On the Boards that promises to keep the audience on their toes with satirical commentary and a unique twist on a game show format. It seems like improv is everywhere this month—we’ll also be covering Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas at Jet City Improv, a show where your favorite family memories will be retold, live, with a comedian’s twist.

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The Movement of Identity at Archive of Longings

Review of Diana Al-Hadid: Archive of Longings at the Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Aamina Mughal and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

DAH AOL Credit Timoty Doyon

When you walk into Diana Al-Hadid’s Archive of Longings, you are greeted by what appears to be a block of glittering ice—you’ll later learn that this mountain-like sculpture is called “Gradiva”. The thirteen sculptural pieces speak, in the most genuine way, to the different ways that the female identity can present itself. The “block of glittering ice” alludes to the title character from Wilhelm Jensen’s novella Gradiva, who was famously analyzed by psychologist Sigmund Freud. Gradiva became known in the world of surrealist art as “the woman who walks through walls,” and Frued recognized her as a modern mythical figure. Al-Hadid uses this imagery to highlight the elusive nature of desire, to show the viewer how women are perceived, and to call out where that narrative is lacking. She expertly captures the individual stories of women through imagery like that of “Gradiva”. At the same time, she focuses on the body, and how those two facets of identity, the physical presence and the cultivated experience, work together to navigate the world.

Immediately to the right of the exhibit’s entrance, there’s a sculpture of a staircase titled “Moving Target”. On a plaque, Al-Hadid writes that she creates things on a large scale to show that the physical labor it takes to make art is just as important as the mental labor. Perhaps the most striking of these large-scale pieces is the archway called “Smoke Screen” that is built into the wall, where peeled resin drips like icicles. When she blurs the lines between function and beauty—art and architecture—she works to “obscure a single narrative”.

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Celebrate the Holidays with Art

Teen Editorial Staff November 2021 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Esha Potharaju and Triona Suiter

Pumpkin

As we settle into the cozy fall weather, November beckons a slew of holiday celebrations. One way to get into the spirit is by enjoying some good old art, maybe to bond with a loved one you haven’t caught up with in almost two years, or maybe to treat yourself on a solitary afternoon. In the coming month, the TeenTix Newsroom will be hurtling through ballet shows, film classes, timeless plays, and holiday thrillers—and we hope you can join us in the journey.

To kick off the month right away with a healthy dose of feminism, we highly recommend checking out From Heartthrob to Movie Star at SIFF on November 4th. This virtual class focuses on the power of stories written specifically for a female audience and the importance of continuing to tell these stories despite the film industry’s increasing disregard for their value. Or, if you’re interested in female empowerment but want something a little more self-guided, Henry Art Gallery is hosting Diana Al-Hadid’s Archive of Longings exhibition, which will showcase sculptures exploring the natural world, Syrian and Muslim histories, and the female body.

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Come Home to Safety, Love, and Joy

Review of HOMECOMING Performing Arts Festival presented by Intiman Theatre
Written by Teen Writer Ava Carrel and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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Last weekend’s HOMECOMING Performing Arts Festival from Intiman Theatre was a true celebration of joy. Walking into the festival, the love and effort could be immediately recognized: the patterns on the wristbands were beautifully drawn and the staff had towels on hand, constantly wiping seats off to make the event more accessible for their disabled or older guests. The pride was clear and well deserved.

The media constantly bombards us with news and images of trauma, loss, and marginalization—with the immense suffering of marginalized people becoming a staple in news today. Desensitization to such topics is becoming increasingly, and worryingly, normal. While it's essential to recognize systemic challenges to be able to invoke change, it’s just as important to showcase the togetherness and joy of POC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

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Heroes and Villains: Magical MoPOP Exhibit Shows Off Disney Costumes

Review of Heroes and Villians: The Art of the Disney Costume, presented by MoPOP

Written by Teen Writer Anabelle Dillard and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Calling all Disney fans! The newest MOPOP exhibit, Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume, is a must-see for Disney lovers, costume enthusiasts, and budding fashionistas alike. Featuring over seventy original costume pieces from a variety of Disney movies and TV shows, from Mary Poppins to Once Upon a Time to Dumbo, the exhibit is a delightful romp through the fantastical worlds of Disney. Although the mannequins are stationary, the costumes come to life thanks to creative staging and lighting; some are placed in dynamic poses or on spinning platforms, reminding visitors that these were real costumes worn by real actors. Soft instrumental covers of Disney classics and the simple presentation allows the costumes to take center stage, making guests feel as if they have stepped into the costume design workshops for their favorite movies.Pirates of the Caribbean Costume. Photo courtesy of MoPOP.

