Trick Art Treat kicked off Thursday night with a VIP reception with Mayor Marilyn Strickland at the performance studio of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. While a few partygoers read the Halloween dress code as fast-and-louche – strutting about in sexy black feathered gear, shimmery kimonos or clouds of cotton candy hair – curiously, the Shakespearean actors wore strictly plainclothes. (Or do street clothes qualify as costume for period actors?) Not to be outdone, local artists flashed extravagantly tattooed skin and moved through the crowd like peacocks strolling the aisles of a grocery store.
Mayor Strickland had enthusiastic words for Spaceworks Tacoma, now in its fifth month. “When you have a marriage of business and the arts, it’s a good thing,” she said. “This is a community project,” added Andy Fife, executive director of Shunpike, a sponsoring partner of Spaceworks with the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. “You yourselves have become a destination,” City of Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride assured the artists present. Standing near the window under a clever cardboard tree stood a rotund and chipper little piñata man called Live by the Glue, Die by the Bat, by paper artist Cheryl Rux (Nichole Vandever created a piñata jack-o-lantern). We paid our respects to the Spaceworks avatar, then made our way out into the dark and gloomy night.
Next door at 915 Pacific Ave., the DJ of the Damned was spinning at Tiffanie Peters‘ ode-to-the-’70s dress shop, Chiffon. We barely escaped the temptation of trying on one, then two, then ten of her slinky creations, and hurried across the street to where more artists were assembled, at the huge workspace at 1114 Pacific Ave. We caught filmmaker Isaac Olsen, director of the noir feature, Quiet Shoes, next to his interesting footage of a beaver. Michael Kaniecki‘s steadily unfurling India ink scroll-in-progress was at this juncture a marvelous 45′ long and still growing. Textile artist Meghan Lancaster displayed an array of fiber art that was mystifying in its soft, woven complexity. Photographer Josh Everson (who also had striking paintings on view) was busy snapping portraits of visitors in scary costumes.
Gamely manning a table of artists’ products was Jennifer Adams, owner of the wonderful indie boutique, fly. How we wish we could turn back the clock for Jennifer, whose shop is temporarily closed due to smoke damage from a fire next door. We sincerely hope this terrific artist-entrepreneur will be pushing full speed ahead again, in no time.
In the window at 950 Pacific Ave., Alyson Piskorowski‘s installation, featuring floor-to-ceiling columns wound with flowing streams of white paper, seemed to emit a light of its own.
At 11th & Commerce, the Woolworth windows offered interesting food for thought (some of it literal). Alexandra Opie‘s sharp, interactive video installation had pedestrians straining to see their own image projected back onto a still life image inside the huge display window. Around the corner, the intriguing collections – make that “obsessions” – of Craig Snyder, Ruth Tomlinson, Tania Kupczak and Jessica Bender were on display for all the world to see. Italian-born photographer Alice di Certo‘s photographs of quintessential American scenes made us do a double-take, for her keen repositioning of the familiar. And Kyle Dillehay‘s stunning inquiry into the quality of our food sources featuring mutated pods, honeycombs and blossoms – some with small, forged copper helmets, each one unique – fascinated us with their repulsive beauty.
At 910 Broadway, Scott Huette and Sisy Anderson have carved out a tranquil moment with their dimensional, woodland-inspired installation, Remembrances. Re-Present (908 Broadway) is Holly Senn‘s elegant paean to the Pantages Theater; the classical architectural details that inspired her are actually reflected in the exhibit’s window. A frightening web made of castoff material covers the windows of Barbara De Pirro‘s work, vortex plastica, an inquiry into the catastrophe of waste at 912 Broadway.
We started walking back to 913 Pacific Ave. to see if the piñata man, Live by the Glue, Die by the Bat, had made it through the night, but then we thought the better of it. No matter the occasion, we just didn’t want to see the little guy get smashed.