Today is International Women's Day! In celebration, we're highlighting Women in Construction by kicking off a video series called Pink Hard Hat Chats. Earlier, I had the pleasure of sitting with one of our key sub-contractors, Nicole Faith, Electrical Foreman of McKinstry Construction. She is a former Marine, proud mother of four, and Communications Officer for Q Missions (a non-profit organization founded to help support veterans and their families). Nicole is leading a team of Electricians on a first-generation Tenant Improvement site for Caruccio's Culinary Event Space, on Mercer Island.
The Opening Reception for ALTERNATE VIEWS was especially delightful. This curated photographic journey sparked a vibrant rapport as admirers explored the collections of Donatella Lombardini, Joe Iano & Laurent Bourscheidt. The medium of photography and how it's expressed in this digital age was heightened as these three distinct exhibits were displayed side-by-side.
"You can't take a great picture if you aren't in love with the subject you are trying to capture"
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form...
- Heart Sutra
"There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but darling,
What if you fly?
- Erin Hanson
Special Thanks to Mike Donnelly of Bell-Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, for event sponsorship & being such a charming bartender!
Another successful showing for Steffanie Lorig, Artist, Creative Consultant & Founder of Art with Heart, took place at the SZ Gallery during February's First Thursday event. This especially heartfelt evening was not only an opportunity to explore Steffanie's impressive collection of mixed media paintings, it was also gave way for her community to pause & raise a glass in gratitude for Steffanie's immense accomplishments. After more than 20 years of dedicated leadership, Steffanie proudly hands over the reins as CEO of Art with Heart to Heidi Durham and their growing team. Here's a brief interview with these two impressive women:
Those interested in learning more about the meaningful work of Art with Heart were warmly greeted by Jake Abbott, Development Manager, and Lisa Caldwell, Data & Development Coordinator, who presented various books & curricula currently offered. Both Art with Heart's new CEO, Heidi Durham, and their Board Vice President & Treasurer, Kato Wade, offered these kind words:
In addition to the usual wine tastings being poured by our event sponsor, Mike Donnelly of Bell-Anderson, a spectacular spread of delicious & vibrant hors d'oeuvres was generously provided by Caruccio's Culinary Events Center (coming to the Mercer Island Town Center this Summer). But more on that bit of exciting news in future posts... Stay tuned!
About Art with Heart (in their words):
Art with Heart is a nonprofit based in Seattle, WA, dedicated to supporting the emotional well-being of children adversely affected by hardship, using creativity to lead to inspired possibilities. Since 2002, we have created healing, therapeutic books that bring together the best in therapy with the best in illustration to help children and teens facing distress and hardship. We offer trainings and programs to help children locally as well.
We believe that despite the many challenges children and teens face – illness, rape, divorce, separation, grief – their hearts can mend and they can thrive once again.
Our well-researched and evidence-based methods allow them to express their pain and their power so they can move beyond hardship and uncertainty to a lifetime of confidence and courage, so they can re-write their future.
We enjoyed a truly heartfelt art opening for Steffanie Lorig at the SZ Gallery this past First Thursday. Such a pleasure to exhibit almost 50 of her most recent mixed media paintings, each with it's own vibe & hidden treasures.
Steffanie has just recently retired from her 20+ years as the Founder & CEO of Art with Heart, a non-profit dedicated to helping children, who have experienced trauma, heal through creativity. She's kicking off 2017 with more independent pursuits as an Artist & Creative Consultant. In celebration of her immense accomplishments, SZ is donating 10% of all art sales during Steffanie's exhibit to Art with Heart.
A huge thanks to all those who joined our Annual Holiday Party! We're so grateful for our wonderful community of Clients, Creatives & Collaborators, since our official launch on March 31, 2016. Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements of all that we've got brewing at SZ... Promises to be a fun & fruitful 2017 - CHEERS!
Learn more about our Constellation of Creatives:
* Suzanne Zahr [art & architecture]
* SZ Build [general contractor]
* Gary Henderson Interiors [interior design & furnishings]
* L+B Design [visual experiences beautifully delivered]
* Anna Skibska [featured artist]
Bubbles & Bites, provided by The Islander
Thank you Bell-Anderson & PURE Insurance for your event sponsorship!
Bell-Anderson employs some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals; providing coverage for high-value homes, automobiles and Life insurance to name a few. PURE is a policyholder-owned insurer dedicated to creating an exceptional experience for responsible high net worth individuals and families. As sponsors, both are providing us with long time insurance expert Mike Donnelly, their VIP Client Advisor, to participate in our First Thursday tradition. Mike can be reached at 360-676-2578 or email@example.com.
