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Student showcase at heart of final Arts Dawg event

Pioneer Square

Minutes before I shut my computer down and headed over to the Henry Art Gallery for the season’s final Arts Dawg event, my phone vibrated with bad news: My date for the evening was stuck at work and would be unable to join me to check out the Henry’s annual MFA + MDes 2013 Thesis Exhibition.

In an ironic twist, Jen – the same coworker who spearheaded this date series in the first place – volunteered to be my date for the evening. The only catch? We made a pact to leave work talk back at the office.

It proved to be an easy bargain to keep. We walked into the café for the pre-show reception, where a trio of students provided live music while the rest of the Arts Dawg patrons mingled and enjoyed appetizers. Jen and I each grabbed an amber ale from Ballard-based Hilliard’s Beer and stepped outside, where we talked about career aspirations, hobbies, and upcoming weekend plans.

In between the chatter, we found a few minutes to explore the exhibit. With such an incredible array of works on display, the exhibit itself demanded more time than we had. But one video piece in particular caught our eye; a short film about Pioneer Square played in one corner, examining the past, present and future of Seattle’s historic neighborhood. Architects and restaurateurs alike talked about the challenges facing Pioneer Square, its value to the city, and what the future might hold.

Throughout the evening, we talked to other patrons about the series. I asked other attendees about their favorite events over the previous six months, and remarkably, no consensus emerged. Some raved about the “Plastics Unwrapped” exhibit at the Burke Museum; others commented about the action-packed “Once Upon a Time 6x in the West;” and yet others praised Ana Moura’s achingly beautiful voice and stage presence.

A few singled out this evening’s MFA + MDes 2013 Thesis Exhibition. Some patrons enjoyed the wide variety of work on display, and others appreciated being able to talk with the student artists on hand for the event.

It underscored for me the true value of the series. Nearly everyone I chatted with said they wouldn’t have attended such a variety of events on their own. But, whether they fully understood – or even enjoyed – everything, they appreciated the exposure and diversity of events.  From the energetic performance of “The Rite of Spring” to the eclectic display of student work at the Henry, the Arts Dawg series truly showcased something for everyone. There was something for arts aficionados and curious newbies alike, and I’m excited to see what kind of arts buffet gets served next year.


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