Arts Education Panel Discussion

Sunday November 4, 2-3:15PM
Arts Education Panel Discussion

As part of the Youth Philanthropy Project, PONCHO hosts a panel of local experts to discuss the strengths, needs and issues of the local arts education community. This panel discussion is free (with suggested donation) and open to the public. Panelists include: Karen Sharp (Seattle Children’s Theatre), Randy Engstrom (Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs), Estevan Munoz-Howard (Social Justice Fund) and Elizabeth Whitford (Arts Corps). Reservations are requested for patrons that are not members of YPP to


Founded in 1963, PONCHO (Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Puget Sound through increasing resources and community support for the arts. PONCHO acts as a catalyst for change in the arts sector by leveraging relationships with arts, philanthropic and education communities. Launched in 2012, PONCHO’s Arts Education Initiative ensures K-12 students in King and Pierce counties have equitable access to quality arts education.


The Beautiful Mistake by Garrett Fisher


Any classical musician will tell you: they’ve been trained to believe that mistakes are a very, very bad thing. Most classical musicians have had drilled into them the goal of perfection – that the best performance was one that adheres the most strictly to the score, that doesn’t deviate in any way from what’s written on the page. The performer must get 100% of the notes right in order to get an A+; anything less is an F.

Sounds scary, right? How can any musician actually enjoy this?

On the other hand, the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi celebrates imperfection and asymmetry as key elements in art. It shows that a human being is behind the creation, not a computer program.

As a composer, much of what I do is created in rehearsal, and it’s through the performer’s own interpretations of my music that I feel that the music is given life.

I rarely put in tempo markings, dynamics, articulations. I discover them.

When I first moved to Seattle, I took Indian vocal lessons and was introduced to the Indian raga. I was inspired by this fluid and poetic, yet highly structured approach to improvisation. Since then, I’ve embedded my own “ragas” into my scores, in which the performer is required to be part of the process, as opposed to the end-result. It creates more spontaneous performances; and it excites me to think that there might not be just one interpretation of my music.

My general rule is, make it your own, but be true to the spirit. While I grant the performer a lot of leeway, there are times when I do feel that the performer has veered too far from what I intuitively believe to be the intention – the mysterious intersection between my artistic self and the piece I’m trying to create.

But there are times when, even if the performer tries to change, they just keep going back to the way they were doing it. This is what I call the beautiful mistake. It’s my own version of wabi-sabi. It might not be what’s written or directed, but it’s who the performer is. It’s how they were meant to perform the role.

This way of working extends to other elements too, like production design. With my latest project Magda G, I’ve been working with artist Tori Ellison on a paper dress, to be worn by countertenor José Luis Muñoz who plays the lead. Instead of giving Tori explicit parameters, I’ve given her poetic ones: fragility, filo dough, Nazi, paper, danger. It’s been great to see how she’s developed this and made it her own, while staying true to the spirit.

I’ll be rehearsing Magda next Tuesday (October 16) at the Project Room @ 8 pm, before we perform it at Barca Lounge on Friday, October 19. It’ll be an open rehearsal, so come by! The thing about beautiful mistakes is that they can’t be planned, so I can’t guarantee anything. But a good, if imperfect, time shall be had by all.

Update: we just learned that Magda G (the screenplay) was shortlisted at the 2012 Gotham Screen International Film Festival!

Photo: José Luis Muñoz as Magda. Courtesy of Tim Aguero.


Solutions with Steven Strogatz: An entertaining mathematical demonstration

Thursday, October 11, 11am-12pm

The Project Room welcomes New York Times contributor and author of The Joy of X, Steven Strogatz, for some morning mathematics! A frequent guest on Radiolab and ambassador of making math engaging for anyone, Strogatz will present his perspective on different kinds of “solutions” as our final event in the Solutions topic.

If you are a creative maker of things and find little to like about numbers, this is the event for you! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early!

Steve will also be presenting The Joy of X at Town Hall Seattle on October 10 at 7:30pm. Listen to him read, buy your book, and then join us at TPR the next morning for more fun with Steve!


Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.  He holds a joint appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences (Mathematics) and the College of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).

After graduating summa cum laude in mathematics from Princeton in 1980, Strogatz studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He did his doctoral work in applied mathematics at Harvard, followed by a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard and Boston University. From 1989 to 1994, Strogatz taught in the Department of Mathematics at MIT. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1994.

Strogatz is passionate about public outreach and loves sharing the beauty of math and science with a wide audience. He has spoken at TED and is a frequent guest on RadioLab. In the spring of 2010 he wrote a weekly blog about mathematics for the New York Times; the Harvard Business Review described these columns as “must reads for entrepreneurs and executives” and “a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized.” His second New York Times series, Me, Myself and Math, appeared in the fall of 2012. Strogatz has also filmed a series of 24 lectures on Chaos for the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series. He is the author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (1994), Sync (2003), and The Calculus of Friendship (2009). His most recent book, The Joy of x, was published in October 2012.

Open Rehearsal of Magda G Featuring The Fisher Ensemble


Tuesday, October 16, 8-9:30pm

The Project Room has followed the making of the opera-within-a-film, Magda G, through a public script reading, a musical demonstration, and a series of blog entries about the process. Now, TPR welcomes The Fisher Ensemble back for an open rehearsal as this ambitious and unusual project develops for the live stage. Director and composer Garrett Fisher will share his perspective with the audience on how one goes about creating opera and film together, while Fisher Ensemble members perform exerpts from the opera itself. Expect interesting insights into what it’s like to be a cast member of this remarkable production.

About Magda G:
Infused with hints of the Greek tragedy Medea, Magda (with libretto by Amy Schrader) is based on wife of Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Magda bore six children, whose  names all began with the letter “H,” supposedly out of reverence for Hitler. In 1945, in the war’s waning hours, Magda Goebbels murdered her children in the Führerbunker before committing double suicide with her husband. In Euripides’ play, Medea murders her children to seek revenge against her unfaithful husband. Magda, on the other hand, performed the act as protest against a quickly changing political landscape. The opera explores the similarities and differences between these  two figures and their stories.

In 2013-4, this opera will become the key element of a new film, Magda G ( directed by Ryan K Adams and written by Garrett Fisher/Amy Schrader. The film centers on the actress Maria Halcón who stars in the production, and who finds herself implicated in the opera’s story and  subject matter in unusual (and unfortunate) ways. This Greek tragedy-within-an-opera-within-a-film reveals itself much like a Russian doll, and resonates with our own culture’s struggle to  discern what is real and what is propaganda, what is historical and what is fictional, cutting to the  very core of our struggle to make sense of a confusing and ever-innovating universe. Magda has received support from 4Culture.

About the Fisher Ensemble:
The Fisher Ensemble ( creates music-theater that seeks to be a
vital part of our community and culture. Combining diverse influences into a unique sound, the
Ensemble’s works invite audiences to re-imagine the contemporary world through lenses of myth and history. Since the company’s founding in 1994, the Fisher Ensemble has presented twelve full length pieces which incorporate music, movement and theater in both Seattle and New York City. Seattle-based composer Garrett Fisher creates pieces that highlight the ensemble’s eclectic instrumentation – regularly employing Indian harmonium, 6 string fretted acoustic bass, gongs, Taiko percussion, and flute. The Fisher Ensemble has expanded to garner international recognition as well as critical acclaim from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. The ensemble’s most recent work “Kocho,” was recently produced by Beth Morrison in New York City in 2011.

The role of Magda is performed by José Luis Muñoz ( Muñoz, a Mexican-American countertenor, was described  by the San Francisco Bay Times as, “amazing, powerful expression” for his work in the role, El Alma, which he created in Carla Lucero’s world premiere of the opera Juana.  This Fall he will make his debut in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis with the Cornish Opera.  In 2011 he sang the role of Melissa with the Cornish Opera Theatre in Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina, under the direction of Stephen Stubbs.  In the spring of 2013 José Luis returns to the stage to solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Powder River Symphony in Wyoming. He was also a winner in the California Opera Association Competition.