The exhibit opens with one of the most iconic Disney princesses: Cinderella. While the rest of the costumes are sorted into “hero,” “villain,” or “other,” the first room focuses solely on various adaptations of the classic fairy tale, allowing museum-goers to compare and contrast several of Cinderella’s dresses in the context of their respective films. Anna Kendrick’s willow-inspired green and gold gown from Into the Woods (2014) has a completely different feel than Brandy’s bejeweled peplum dress from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997), reflecting the grittier, semi-realistic themes of the former and fun, contemporary tone of the latter. My personal favorite was Lily James’s gown from Cinderella (2015), a film that never fails to make my fashion-design-loving little heart sing with joy. While the film isn’t exactly period-accurate (a detail I am willing to excuse, albeit begrudgingly, for the sake of fantasy), the vibrant colors and over-the-top dresses make for a fun, nostalgic viewing experience, and seeing the costumes in person was no exception. The blue ball gown is actually made up of several layers of thin fabric in different shades, making the dress look like something out of a watercolor painting, and the voluminous petticoats underneath make the dance scenes truly magical. Interviews with the incredibly talented Sandy Powell, an award-winning costume designer with a history of fabulous period pieces, pull back the curtain to reveal just how much thought and effort went into production, including over ten thousand crystals and more than three miles of hems that made up the iconic blue ball gown, as well as the creative use of color theory and patterns to quietly convey important character details. 102 Dalmatians Costume. Photo courtesy of MoPOP.

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Bringing Joy In June

Teen Editorial Staff June 2021 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Eleanor Cenname and Triona Suiter

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Take a deep breath. We’ll do it with you: in… and out. You have made it to June, and we are so proud of you. Whether you are a student and are nearing summer break or are working, take a moment this month to step back and breathe. When we think about summer, we might associate it with the beach or the pool. Proximity to water has been shown to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. This is called the Blue Mind Theory. So as we enjoy this warmer and sunnier month, we can take a moment to let the water that surrounds us here in Seattle carry away a bit of our stress. Another way that we can take breaks this month is through art. We have an exciting list of events for June that we hope will bring as much joy to you as they do to us.

Tune in on the 10th for a virtual presentation from Dr. Temple Grandin at Town Hall, discussing science, curiosity, and her new book. Check out Seattle Shakespeare’s Romeo y Julieta, a multilingual adaptation of the classic star-crossed lovers story. Spend some time exploring Seattle Public Theater’s HUE festival, a celebration of women playwrights of color and their creations. Tackle the truly absurd with The Doll Pit at Washington Ensemble Theatre, where Jody Kuehner spends an hour talking to herself--or rather, her iconic character Cherdonna Shinatra. Or, if you’re looking for something more visual, why not check out MoPOP’s Heroes and Villains exhibit, featuring over 70 iconic Disney costumes?

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Part Gallery Exhibition, Part Homage to the Seattle Music Scene, "Gary Simmons: The Engine Room" Waits to Roar to Life at the Henry

Review of Gary Simmons: The Engine Room at the Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson and edited by TeenTix Teaching Artist Leah St. Lawrence

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Stepping into the space that houses the Henry Art Gallery’s new exhibit Gary Simmons: The Engine Room, I was immediately immersed in grunge. From the silvery engine sculpture near the entrance to the colorful, large paintings adorning the walls, each component is imbued with a unique punk-rock feel, and every piece seems to fit perfectly in place.

The exhibit makes smart use of the museum’s sizable lower-level galleries. Each of its components—three large-scale paintings, a silvery sculpture of an engine, and an imposing architecture installation—is neatly placed in the airy, grand space, and the bright colors and grunge feel juxtapose nicely with the grandeur of the gallery. When I entered the room I was struck by this—it seemed like the exhibit had been designed for the space. And, it was. Artist Gary Simmons crafted each piece in the exhibit for the Henry Art Gallery, working directly with the exhibit’s curator, Shamim Momin, and LANGSTON, an arts and culture organization that centers Black artists, to design the show.

