Spring Arts Preview 2013: Three New Venues Rethink Arts Space

New local arts venues are being built on expansive thinking and creative workarounds.

Walden Three

If you build it, they will come, right? What if you get a schematic of the place drawn up, build a website for it and write blog posts reporting on (fictional) arts events that (never) took place at the (imagined) space? Then will they come? Seattle’s Greg Lundgren aims to find out with his latest creative endeavor, Walden Three, a proposed revamping (funders welcome!) of the former Lusty Lady space as a hub of arts creation and presentation. Only the first blog entry reveals the whole truth—and the inspiring scope—of the visionary project. w3seattle.com

12th Avenue Arts

The police need a place to park. Artists need a place to perform. People need an affordable place to live. What might be seen as competing interests have been combined into an innovative use of Capitol Hill real estate with the 12th Avenue Arts space. In the works for 14 years, the multi-use building (public groundbreaking 2/21; opening 2014) will hold two theaters (and three resident companies: New Century Theatre Company, Washington Ensemble Theatre and Strawberry Theatre Workshop), 88 affordable apartments and underground police parking. It’s a kumbayah concept that just might work. 1620 12th Ave. capitolhillhousing.com

Olson Kundig Storefront

Architecture firms aren’t particularly known to have an open-door policy (after all, they’re doing God’s work in there!), but legendary Seattle firm Olson Kundig is changing all that by opening the “storefront” section of its Pioneer Square office for a collaborative series of public arts events. To date, the space has housed a fake record store, a mushroom farm, a human-sized snow globe and a bookstore where all the books are free. (Next up: local artist Mark VonRosenstiel’s giant contraption that writes “I want all of this. All of this I want” on the floor, over and over.) It adds up to a community art space that’s engaging, clever and above all, welcoming. Olson Kundig, 406 Occidental Ave. S; olsonkundigarchitects.com