Field Orchestras

Soon after we formed Alma Mater in 2015, we held a small series of events for artists and musicians called Speak/Listen. Our conversation topics ranged from space needs to collaboration to what talent buyers are looking for when booking a venue. Little did we know that one of the most well-attended of the series--the one about collaboration--would serve us in such unexpected ways in the future. That future, of course, is now, and that collaboration is the 20,000 sq ft + project known as the Carpenters Building. This is our biggest collaboration yet, involving dozens (scores?) of people and areas of expertise, hundreds (thousands?) of hours, and piles of licensing and permits. It’s a lot like an orchestra that is rehearsing together for the first time: many different players and instruments reading off of the same sheet music, with ample opportunity for blunders along the way. And as anyone that has played in an orchestra knows, timing is important. Newbs that we were, our tempo was pretty fast out the gate, with an ambitious timeline and budget to match. But as we started adding more players, the time signatures got a bit more advanced -- maybe even jazzy. And what can we say about jazz? It’s unpredictable. What was originally assumed to be a short and snappy movement from building purchase to renovation to opening has now revealed itself as the butterfly-ish math-rock that it really is. That is to say, with so many people involved, with real lives and real problems, things happen, and schedules fall behind. We are doing everything in our power to keep our original opening date of Summer 2017, but right now it is looking a bit later than that (but not too much later, fingers crossed). Stay tuned, we’ll keep you updated.

Protect the Sacred  by  Asia Tail ; curator and featured artist at Protect the Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rock.

Protect the Sacred by Asia Tail; curator and featured artist at Protect the Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rock.

Where we're going

With its last Tacoma happening in May of 2015, Smart People was a monthly dance party that Tacoma went a little crazy for. It was a lot of fun, and lucky for us it will be back for one night only on Saturday the 14th at the New Frontier Lounge. The party will be hosted by Neon Dion, with DJ guests Del and Najomonique of Tacoma’s Mirrorgloss, Dreafauxreal out of San Francisco, and an unannounced special guest out of LA. Doors open at 9pm and tickets are five bucks.

The opening reception for Protect the Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rockwill be held during third Thursday art walk (Thursday, Jan 19th--if  you don’t have a calendar handy) at 1120 Creative House. Curated by Asia Tail, the event will host dozens of Native artists, with a performance by Christine Babic at 7:15, and artist Nahaan FastsFromEnglish will be tattooing by appointment. Proceeds go to resist the DAPL at Standing Rock. Also on Third Thursday, check out the opening reception of Anne de Marcken’s Invisible Ink at Feast. On Friday the 20th,I'llfightyou is playing a Tacoma show at Jazzbones. Doors open at 9pm, and tickets are 10 bucks in advance or 15 at the door. Lastly, the Cloves just released a new 7" titled "Red Rose." You can listen and purchase it here.


What we're reading
As we move through the next phase of our project through demolition and construction, we are considering the ways in which we can shift identities: from space-specific to mobile arts brigade. We're taking notes from this article onArtsy covering a few artists that have used alter-egos in their practices over the years.


Who we're watching

Anne de Marcken is an Interdisciplinary artist working with text and moving images, among other multimedia, and has created a site-specific installation for Feast Arts Center titled "Invisible Ink." An "interrogation of whiteness," this interactive exhibit pairs de Marcken with conceptual artist Natasha Marin (see her reparations website) and writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, who created the score for the installation. "Writing in lemon juice—homemade invisible ink—on butcher paper, de Marcken transcribes a digital backlog of requests for help, offers of support, and assaultive troll attacks received by Marin during her six-month "Reparations" project. The result is a 1000-foot-long enunciation of the ways whiteness protects those affiliated with its power from awareness of and accountability for the costs and benefits of that artificial construction." You can see and participate in the exhibit Thursday the 19th at 6pm at Feast.