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All Black Women Are Iconic

Review of Iconic Black Women: Ain't I A Woman, presented by Northwest African American Museum

Written by Teen Writer Carolyn Davis and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Hiawatha D.’s Iconic Black Women: Ain’t I A Woman virtual exhibit is a beautiful way to give much-needed appreciation to Black women. It is available virtually at Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) and is filled with paintings of iconic Black women of the past, present, and future. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, Michelle Obama and her children and many more to come are part of this collection. I am grateful to have been able to see Hiawatha D.’s art in person, before the pandemic, and enjoy the commemoration of iconic Black women. This collection of artworks originated as branding for his business partner and now wife Veronica Very’s nonprofit. There were originally going to be only 15 women in this exhibit, but Hiawatha D.’s passion for appreciating Black women expanded that number to more than 50 pieces. Each painting fits into one of three categories: elders, ancestors, and queens.

Artists seldom create an entire exhibit dedicated to Black women, although the power it holds to educate and inspire viewers makes it vital. Black women have been fighting to succeed and be seen for so long, and artwork is a perfect tool for people to understand this fight. Entering a space that an artist created solely to worship the many iconic Black women of the past, present, and future is extremely powerful and is what I think makes this collection so formidable. As Hiawatha D. says, “all Black women are iconic”, there will never be an end to appreciating them. Yet Hiawatha D. understands the versatility of Black women who need to be celebrated, which is needed when trying to narrow down the iconic Black women of the world to about 50. The variety in the women shown in his exhibit is important and shows viewers how many known and unknown Black women have made an impact on the world. Furthermore, the beauty of his paintings makes the experience all the better. Hiawatha D.’s career has consisted of illustrating Black people, and the skillful artistry showcased in his work transforms the experience.

Iconic Black Women: Ain't I A Woman? Photo courtesy Northwest African American Museum.

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Jacob Lawrence’s The American Struggle: Remembering Those History Forgets

Review of The American Struggle, presented by Seattle Art Museum

Written by Teen Writer Yoon Lee and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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The idea of the American struggle is one often mentioned in discussions around U.S. history—the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and all of the not-so-glamorous areas in between that lend credence to our current status of “world superpower” and therefore our so-called moral superiority. One facet of this struggle is rarely remembered: the effect people of color and women had on the foundation and mettle of the United States. Even with the efforts of historians, new school curriculums and media like Hamilton, this essential part of the American soul is often forgotten.

One lesson in this perception of history can be found not by looking forward, but by looking back. More appropriately, by piecing together the past, which is exactly what the Seattle Art Museum exhibition for Jacob Lawrence’s The American Struggle sought to do.

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Announcing the Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color Summer Cohort!

Applications are now open!

M TAC Program Graphic GB 1

TeenTix, in partnership with The Colorization Collective (a teen-run organization that promotes diversity in the arts) is excited to announce our 2021 Summer Cohort of our Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color (M-TAC) program. This program will specifically allow teen artists of color to hone their artwork under the guidance of professional mentors. This is a great way for teens to better their craft, build connections in the arts community, and present their art!

This mentorship is for teens interested in visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and performing arts (musical theater, acting, etc.). Teens will be put into either a visual arts or performing arts cohort, and each group will be paired with a professional artist/mentor of color to create or workshop a piece specifically for the program showcase.SCHEDULE

The Summer M-TAC program will meet for 5 weeks (July 7-August 6), every Wednesday from 2-5 PM PST. The meetings dates are: July 7, 14, 21, 28, and August 4. There will also be a one-hour showcase the week of August 9 (exact time TBD).

Teens in the M-TAC program will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops during the school year, as well as present their finished work during the TeenTix Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair in June of 2022.

Applications are open now and close at 12 AM (midnight) PST on May 31, 2021. APPLY HERE!

Applicants must be ages 13-19 and a current TeenTix member to participate. (Not a TeenTix member yet? Don't worry - sign up for free right here!)