Future Solutions


Open studios with zeroplus architects
Wednesdays from 2-5pm (and one Monday from 12-2pm)
September 5 – October 24, 2012


Offering another look at the topic, Solutions, The Project Room presents an eight-week residency with architects Joshua Brevoort and Lisa Chun of zeroplus. Every Wednesday from 2-5pm, Josh and Lisa will bring their studio practice to TPR to tackle the question of what the next generation of the built environment will look like. Some of the issues they will address are urbanization living, building fabrication, and digital augmentation.

Special guests from different areas of expertise will join them and share their skills- stop by to see what they’re making!


About the Artists:

Joshua Brevoort architect and futurist, co-founded zeroplus in 1999, an architectural practice that includes the questioning of futures and focused on how the built environment is effected by technology, infrastructure, and social interaction, as well as work rooted in the practicalities of construction and turning the visions of exceptionally creative clients into build places.  He has taught, reviewed and lectured at both the University of Washington and Washington State University Schools of Architecture, exhibited at University of British Columbia, Emily Carr Gallery, the AIA Seattle gallery, awarded a couple of AIA awards and have been published widely in both print and digital media.

Lisa Chun has practiced design and architecture in multiple spheres in for the past 25 years. In 1999, she co-founded zeroplus, a design firm that finds the intersection of traditional practice of building and urban projects with research based investigations. The work of the zeroplus has been recognized with design awards in addition to being exhibited and published widely. Alongside her work at zeroplus, Lisa has taught, lectured, and reviewed at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Cornish College of the Arts.

Images: (Top) float.jpg A process model for a project that was developed for the Korean Expo 2012, featuring an ocean pavilion that would move with the tides while acting as a remediation device in a polluted bay and an interpretive site for visitors to understand the world’s oceans.

(Bottom) DEWelectric.jpg (detail) A proposal for an energy generating and a water collection field for the City of Dubai. Modeled after the Namibian Beetle that collects water during the transition from night to day, the “plops” use sea water to cool air and collect the condensation while generating power by harnessing the wind created by the temperature change.

Special guests who are scheduled to work in TPR with zeroplus during Future Solutions:

Eric Baldwin, Architect, biologist, future thinker

Ian Campbell grew up in Arkansas receiving his degree in architecture from the University of Arkansas ‐ Fay Jones School of Architecture. Ian has traveled around the world studying architecture and design with resident programs in Italy, Mexico and Denmark. Before founding RSVR, Ian designed projects with several internationally award winning design firms including Zero Plus Architects (Seattle, WA), Lead Pencil Studio (Seattle, WA) and Works Partnership Architecture (Portland, OR). His design experience ranges from large scale commercial projects to small residential remodels and temporary artistic installations. In his current collaboration with Benjamin Gray, Ian is exploring the intersection of architecture, art and industrial design through temporary and permanent installation works.

Shahana Dattagupta works as a creativity catalyst, strategist and storyteller. The domains of her work include architecture, visual art, creative writing, Indian classical music and theater. Shahana believes that creativity is at the heart of a thriving and purposeful human existence, and that its conscious practice can heal, empower and transform both in the personal and in the collective. Her discovery that “present” storytelling can be used as a generative device for one’s life, work and impact on humanity is the basis of all her endeavors. Through Flying Chickadee’s zine and workshops, Shahana delights in guiding others past their fears to their innate creative power, and witnessing together, their creative and entrepreneurial projects birth not only something new and valuable for the world, but also their own inner lights and thriving lives.

Cameron Hall, Architect, Urbanist, systems designer extrodinaire.

