String, a dance and object theatre show for children ages 2-6, will come to Beacon Hill next week for five showings at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, November 14 and 15, and at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 16. The 35-minute show will be followed by a Q&A session with performer Mary Margaret Moore.
The show’s website describes String thusly:
“Every time that we witness 40 children focusing on the noise of a paper bag, we are deeply touched. Their deep concentration is truly magical.
“To create for children is to challenge them. In String, we stretch their capacity to decipher emotions. Small details, a raised eyebrow, a pinky movement, is enough to convey an emotion.”
The Beacon Rocks! music series project planned for this summer is moving full-speed ahead. Beacon Hill Music, the community group that is putting the event together, has been awarded a Small Sparks Fund grant. The Small Sparks Fund of the Department of Neighborhoods provides awards of up to $1,000 to support community efforts such as events and neighborhood organizing. They have awarded Beacon Hill Music $860 for the “Beacon Rocks!” series, which will pay for the permits for all four events this summer.
There are two fundraisers for Beacon Hill Music: a Backyard Party scheduled for Sunday, May 16 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, and a Dance Party on Saturday, May 22 from 7:00 pm “till we drop”. To RSVP for either event and get addresses and other information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final Beacon Idol event of 2010 is Saturday May 29 at 7:00 pm. If you live, work, or go to school in Beacon Hill, you can audition for Beacon Rocks! at the Beacon Idol event. If you’re not a performer, come and cheer the contestants on. The event will be at ROCKiT Space, 3315 Beacon Avenue South.
The Beacon Rocks! shows are a free, outdoor, family-friendly Beacon-centric music series, including all styles of music, and will be held on June 13, July 11, August 8, and August 29 at the new Festival Street next to Beacon Hill Station at Beacon Avenue South and South Lander Street.
Thank you for all of your recent and generous support, as we are working hard to provide a community center that supports and reflects the diversity and rich history of our Beacon Hill and Georgetown neighborhoods.
On Saturday March 27, 2010 between 5 and 7 p.m., you are invited to attend a special community meeting at ART’s to discuss upcoming events and options for further community involvement and support. All neighbors are invited so please spread the word!
As you know, we have been working closely with the City of Seattle to renew historic licensing allowing for the reinstatement of ART’s as the community corner where neighbors gather, share a cup of hot beverage, a tasty delight, and news of the day. It is our aim to continue this tradition and reopen the corner coffee shop as a community hub and center of creativity. To assist in this endeavor, ART’s has recently partnered with CULTURE FORUM, a non-profit Culture and Arts organization dedicated to artist and cultural exchange through community building.
ART’s current offering opens April 1 running through May 1, and is entitled MIXED: First Person and is a 42 minute multi-media stage play developed with the Evergreen State College, CULTURE FORUM, and of course ART’s.
We are very close to achieving our goals, but cannot do it without your input, involvement, and support. So please accept our invitation to attend this special meeting, and we hope to see you very soon at ART’s! If you have any questions, please feel free to give a call or just stop on by!
ART’s on Beacon Hill
4951 13th ave south 98108
Christian Ryser of CULTURE FORUM tells the Beacon Hill Blog that the city has agreed to reinstate the building’s original historic status and zoning, including retail and gallery use, and that they are allowing fundraisers to be held. The Mixed: First Person show is functioning as a fundraising effort for ART’s. He adds, “The bad news is that ART’s is suffering from the same banking malpractice as the rest of the world. Culture Forum has partnered with ART’s to provide artistic direction as well as an avenue for tax deductible donations. We are attempting to find a way to modify and or buy out the absurd loan on the building. ” They are working with an attorney from Beacon Hill in this effort.
Michael Perrone has a dream for an old grocery store near Maple Elementary School. In his dream, the old DeVos grocery store at 13th and Shelton, closed since 2005, would be a neighborhood gathering place, called Art’s on Beacon Hill. It would contain a coffeehouse with art on the walls, a jukebox, a player piano, and a performance studio. The building would be a resource and asset to neighbors in this mid-Beacon Hill neighborhood.
