Georgetown is Seattle's oldest neighborhood. Once the site of numerous breweries and farming, the neighborhood still maintains it's vintage feel through the homes and small grocery stores, but Georgetown is far from a dying community. Take a stroll through the streets and you're sure to find artwork; hanging from the windows of the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall or between the walls of Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center. GACC is an artist-run organization that was founded in 2007. The building that the organization is in has a long history of it's own. For 60 years it was the Airport Hotel. Later, it was home to the Pacific Tavern and Star Brass Works. With it's long line of history came a great need for contemporary art to be appreciated. Recently, the director and lead renovator of GACC, Angielena Chamberlain, honored me with a tour of the art space.
I expected I would be met with the strong aroma of paint, but this aroma was barely present at all. Once inside, her two dogs greeted us with their eager want to play. In further observation I saw the walls, which were replete with paintings, featuring an array of colors that your mind could temporarily get lost in. We traveled into one room, where half-finished paintings rested by the wall. The light shone through the white-framed windows and rolls of cream paper covered almost every corner of the room. This was Chamberlain's space and I admired her retrospective analysis, as she took me back into the time when the painting was conceived. One of her paintings that stood out to me featured a blue hued woman in a meditating position, laying in the grass with what appeared to be a sun centered behind her. The great thing about art is that interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. To me, the blue woman displayed a peaceful state. It awoke me to the less discussed topic of being aware of your thoughts and your energy, and the sun confirmed my belief that luminescence lies at the center of every being.
After exploring some of her art collection, we continued to the hallway where an outside garden can be seen through the windows. What Chamberlain calls the 'Saint of The Aloe Vera Plant' stood just behind the aloe vera and appeared to be blessing the very soil the plant thrived in. This glass statue was personified with a cast of holy energy, that kept the garden full of life. Chamberlain says this saint has become more popular over the years, with many pictures being snapped. K Love 4 Arts owner, Carol Williams, suggested starting a Facebook page to showcase the statue's stardom. Maybe one day, this saint will garnish a hashtag of her own and millions will travel to Georgetown just to ravel themselves in her unseen magic.
Continuing on with my tour, the compact but welcoming kitchen caught my eyes. It was full of spices and pots and pans. At this point is where Angielena went deeper into her part-time Airbnb business, where she rents spaces to travelers or even artists who occupy an art space. Money made from Airbnb she uses to pay off certain finances for the building. The kitchen is open to all Airbnb users. And even if cooking isn't the greatest talent of the customers, many restaurants line the main road of Georgetown, just feet away. The food choice ranges: from pizza at Flying Squirrel to a burger and fries from Zippy's, just to name a few. Chamberlain also took us around to the rooms where guests stay. It was complimented with paintings hanging from the walls.
For the history and art that engulf this building, I doubt that Chamberlain will ever lose her flame of when it comes to allowing a space for artists to be free and to explore different styles and depths of themselves. Coming this space, I felt energy. Whether it was the Saint of the Aloe Vera Plant or something else, I will never know. But, I do know that spaces like this in Seattle make me hopeful for the future and the diverse and new business plans centered around art. The energy I felt in Georgetown shows me that in so called "dying" communities, a passion can always come and help it flourish.