Flora Goldthwaite- It’s not business as usual in the future; we get to create it. Let’s make choices that will benefit us all and tell a beautiful story of how it will be. My mission is to inspire and mobilize influential people & organizations to benefit society through conscious choices in alignment with their inherent moral centers. While our moral imperative is serious business, I intend to inspire through conventional and unconventional means. More of my vision, philosophy, and experience are spotted throughout my stories. I invite you to collaborate with me on future projects. 21 years of Microsoft experience; the last 11 were spent imagining the future along with a great interdisciplinary team. Together with key stakeholders we created presentations and prototypes that embody the company’s dreams for future technology and computing. Upon leaving the company my primary responsibility had been managing the vision and experience within the Microsoft Home. A world class future envisioning facility housed within the Redmond Executive Briefing Center, the Microsoft Home is the most requested and highest rated session offered to business guests.

Annie Han, Daniel Mihalyo- Lead Pencil Studio is the working name of the art and architecture collaborative founded in 1997 by Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo. After their meeting at the University of Oregon in 1991, they founded Lead Pencil Studio in order to cooperatively pursue installation art, site specific art, and functional architecture. Drawing equally from architecture and the studio arts, their work is an exploration of the history and memory of occupied sites and spatial gestures at the architectural scale. Their practice is self‐described as “architecture in reverse…our projects are everything about architecture with none of its function…spaces with no greater purpose than to be perceived and question the certainty posited by the man‐made world” They are winners of the 2007 Founder’s Rome Prize in architecture from the American Academy in Rome, and were recognized in 2006 as an “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York.

Greg Howes, Partner at Cut My Timber and CEO, IDEAbuilder. He has more than 15 years of experience in residential construction and 10 years in technology companies. Greg is a builder, maker and fabricator.

Amy Lindemuth, Site Designer With a background in anthropology and years spent in the high desert of New Mexico, Amy appreciates the larger processes which connect natural, cultural, and urban landscapes. Her interests are in creating healthy, sustainable spaces that engage users with each visit. Amy has worked on a variety of projects from regional and community parks to streetscapes and campus design. She is inspired by design innovations that are holistic and culturally responsive in approach.

Shannon Loew is the founder of Form In Context (a.k.a. FIX), a small real estate development company focused on urban infill projects that stimulate community through shared values of innovation and creativity. FIX is the culmination of Shannon’s on‐going pursuit to create great places with inspiring, relevant design. Shannon is an associate member of the AIA, LEED certified and holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental architecture from Vassar College. He has worked with some of the largest real estate developers in the country, prize winning architects in the US and Europe and at IDEO where he designed on a range of issues from apparel retail to sustainable mineral resource extraction. Clients have included Marriott, Nike, Rio Tinto, and Forest City. Prior to his career in architecture, Shannon worked in marketing and business consulting for seven years in New York and South Africa on a diverse set of industries.

Fred Metz, Founder Spiral Arts. Maker. Artist. Machinist. Manipulator of space and time.

Ana Pinto da Silva leads design for Microsoft’s Strategic Prototyping and Advanced Strategies Group (StratPro). Her work synthesizes her interests in storytelling, architecture and emerging technologies and her deep passion for creative collaboration. Her previous experience includes game development, architecture, and interactive media. Her work has garnered several awards including the Al Falah Grant from U.C. Berkeley in 2002 and a Webby Worthy Award in 2003. In addition to her media work, she has been an instructor at San Francisco State’s Multimedia Studies Program developing and teaching courses on interactive media history and development. She has extensive non‐profit board experience including her current work as a board member for Artist Trust and is the founder of Seattle’s Pecha Kucha chapter. Ana received her bachelor’s in architecture from U.C. Berkeley and her MDesS from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. She is a graduate of Seattle’s Leadership Tomorrow program, serving as class valedictorian in 2009.

Gundula Proksch is a scholar, registered architect and architectural educator. Her current research investigates sustainable infrastructure for cities with applied living systems, such as urban agriculture. The research particularly considers flows of water, energy and waste. Over her career, her work explores innovative approaches to design and research projects ranging from the transformation and remediation of urban landscapes to the integration of new technologies in building envelopes. Over the past 18 years she has practiced architecture in New York, London, Zurich, Vienna, Berlin and Seattle. She is currently a faculty member at the University of Washington, after teaching at Parsons, Cornell, and the University of the Arts in Berlin.

