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Art Exhibit Evokes A Sense Of 'Placiness'

When a Seattle art colony was displaced by tunnel construction, preserving the downtown art scene was a tough nut to crack.  With space at a premium, some artists began doing what they do best:  they got creative — and partnered with developers to make space.

Jane Richlovsky is painter who calls herself an "accidental developer."  A new exhibit at her artists' studios,
'57 Biscayne, explores how artists interact with the city, and takes note of its changes.

“I did a TED Talk called, “When Artists Get Together They Talk About Real Estate,’” Richlovsky said.

After losing her studio, she found an old building on First and Cherry in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and now rents to artists. The building, named Good Arts, is home to the exhibit which has a certain sense of, well…  

“Placiness," she laughed.  “It was an homage to Stephen Colbert’s ‘Truthiness.’”

Richlovsky said it was bothering her that artists are often portrayed as victims.

“That we were the symbol of something else that people were nostalgic for in their city. Yeah, everybody is dealing with nostalgia and loss but that’s part of the human condition, and we’re responding by seeing the beauty in that,” she explained.

One of the artists featured is Gabi Campanario, you might know him as the Seattle Sketcher in the Seattle Times. Campanario’s ink and watercolor pieces torn right out his sketchbook are perhaps the most
"place-y" of all creative works.  They are drawings from life, sketched on-location.

“Being in the moment and maybe looking at the sky — the colors of the sky in the Puget Sound which are amazing —the texture of the bricks in the architecture in Pioneer Square; that’s what makes you feel alive," Campanario said.

For artists, Richlovsky says it’s important to stay in the city — and it seems they’ve found the perfect place: The Good Arts Building which was once home to a jazz club, a theater and a boxing gym run by George Chemeres, who was known for his colorful quotes.

“’I lived by the sweat of my imagination,’ Chemeres once exclaimed. “So we decided,” Richlovsky added, “we’re taking that as our motto.”

Placiness runs through August 28.