What images come to mind when you think of building a 'Mexican Wall'? Do you imagine a wall, big and strong, that keeps others out? Is there a sense of security gained by knowing that you're well-protected, drawing a clear line in the sand, claiming this is mine, and that is yours? What emotions underpin the intent of your wall - fear, nationalism, a sense of scarcity? Who truly benefits from having this wall built?
These questions surfaced after I returned from Tijuana, Mexico, the day before Election Day in the US. I joined a group of resourceful, capable and sympathetic ladies from my church on an annual Women's Build trip. The plan was to build a 12' x 24' DOXA home in less than four days without the use of power tools. What resulted was more than a set of walls and a gabled roof. Together, with the loving family who owns this new home and their community, we built bridges. These were not walls that divide, but rather walls that unite us as world citizens, as fellow humans who want what's best for our children and grandchildren.
Since 1984 Anna Skibska has presented 54 individual exhibitions all over the world. Her glass filigree explorations integrate her virtuosity as a fine artist with her love of architecture. Skibska's jewelry is equally stunning, as she transforms gems and stones into wearable art.
"...designing my jewelry following my mood…my moods, my whims, commemorating the beauty of everyday life".
What goes better with a heated election than a little Art & Wine? This past Thursday, the SZ Gallery hosted a campaign fundraiser for Lisa Wellman, Democratic Candidate for WA State Senate. This truly unique evening was filled with good wine, heartfelt social & political banter, an opportunity to learn more about Lisa's inspiring call to action, and, of course, dragons.
Kosta Kulundzic, French-Serbian Artist, returned to Mercer Island in support of this event. In addition to his current exhibit, 'Bloody Icons!', serving as the evocative backdrop, Kosta was kind enough to perform live. Within a short two hours, he painted a large canvas right before our eyes.
Kosta teamed up with Synne Cellars to offer 18 bottles of Artist Edition 2014 Chenin Blanc wine for the Fundraiser. Each label has an original ink drawing is signed by the artist.
Thank you to Jennifer Mechem for organizing the event, to L+B Design for contributing the design of the invitations & to Friends of Lisa Wellman.
Exhibiting at the SZ Gallery until Tuesday, November 2, the Kosta Kulundzic is a French artist of Serbian ancestry, born in Paris in 1972. The grandson of an orthodox pope, he was nurtured by the specters of religious warfare, Christian dogma, and the burdens of martyrdom. Immersed in the narratives of the gospels, he populates them with his own heroes: Judith and Saint George are updated for Michael Bay's explosive set pieces, slaying dragons and falling to blades and assassins under a blazing Waikiki sun...tourists get caught in the crossfire. With a fastidious attention to detail ("when I paint, I love to stick my nose to the canvas," he says) he renders light, flesh, and spiritual struggle with intensity and passion. In each of his canvasses he invites us to consider the battle between forgiveness and guilt, sin and grace, linking these ancient stories to the exaggerated and stylized violence of modern cinema and graphic novels.
Suzanne Zahr and L+B Design Presents Kosta Kulundzic’s
“Bloody Icons!” new Exhibit in the Pacific Northwest
French-Serbian Artist Returns to the United States
Three Tech Moguls cringe and cower in the frightful shadow of a furious dragon! Kim Kardashian hobnobs with St. Sebastian and an apocalyptic abomination as a bound and perplexed Kanye West looks on! Judith stands ready to behead the hell out of Holofernes, Tarantino-style, Grand Guignol, without the slightest remorse (and more than a little Grindhouse flair)! Buckle-up, because you’ve entered the world of Kosta Kulundzic - a deeply spiritual yet profanely B-movie realm where angelic figures coexist with bare-knuckled brawlers, hulking monstrosities stalk the same earth as tattooed, scantily-clad muses, and pas-sion and attitude are always the order of the day! Part and parcel of the lowbrow art school and deeply pious Christian imagery, Kulundzic somehow manages to enter a new level of the soulfully obscene, the salaciously reverent!
Kulundzic has had shows in Paris, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Brussels, and Honolulu, and his new show, “Bloody Icons!”, opened at the SZ Gallery on October 6th, where he debuted the piece “The Desperate Plea of Modern Technology Fac-ing St George’s Dragon”, featuring Seattle’s very own Bill Gates, Paul Allen & Jeff Bezos.
LIVE PAINTING PERFORMANCE will take place at the SZ Gallery at 2PM on Saturday, October 8th. All are welcomed.