Ken Yocum, PHD‐assistant professor, University of Washington. With a background in wildlife ecology, landscape architecture, and urban planning, Ken brings over 12 years of professional experience in restoration design, watershed analysis, land use planning, and field‐based research. He recently joined the landscape architecture faculty at the University of Washington focusing his teaching and research on topics associated with urban ecological design and planning. Prior to joining academia he was employed with ESA Adolfson, an environmental consulting firm in Seattle doing a wide range of work from small scale site design to managing watershed analysis and planning projects. He also worked for nearly six years with Seattle Public Utilities focusing on the analysis and management of several urban watersheds.


The PONCHO Youth Philanthropy Project

The Project Room is pleased to partner with the non-profit arts organization, PONCHO, to host the first PONCHO Youth Philanthropy Project. During the 2012/2013 school year, a dedicated group of young people will meet on Sunday afternoons in TPR to learn about philanthropy though a series of presentations, discussions, and events, a selection of which will be open to the public. At the conclusion of the program, the group will identify recipient(s) of a youth-based education grant.

Interested in participating? If you are between the ages of 15-19, you are invite to apply here.

Stay tuned for the calendar of public events associated with this program.

About Youth Philanthropy Project

PONCHO’s Youth Philanthropy Project (YPP) is for up to 20 young leaders, ages 15-19, with an interest and passion in making a positive impact for arts and education in our community. With mentorship from community experts and PONCHO staff, YPP members will learn about arts education issues, share personal perspectives, participate in all aspects of a grant-making process, and award funding to local organizations for arts education programs in King and Pierce Counties.

YPP meets from October 2012-May 2013 (approximately once a month) on Sundays from 2-5 pm



Founded in 1963, PONCHO (Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Puget Sound through increasing resources and community support for the arts. PONCHO acts as a catalyst for change in the arts sector by leveraging relationships with arts, philanthropic and education communities. Launched in 2012, PONCHO’s Arts Education Initiative ensures K-12 students in King and Pierce counties have equitable access to quality arts education.

Art & Technology: Gettin’ It On (Event #3)

Saturday September 15, 7-8:30pm

The Project Room presents the final results of this three-part experiment in bringing artists and technologists together to meet, talk, and make! The work presented during Gettin’ it On will be based on the topic “Debris and Value,” which came about during the first two events. Participants will work together creatively and constructively to demonstrate proof-of-concepts and present these ideas to an audience and two special guest panelists. A presented idea might be a website, an object, a performance, or some other kind of prototype. So join us to see what’s been made!

Special Guests:

Donald Byrd- Tony Award nominated choreographer (“The Color Purple”, 2006), and Artistic Director of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Company.

Sarah Novotny- Chief Information Officer for the Seattle-based gaming company, Meteor Entertainment, and Founder of the database company Blue Gecko.


This event is part of TPR’s summer topic, Solutions.

Participants (L-R): Writer Lesley Hazelton, Writer and Art Critic Jen Graves, and CEO of Potavida Charlie Matlack in discussion at Speed Dating (Event #1)


More about the Art & Technology experiment:

Event #1 was Speed Dating, in which ten artists and ten technologists went on six-minute “dates” while ten “chaperones” tweeted their observations. Read the Twitter highlights here.

Event #2 was Dinner & A Movie, during which the participants discussed a topic of their choosing from Event #1 in front of an audience.

Now, they will come together one last time to make something…

Art & Technology: Dinner & A Movie (Event #2)

July 11, 7-9pm

Solutions, TPR’s summer topic, continues as the artists and technologists who went on speed dates last week gather in TPR to tackle a question, this time in a group discussion format. The participants will work together to define, explore, and play with the following topic:

What’s it worth to you? (The relationship between Debris & Value)
This topic gets at the idea of how we treat “leftovers” in society, time, design, and as part of the making process. It also asks the question of how we value debris and how to manage these leftovers.

