2017 By the Numbers

So much has happened this year, it’s difficult to keep track of everything. But I’ve managed to break down this year’s highs and lows into some concrete numbers to help measure everything I’ve experienced this year.

$489

Amount saved in rent every month after moving from an almost-one-bedroom apartment by myself into a house shared with roommates. Seattle is now one of the top 5 most expensive cities to rent and live in, even more than New York City and Los Angeles. The standard for measuring housing affordability is 30% of your income, and data published by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies in 2015 found that nearly half of Seattle renters spend more than 30% of their income, and almost a quarter of renters are spending more than 50%.

$455

Amount given to philanthropy, including organizations that make music and the arts more accessible, provide resources for students who want to learn a new skill, and sponsoring friends who are fundraising for a cause or actively working towards their dreams. Seattle is home to plenty of nonprofits, and with two of the the top five spots on Forbes’ 2016 Richest Americans list currently living in the city, it’s no surprise that philanthropy has deep roots in our community.

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Metropolis Editor Susan Szenasy Talks Seattle Design

Susan Szenasy has been the editor in chief of Metropolis magazine, a New York-based publication devoted to world design and architecture, for almost 30 years. She is an internationally recognized authority on sustainability and design, and sits on the board of organizations like the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. Susan recently came to Seattle to share a dialogue with an interested audience at an overflowing Seattle Design Festival event at Cornish College. I had an opportunity to sit down with Susan the morning after the event and hear a bit more about why she thinks the next big thing in art and architecture will come out of Seattle.

metropolis covers

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TwispWorks (Part Two)

Twisp is a mountain community of workers relying on their hands and the natural resources around them, and has been since it was founded in 1897. The entire Methow Valley is full of people creating new things, both out of necessity and inspiration. When the historic Forest Service headquarters was decommissioned in 2002, the Twisp neighborhood had strong ideas about what should be done with the building vacant. They wanted to honor the site’s past and its significance to local history and industry, but use the space for a new project that will help Twisp look forward.

“Mostly we wanted to make something that the public can benefit by, that is able to give back to the community,” says a former local Forest Ranger, “If it couldn’t be a ranger station, I think [TwispWorks] is the next best option.”

TwispWorks

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Choose Your Own New Year’s Eve 2014 Adventure!

Like many of you, I have been so busy recovering from Christmas that I’ve barely had any time to plan anything for New Year’s Eve. This time of year when I naturally reminisce about everything that has happened over the past 365 days, it only seems appropriate that the year end with a celebration of the good things of 2013, and a ‘good riddance’ to the not-so-good things. Fortunately, Seattle is one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan cities (over 630,000 residents and counting), so there are dozens of great parties and gatherings to choose from. I can plan the perfect New Year’s Eve 2014 with one simple question: what Seattle public radio station do you listen to?

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Franz von Stuck at the Frye Art Museum

Franz von Stuck did not begin as a painter, but as a graphic designer and an architect. Born in Bavaria in 1863, Stuck showed an early talent for drawing and caricature. He attended the Munich Academy from 1881 to 1885 where he refined his artistic style. Stuck first became relatively well-known when he began illustrating cartoons for the German weekly satirical magazine, Fliegende Blätter, a publication with 95,000 copies at its peak circulation, and featured other artists such as Wilhelm Busch and Julius Klinger. Stuck supplemented his magazine work with providing drawings for book covers, pamphlets and promotional posters. Here Stuck begins exploring the creation of icons and the legendary, biblical and mythical symbols that will later dominate his painting career.

Poster for an international science expo
Poster for an international science expo

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Wakuda Studios’ Jonathan Wakuda Fischer

Anyone walking by the Dexter-Denny intersection lately probably won’t notice the large orange and black mural that’s gone up within the last couple of weeks on the sides of 90.3 FM KEXP.  In fact, many of the studio’s neighbors don’t know there is a radio station there at all – the gray concrete one-story block, affectionately called the Berlin Wall, looks far too small to house the approximately 80 employees and 200 volunteers they have on rotation to keep the non-profit studio running smoothly.

I got a chance to take a break from preparations for the fall fundraising drive to talk with artist Jonathan Wakuda Fischer as he put the finishing touches on the mural. He has been a longtime listener and donor to KEXP since he moved to Washington from Wisconsin 8 years ago. “I didn’t know I wanted to be an artist before I came to Seattle,” Jonathan says, “I found my creative self here.”

The mural features many Seattle icons - the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, and great music. Photo credit: Louisa Gaylord
The mural features many Seattle icons – the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, and great music. Photo credit: Louisa Gaylord

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Seattle’s “Trashion” Designers

In a span of several years, our society has taken an interest in biodiesel cars, wind power and composting. It makes us feel proactive to be helping the environment as a part of our everyday lives. But few take recycling to the level of outlandish fun as the International Sustainability Institute. ISI’s Trash Fashion Bash event is designed to “entertain, educate and empower others to rethink, reuse and recycle” by making haute couture fashions from society’s trash to be featured in benefit runway shows. It begins with a suit.

Pants made from recycled coffee bean bags, a Seattle favorite. Photo credit: Louisa Gaylord
Pants made from recycled coffee bean bags, a Seattle favorite. Photo credit: Louisa Gaylord

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