Suzanne Zahr and L+B Design, both Mercer Island-based creative studios have teamed up to bring the work of internationally renowned artist, Kosta Kulundzic to the Pacific Northwest. Kulundzic is also an adjunct art professor at the School of Architecture of Paris Val de Seine and will lecture at the University of Hawaii in 2017.
SZ Gallery is dedicated to sourcing and featuring global artists to new audiences in the Pacific Northwest. Located at the confluences of Seattle and The East Side, SZ Gallery features up and coming talents on a monthly basis and serves as an art outpost for Lake Washington and its surrounding areas, bringing a new twist to the local market.
L+B Design is a multi-disciplinary branding studio helping organizations of all sizes create memorable visual ex-periences delivered beautifully. With 20 years of experience in Branding and Marketing, L+B design is constantly searching for new ways to tell a compelling brand story.
The Islander"s Sommelier, Isaac Schmid, will be introducing Synne Cellars, offering pre-sales to his Reserved 2014 Syrah & Chenin Blanc along side other wonderful reds & whites.
Since we launched this monthly tradition in May, each event has been special in its own way. This past gathering had a more intimate tone, rooted in a well-rounded appreciation of good wine, music, visual & wearable arts.
Victoria Johnson's artwork is both formal & lyrical. Free-flowing, organic forms drift in and out of her canvas' planes, creating enticing visual rhythm & movement. A perfect pairing with 12-year old harpist, Carla Mory's performance of 'Les Adieux du Menestrel au Pays Natal' by John Thomas, in our very first Living Room 'concert'.
Jennie King of J|King Styling introduced her Fall Collection of ASH + AMES Jewelry - simply stunning. Mary Herzog of The Paper Beadery presented her unique, handmade statement necklaces out of paperbeads - gorgeous. Both have generously offered to donate 10% of sales to Art with Heart.
Isaac, The Islander's Sommelier, once again introduced a wonderful selection of wines for tasting, all available for sale by the bottle or case at wine club prices.
This year, there were 84 featured galleries, compared to the 62 in its opening year (2015). Among them, 18 were local galleries from the Pacific Northwest, while the others ranged from California to Japan. It’s great so see Seattle’s art community continue to thrive and grow. Even though the SAF has ended, many of the featured galleries will continue to make sales related to this fair throughout the rest of the year.
Though we each gravitated towards a diverse range of expressions, I instantly fell in love with the work of Indian artist, Sohan Qadri. He had three pieces exhibited by the Sundaram Tagore Gallery out of New York. Below-left is my favorite SAF pick (photo does not do it justice), Nitya, 2008 (Ink and dye on paper, 55"x39").
SELECT WORKS: SOHAN QADRI
ARTIST BIO: SOHAN QADRI
Artist, poet and Tantric guru Sohan Qadri (1932-2011) is one of the only internationally acclaimed artists deeply engaged with spirituality. Qadri abandoned representation early on in his long career, incorporating Tantric symbolism and philosophy into his vibrantly colored minimalist works. Born in India, he was initiated into yogic practice at age seven. In 1965, he left India and began a series of travels that took him to East Africa, North America, Paris and Zurich.
Settling in Copenhagen, Mr. Qadri participated in more than forty one-man shows, in Bombay, Vienna, Brussels, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. He distilled Tantric symbolism into his own abstract, modernist language using broad areas of open color, capturing the northern landscape and sky of his Scandinavian surroundings. Although he began his career in the 1950s painting in oil on canvas, he worked on paper from the 1970s onward. He covered the surface of the paper with structural effects by soaking it in liquid and carving it in several stages while applying inks and dyes. In the process, the paper was transformed from a flat, two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional medium. The repetition of careful incisions on the paper was an integral part of his meditation—and, in fact, his process evolved out of his desire for an effortless method of creation in tune with his yogic practice.
What a wonderful turn-out, thank you all! If you haven't already, swing by the SZ Gallery to view Elissa Eng's & Gitte Peters' beautiful works.
Elissa combines traditional and non-traditional oil painting techniques to create a sense of depth and movement. Elissa graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. Additionally, Elissa completed a residency at The International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy.
Her art is in both private and corporate collections nationally and internationally.
"Elissa is master of understating her true self. She is a woman of immense depth and complexity beyond her years and training... Owning a piece of Elissa's work is not only a privilege but a rare porthole into one's own soul as she shares her own travails through her art.” -Toronto Art Collector
Save the Date for the 2016 Artful Evening auction gala, BAM's most fun, festive, and important fundraising event of the year. With over 500 community leaders and friends, Artful Evening is THE party of the summer and helps fund world-class exhibitions and essential community programming.