It hasn’t quite worked out as planned. Perrone painted, cleaned and decorated the old building, using vintage parts salvaged from the old grocery store in many places, and it looks just about ready to open. (In fact, an “Open” sign usually sits in the doorway.) But it remains officially closed, as it has since 2008 when the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) notified Perrone that he could not operate a “community theater” in part of the building.
The building’s history goes back a long way on Beacon Hill. Louis DeVos brought his family to the Hill in 1908, and in 1909, they moved into a house on South Shelton Street. A few years later, Louis bought the plot of land at 13th and Shelton and built a retail building there, first renting it to an Italian grocer, then establishing his own grocery business. The family business was successful, and eventually grew to include three stores including one at 2718 Beacon Avenue South (currently the location known as the empty “South China Restaurant” lot just south of Beacon Hill Station). Though two of the DeVos stores were closed during the Depression, the store at 13th and Shelton remained open into the 21st century, finally closing for good in August 2005. It was sold to Perrone as a “tear-down” in 2006.
Though the building had operated continuously as a commercial building since it was built in 1915, later in the 20th century the site was rezoned to SF5000 — single-family housing. Existing businesses such as the DeVos Grocery are allowed to continue in operation when their zoning changes, as a “non-conforming use.”
If the non-conforming use lapses for a certain amount of time, however, the building reverts to single-family, and a new business can’t go back to the non-conforming use. Seattle Municipal Code 23.42.104 B says: “A nonconforming use that has been discontinued for more than 12 consecutive months shall not be reestablished or recommenced.” There are certain exceptions, but it is unclear whether Perrone’s use of the DeVos building was what DPD required to maintain commercial status as required in the code. Perrone believes so; he did acquire a permit to install commercial-grade electrical service in the building, and he states that he also sold salvage from the building’s old contents to maintain commercial status until the coffeehouse could open.
In 2008, Perrone began using the building’s performance studio. In March of that year, the Beacon Hill Times/South District Journal (now South Seattle Beacon) ran an article about the plans for the former grocery, stating that it would be “a coffee shop, repertory theater and eventually an education center” and home to the Seattle Novyi Theatre repertory group.
In April of that year, a complaint was filed with DPD about his use of the building for theater rehearsals and performances. Perrone says that DPD declared the site in violation, and also told him that he could not legally live in the caretaker’s apartment and would be fined $1500/day for illegally residing there, retroactive to when he bought the building in 2006. “I owe the city a million and a half,” he says.
Later in 2008, says Perrone, he gave up, feeling pushed into a corner. In frustration, he told DPD “fine, turn it into a single-family residence.” Currently, an open application is on file with DPD to do so.
In the meantime, Perrone still fights to save the building for his original intended use, with pro bono help from a lawyer who grew up in the neighborhood. He has a petition signed by over 150 neighbors who support his plans for the DeVos building. “Only one neighbor said ‘no,'” he points out.
“My husband and I were so glad to see the building purchased, and Mike’s attempts to put something into this part of Beacon Hill that might help bring a ‘neighborhoody’ feel to the street. … Here’s a guy who’s trying to bring some energy and community building to our neighborhood… and getting stuck in red tape. We’d hate to see this building go back to being an empty space again. … Maybe someone in the neighborhood can help him cut through the red tape and get his project going! Something useful in this space would be so great for our street.”
With no way to legally open the coffeehouse, Perrone has been unable to pay the building’s mortgage since August. It is currently scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure sale on April 2, unless fate intervenes and Art’s on Beacon Hill can open.
Unfortunate update: We were improperly informed. The performance already occurred during the original re-opening. Our apologies for getting anyone’s hopes up. A couple of photos of the event are below:
We’ve received notice via Dorothy Orzel about a very special library re-opening celebration event tonight:
The Beaconettes have decided to perform their ode to the Beacon Hill Library outside the building tonight. The Beaconettes are an all women a cappella group — mostly Beacon Hill residents — who have a great talent for writing witty lyrics to classic tunes. They won Best New Group at last year’s Great Figgy Pudding Contest. It just happens that they had recently penned this tribute to that unexpectedly glorious building (and its staff), so the re-opening seemed a perfect occasion to perform for patrons and staff…