Recap: Celebration of the Arts Luncheon

On May 4, 2016, nearly 1,000 individuals coming together across the arts, business, and philanthropic sectors gathered at the Seattle Westin to celebrate our regional arts community, and explore overlap in the fields of arts, technology, and design. John Maeda’s keynote address, From STEM to STEAM: Revealing the Importance of the Arts and Design in the Digital Ageemphasized 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.”

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.

Both luncheon performances featured young artists. Seventeen year old singer songwriter Parisalexa performed an original song titled “Inadequate,” downloadable here, using her voice and a vocal loop station, and Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Caldera Trio provided classical ambience.

The event’s honorees gave 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. As Laurel Nesholm affirmed, “Given the strong leadership, volunteer corps, and patrons we know that the arts in the community are in good hands, and the rich variety of organizations makes us confident that Seattle is a special place.”

Thanks to generous support, the luncheon raised over $250,000 for ArtsFund’s 2016 Campaign. Special thanks to all who gave $250 or more and helped us access an additional $100,000 in matching funds from a generous anonymous donor. Click here for photos, and here to view John Maeda’s keynote.

Photo by Alabastro Photography.