You'll sip on cocktails while perusing fabulous works in silent and live auctions, dine on a sumptuous meal, bring home work by artists and makers previously featured in BAM exhibitions, and enjoy the first chance to bid on works from ARTSfair artists in the silent auction. Everyone has the opportunity to support the arts during Raise the Paddle in the Live Auction by donating directly to BAM!
SZ is proudly donating 'Oasis of Love' by celebrated Danish-born artist, Gitte Peters, to the Super Silent Auction. Here's your chance to add to your add to your collection while contributing to BAM.
From the 4th of July fireworks to our Mercer Island Summer Celebration, this month's Art & Wine event was especially festive. What a wonderful turn-out, thank you!
Of local artist, Paul Laws' featured work, I'm most intrigued by Wicked Thicket. His paintings are ephemeral, drawing you into its intricate textures. Paul's artwork will be featured at the SZ Gallery until August 3rd.
Of Gitte Peters' beautiful oil paintings, Love of Nature has been my recent obsession. This peaceful oasis has offered me tranquil repose during my busy days. Gitte's considered our European Artist in Residence. We're incredibly lucky to have this Danish-born's stunning work imported all the way from her studio in Monaco.
The Islander treated us to a vast selection of tastings from his Stock Your Wine Cellar Event, offering wines at only 10% above cost. Of the those I tasted, I was most impressed by the Domaine Chandon Etoile Rose. Chef Scott out did himself with an impressive cheese platter, baked brie, an olive tapenade & bruschetta, which made from incredible pairings!
What I'm loving most about our First Thursday tradition is that each gathering has its own unique personality. This is largely due to the spirited turn-out of such wonderfully diverse enthusiasts. So nice to take a pause & enjoy this light-hearted, summery evening!
Of Scott Simmonds' featured work, I'm most drawn to his six smaller paintings displayed together (Kiss, Fire Island, Let's Play, Thrill Me, The Lake Shore & Menage). My hope is that an interested buyer keeps this collection intact, as they seem to play off each other nicely. Scott's artwork will be featured at the SZ Gallery until July 7.
Though all of Isaac's Oregon wine tastings were a treat, I was most impressed by the Gran Moraine Chardonnay - my new summer favorite! In fact, this wine sold-out before the end of the evening. Isaac promised to restock quickly, so anyone interested in picking up bottles or cases at wine-club prices can do so at The Islander.
As if the art, wine, cheese, sunshine & friendly faces weren't enough, SZ hosted an impromptu trunk-show of Mary Herzog's Paper Beadery jewelry. Thank you, Rebecca Laws Nemetz, Founder of 5 Elements Pilates, for making the connection - I'm smitten with my new necklace!
Congratulations to this month's Wine Raffle winners:
Gudund Berge, Aljoya resident
Luigi Rechhi, Ittalian-born artist
Paintings & Prints, by Scott Simmonds, Mercer Island Artist
"We live in a time of paradox when computer and television screen acuity is paramount and yet reality is seldom seen, it is scanned. My painting is an attempt to slow the eye, allowing a personal impression to be formed, a thought beyond thinking to take place that is less ephemeral than electronic media."
Angela, Clawson Creek – Pinot Noir (Oregon)
Distinct aromas of plum, cola nuts, and bing cherries on a back drop of wet cedar. Flavors of stewed cherry, plum skin, nutmeg and forest floor with a hint of white and black pepper. This Pinot has an exceptional finish with a soft sexy mouth-feel.
Gran Moraine - Pinot Noir (Oregon)
Scents of huckleberry, european plum and lavender dance in your nose with a subtle touch of black pepper and pipe tobacco. A rich velvety mouth-feel with balanced acidity provides the perfect setting for flavors of marion berry, cranberry, french roasted coffee and black truffle.
Gran Moraine - Chardonnay (Oregon)
In addition to a lovely floral bouquet this wine is rife with white peach, navel orange, and lemon curd. The palate enjoys a crisp lemon mineral mouth-feel with flavors of Nashi pear, honeydew melon, and Golden Delicious apple. A summer day in a glass!!!
Thank you to all those who helped us kick-off our first, First Thursday: Art & Wine event yesterday evening. We welcomed friends, old & new into the SZ Gallery as Isaac Schmid, Sommelier of The Islander, so generously offered wine tastings of this month's selection:
Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne
"elegant golden straw yellow with amber highlights. Its aromas are radiant, revealing bright yellow-fleshed fruits, honey, floral nuances, and elegant blond notes"
Browne Sauvignon Blanc
"meyer lemon with ripe tropical fruit flavors of papaya and mango, layered with clean and refreshing gooseberry notes. Finishing with vanilla and dried fruit notes"
What a wonderful way for us all to enjoy the finer things in life:
a sip of good wine, inspirational art & fun-loving company!
