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On May 4, 2016, nearly 1,000 supporters from all aspects of the Puget Sound region’s arts and cultural sector filled the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Seattle for ArtsFund’s 28th Annual Celebration of the Arts Luncheon. Artists, presenters, and keynote speaker John Maeda (Designer and Technologist) came together in celebration of the synergy of art, design, and technology.

John Maeda’s keynote address, From STEM to STEAM: Revealing the Importance of the Arts and Design in the Digital Age, emphasized the importance of design in the business and tech industries.  Said Maeda, “Art is not just about art making. It’s an attitude, it’s a way forward, it’s a kind of fearlessness that we all need.” Maeda believes that art and design not only have crucial role to play in the workplace, but are also essential in our schools.  He has actively helped shape and support the national movement to transform STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) into STEAM, by adding art as a priority area, believing that art and design are paramount to the future of American innovation.

Digital lobby installations greeted guests upon arrival, including Reilly Donovan’s interactive installation, Figura Extempore, an installation that digitally draws the outline of people and objects that enter and exit its space. As people maneuver throughout the installation, a computer program recognizes and sketches their form on the corresponding projection. Screenshots uploaded from the installation’s generated sketches can be viewed here. Also featured in the lobby was Robert Campbell’s stunning installation, Interval Two, a video triptych comprised of three 60″ flat panel displays installed vertically. The piece began with high resolution digital photographs, which were then processed with composting software and processed using randomizing algorithms to create short animations, ultimately resulting in seven digitally constructed, three channel poems.

Figura Extempore


Interval Two


To celebrate arts and youth, both luncheon performances featured young artists. Seventeen year old singer songwriter Parisalexa performed a lively song titled “Inadequate,” downloadable here, using her voice and a vocal loop station, while Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Caldera Trio provided classical tunes for the group to dine to.

Parisalexa, photo by Alabastro Photography

SYSO Caldera Trio, photo by Alabastro Photography

SYSO Caldera Trio, photo by Alabastro Photography

The event’s honorees provided compelling remarks, with Outstanding Achievement in the Arts awardee Mark Morris reminding us, quite frankly, that putting on arts costs money, and John and Laurel Nesholm, on behalf of the Lifetime Dedication to the Arts awardee The Nesholm Family Foundation, epitomizing the critical role of  philanthropy in our arts ecosystem.


Mark Morris, photo by Alabastro Photography


The Nesholm Family Foundation, photo by Alabastro Photography

Finally, we premiered a new video hearing from some of our local arts leaders about what ArtsFund’s support means to them.

Thanks to all who collaborated to make this a memorable event, and special thanks to our sponsors who made it all possible!


Photo by Alabastro Photography