If you need assistance filling out this application, please contact Anya Shukla at colorizationcollective@gmail.com.

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The Henry Celebrates Art That’s Public, Free - and a Complete Surprise!

Review of Set in Motion presented by The Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Rosemary Sissel and edited by Teen Editor Mila Borowski

Dupille We Will Dance Again

It’s an average, nameless day in the middle of February. A busy Seattle street is littered with mask-obscured faces, socially-distanced storefronts, cloud-colored skyscrapers, rain-slicked cars, lingering snow-dirt-mush, a city bus, and, then, suddenly, in a flurry of color - figures - hair - legs - wheelchair - dancing!

Wait, dancing? That can’t have been right. Not here. Not now. In the middle of a street. In the middle of COVID. In the middle of 3rd Avenue and—where did it go?

The aerosol-protected faces are still here, storefronts still proclaiming the same pandemic precautions, skyscrapers still reflecting the dreary clouds, cars, and slush still accounted for, and the bus is just turning onto the next street. Then it’s gone. And so is the dancing.

For a few otherworldly moments, the bus carried a magical spell of transportation. Not to a different physical place, but to a different mental plane. It carried adventure, enchantment, and mystery. It carried color as a celebration, not as a trap to force the eye towards an item for purchasing. Instead of an ad, COVID announcement, or other PSA in the long rectangle underneath the bus windows, it carried art.

University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery placed its latest art installation on buses.

This art installation proudly flaunts its free, completely public design—and it’s cheeky. It’ll drive past without a second thought, show off while flirting with stoplights, or glare up at you while you pay your fare and climb inside it.

Throughout the city, a total of ten stunning, evocative, vibrant pieces peer out at the world from the sides of buses, RapidRide bus lines, and routes from north to south.

These art-surprises do a lot more than just upend the average, nameless day: they ask questions about femininity and race, collage identities over borders, photograph histories, soar between people and land, implore us to “find one another,” splice pain and rebirth, test the poetry of computer-generated messages, memorialize incarcerated family members, knit metaphors between immigrants and naturalized plants, and celebrate dancing-to-come.

There is so much in every fascinating, multilayered piece that it is really difficult to grasp any of them in a fleeting, average-day moment. Almost as difficult as it is to make it through my detail-heavy, comma-drenched summary of them. Photo courtesy of Sound Transit.

COVID has been full of difficult sentences like that. Days that run into weeks that run into months, all full of terrifying numbers we need to scrounge up emotions for, when it’s becoming hard enough to scrounge up enough anything to pay attention to the teacher talking to me through a computer screen while I destroy my attention span by checking emails or finishing something I forgot about because I was too busy dissolving into sentences that never end, just linger…

And then the dancing. Is just. Such. A delicious surprise!

We have time, here in this cocoon of a review, to reflect upon it. Time to let our eyes twirl from the bouncing arms to the jangling bracelets to the swirling hair to the smiling faces, all celebrating in the midst of the words: “we will dance again”. We can savor Natalie Dupille’s work, a fountain of watercolors raining down, cleaning away the dreariness for a few welcome moments. The Henry’s website tells us that she’s inspired by queer dance parties—havens of connection, identity, and community. What a beautiful message in just one small bus ad. And every art piece is just as fabulously nuanced and important!

COVID is forcing the art world to do many things, from rethinking art as an experience and redefining ideas like ‘share’ and ‘group’ to asking questions like “what is public?” and “how does physical space exist?”. The Henry has driven up to meet the challenges of our time, offering a beautiful and convincing argument in support of art for everyone, art for free, and—best of all—art that comes as a completely unexpected surprise.

This exhibition ran on Seattle buses through the end of February. Either traveling on foot or gazing out through the windows of one’s closest route, this event gave anyone the opportunity to be catapulted outside the average, nameless day to a world filled with societal change, wonder, and magic!

Set in Motion ran from December 2020 to February 2021. For more information see here.

Lead photo credit: Natalie Dupille, We Will Dance Again, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

The TeenTix Newsroom is a group of teen writers led by the Teen Editorial Staff. For each review, Newsroom writers work individually with a teen editor to polish their writing for publication. The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 6 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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