Congratulations to this month's Wine Raffle winners:
Suzanne Skone, Owner of Auto Spa on Mercer Island
Mike Donnelly, Bell-Anderson Personal Lines & Life Agent
Join our next First Thursday, June 2, 2016!
A recent article in The Seattle Times by Lynn Thompson eloquently expresses the opposing, and at times confusing, views of the proposed one acre parkland to be donated to the Mercer Island Center for the Arts [MICA]. The controversy has inspired those of us in support of the arts & culture to be more vocal. As an Island resident, local business owner, creative professional and parent of a Kindergartner actively participating in the Youth Theatre Northwest, I say, 'Yes, please!'
I Decline to Sign the petition circulating for a voter initiative called 'Protect our Parks' which could impact all park uses & prevent MICA from being realized.
I appreciate the intent to protect our public spaces, but I find such poised opposition to MICA myopic. This wonderfully designed Center by Framework would not impact the current use of Mercerdale Park, but rather activate this public space by engaging cultural activities, social interactions and creative expressions.
Excerpt from the Mercer Island Center for the Arts [MICA] website:
MICA will create a focal point for the arts on Mercer Island, offering something nearly every single day of the year. It will help revitalize the business district, attracting audiences and patrons from both on and off the Island. It will become an essential cultural destination.
A beautiful, expansive, glass-fronted lobby and gallery, with a commanding view of Mercerdale Park, will host rotating art exhibits featuring work by Island and regional artists. Receptions, galas and gatherings will fill the space. It will also feature a café and bar.
These inviting venues will provide a great showcase for theater and dance performances, music recitals, artwork, and band and choir concerts for the young people of the Island. It will give them a safe and stimulating place to learn, grow, and be with their friends.
It will provide wonderful activities for seniors as a place for lecture series, demonstrations, readings, and film presentations.
MICA will host educational opportunities in theater, music, dance, and art with its classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and movement and art studios. It will be home to classes from Youth Theatre Northwest, Music Works Northwest, Musical Mind Studio, The Children’s Dance Conservatory, the Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Russian Chamber Music Foundation of Seattle, and others.
For more details, please visit http://www.mercerislandarts.org/
Mercer Island Town Center was all abuzz with the excited chatter of well-heeled aficionados on Thursday during the opening of Suzanne Zahr’s gallery and office. It’s a spiffy space next to The Islander restaurant in the Aviara, replete with clean lines, exposed concrete, lush paintings and Sputnik-light snazz. Zahr is an architect who’s had a hand in many powerfully-popping modern projects spanning the land from Palm Springs’ prestigious Smoke Tree Ranch right on up to our own cloudy, northwestern shores of Semiahmoo.
Zahr’s new firm boasts an impressive host of services, from architecture to interior design, construction to corporate brand development. Perhaps the most bold and eyebrow raising move on Zahr’s part is to represent the works of artists Gitte Peters & MUGGI in her new space. Peters is a Danish-born painter, headquartered now in the glamourous principality of Monaco. A cursory look at Peters’ promotional materials and we see glossy shots of her hobnobbing with impressive Euro-notables, up to and including Prince Albert the II himself. But aside from her most remarkable coterie, Peters’ impressionistic style and nature-centric theme is perfect for the Northwestern sensibility.
Ours is a hale and hearty lifestyle, embracing of the outdoors and all its rugged riches, and Peters’ work romanticizes these very ideals with bracing composition and wild bursts of color. One can easily imagine these lustrous works prominently displayed in the homes of Mercer Island’s own distinguished citizenry.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Zahr’s gallery was graced by the supportive attendance of Mayor Bruce Bassett and several Chamber Officers & Directors. Looks like Zahr is adding a fresh burst of artsy energy to the commercial epicenter of our fine island. And with talks of MICA potentially starting construction in 2017, Zahr is leading the way for a cultural renaissance for our bodacious burb. And that is something that many of us have been desiring for years.
T. Tableau, Cultural Blogger
Tableau Knows, Mercer Island Musings and Meanderings
Special Thanks to Mayor Bruce Bassett & the Mercer Island City Council & Chamber of Commerce for welcoming us so warmly to the Mercer Island retail community.
Featured Artists (traveled from Europe):
Gitte Peters & MUGGI
5% of Art sales donated to:
Art with Heart
Food & Drink:
Alice Kalis Photography
Additional Credits: SZ: Under Construction