This event is open to the public- more information about what role the audience will play will be announced early next week.

Read more about Event #1, Speed Dating, and the Twitter results.


Left: Speed Dating Chaperone Jen Graves (and art critic at The Stranger) observes a conversation between author Leslie Hazleton (left) and CEO & Co-Founder at PotaVida, Charlie Matlack (right), in TPR on June 27.


Art & Technology: Speed Dating (Event #1)

June 27, 7-9pm

Open to the public via Twitter: #projectroomSEA / #10Art10Tech

Read some of the Twitter results here.

Read a review from The Stranger here.

To kick off the summer program series, Solutions, The Project Room is bringing together ten artists and ten technologists for an introductory evening of investigation, problem-solving, and socializing. This is part I of a series dedicated to mixing makers of art and technology.

Organized in the “speed dating” format, participants will engage in brief one-on-one conversations in which they’ll get to know what the other person makes (as best they can in about seven minutes) while “chaperones” eavesdrop on the dates and Tweet their observations in real time.

By the evening’s end– 100 conversations later– the group will have generated a few problems to be tackled at the following public event on July 11. 

Event #2: Dinner and a Movie - July 11 will be free and open to the public, so come to TPR July 11 to continue the experiment with us!

With these different types of “makers” coming from diverse creative backgrounds, the goal is to tap into the rich intellectual capital in this region and encourage people to think about how problems are addressed and solutions are tested in fields that often do not interact with each other. Participants will stretch their brains, expand their vocabulary and find common language in the space of problem-solving. While the problems may seem concrete on the outset, all sorts of theories and philosophical reflections are expected to emerge as we think about how each creative realm addresses problems. At the conclusion of the evening, a groundwork should exist for future connections that will continue to grow as the experiment continues.

The Participants


Pete Bjordahl: Founder and CEO, Parallel Public Works
Ezra Cooper: Software Engineer, Google
Hsu-Ken Ooi: Founder,
Charlie Matlack: CEO & Co-Founder at PotaVida; PhD Candidate at UW
Elisabeth Robson: Computer Scientist
Ethan Schoonover: Technology consultant, web design
Korby Sears: Senior Producer, Discovery Bay Games; Principal Composer, Tejas Tunes
Sooyoung Shin: Software Engineer
Redwood Stephens: Mechanical Engineering Department Head, Synapse
Dave Zucker: Mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, designer, tinkerer


Byron Au Yong: Composer
SJ Chiro: Filmmaker
Lesley Hazleton: Writer
Jean Hicks: Milliner, visual artist
Bill Horist: Improvisational musician, Composer
Jeffry Mitchell: Ceramicist/Visual artist
Amy O’Neal: Dancer, Choreographer
John Osebold: Composer, performer
Stokley Towles: Performer
Claude Zervas: Sculptor/Visual artist

Chaperones- follow them on Twitter during the event, or at projectroomSEA:
Matthew Baldwin: Writer @matthewbaldwin
Brangien Davis: Arts & Culture Editor, Seattle Magazine @brangien
Jen Graves: Art Critic, The Stranger @JenGraves
Nancy Guppy: Producer and Host, Seattle Channel @azwithnancyg
Harmony Hasbrook: Designer and Writer, Parallel Public Works @ParallelPW
C. Davida Ingram: Writer, artist, cultural worker  @idebelle76
Charles Mudede: Social critic and filmmaker @mudede
Sasha Pasulka: Vice President of Product & Marketing, Salad Labs @SashRocks
Joey Veltkamp: Artist and Art Writer @joeyveltkamp
Jenifer Ward: Associate Provost, Cornish College of the Arts; Editor, TPR’s Off Paper @jenifer_ward


This program has been co-created by Interdisciplinary Artist Susie Lee and Co-Founder Hsu-Ken Ooi in partnership with The Project Room.