Save Our Arts Centers

Help Spruce Up Seattle

Local arts centers need your vote to win a $125k preservation grant.

By Laura Dannen April 22, 2010

Town Hall’s terra cotta exterior needs some serious rehab.

Town Hall needs a facelift. Its terra cotta exterior and interior walls suffer from water damage, and its stained glass window is collapsing in on itself. The nearly 90-year-old building, home to dozens of monthly events—talks by David Remnick and Al Gore, concerts by cellist Joshua Roman—is one of 25 Puget Sound historic sites competing for $1 million in preservation grants. First prize: $125k. And the public gets to decide who wins.

Did you ever see Jimi Hendrix at Washington Hall? The old redbrick fraternal hall needs serious electrical and structural repairs to make it as a modern concert venue. Love the Chinese motifs at 5th Avenue Theatre? Those golden dragons will pop even more with a fresh coat of paint—in addition to three murals, long hidden behind blank panels, that they plan to restore. And Eastsiders should know that the Kirkland Arts Center, built by Kirkland’s founder in 1892, plans to redesign its second floor to improve its class/studio space.

UPDATED 4/29/10. Many of the nominated sites will hold an open house on May 1 and 2Washington Hall and Town Hall are both planning parties with live music.

—Enjoy jazz, hip hop and contemporary performance at Wash Hall from 7-11pm Saturday, followed by family-friendly activities, dance with Savoy Swing and more on Sunday from 1-4pm.

—Town Hall has a 12-hour performance marathon planned from 1pm Saturday to 1am Sunday, featuring 30 sets by locals musicians including Seattle Chamber Players, Stuart Dempster and William O. Smith, and emerging artists Byron au Yong and Garrett Fisher. Open house is Sunday 1-5pm. You can also enter to win a one-year pass for two to Town Hall, a Kindle with gift card, and select books if you vote for them.

As of April 29, Town Hall was in second place to Schooner Adventuress, 5th Avenue Theatre was in third, Kirkland Arts Center 9th, and Washington Hall hadn’t cracked the top 10.
To vote for your favorite arts center, go to the American Express Partners in Preservation website,, and click daily through May 12.

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