This month we are feeling audacious… enough to say that Seattle is in need of an image makeover, after all grunge is dead and the hipsters have gotten boring with their derivative everything. So our theme for the month is Young Again.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that a new culture has been developing over the last few years, and it has arrived. But who can define it? It looks like a hybrid of eclectic groups moving in to work for Amazon while some aspects of it aren’t new at all. Pioneer Square is still the epicenter for art, as it has been since the 70s, it and adjoining neighborhoods have been a cultural anchor to diverse communities for decades upon decades. Yet, all over the city, neighborhoods are changing and filling with new faces from innovators, to engineers, creatives and media freaks. Is there a common thread among these varying groups of people? The fact that being smart, creative and socially conscious seem to be high priorities on every Seattleites list of desirable character traits never changes. And when you talk to the newbies in town, those are the traits they expect to find in the more established local community. In fact, it’s why they’re excited to be here.
Members of the new culture don’t have the usual adolescent insecurity that plagues this last generation. Refreshingly, they don’t see themselves as oppressed by their circumstances. Why should they? They’re employed and young with a big open world of possibilities in front of them. They look you in the eye when they smile at you as you walk by on the street. They have style, manners and are genuinely curious about the city, people and happenings around them. They think the Seattle freeze is a joke—as in not real—and they don’t need to impress you with a name drop of the last restaurant they dined in. In fact, they think it’s cute when you do that, but they would rather learn something real about you… even if it means you don’t vote the same way as them.
This is a talented bunch, this hybrid of established locals and young techies, with a lot to offer. For this group, Seattle is a great place to be, as so much is happening and about to happen. If you find yourself among this type, the city is lucky to have you. You are a much needed grounding force. If not, relax and reinvigorate yourself by checking out this new community and be young again.
Start with a fresh perspective, like one you might find attending NFFTY, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, a showcase for emerging talent and the largest youth film festival in the world. Since the competition to get into to it is so fierce, these young film makers aren’t the naive inexperienced kids we might assume they are, but rather passionate film makers who are exploring issues that effect them and sharing their version of reality. VS film writer Marcie McCabe gives more insight into the recent origins and rapid growth of NFFTY: Seattle’s Youthful Film Festival is One of Its Best.
Women of any age looking for an infusion of youthful style should check out Lisa Cole’s latest feature The Rites of Spring: Five Non-Floral Looks. From statement pieces, basics, accessories and fabulous footwear, Cole manages to include something for everyone this month. She highlights the best of gingham, fringe, denim and suede for everyone, from ladies who lunch to bohemians. Cole’s youthful and lighthearted approach won’t insult your need to take your personal style seriously—and be taken seriously, for that matter, but she will put a spring in your step. For men, I suggest the single most useful spring basic for any style conscious man. Tom Ford took on denim this spring in a big way, shifting it’s place across the board. This coincided with Valentino’s offering of the most outstanding and necessary basic, the denim blazer. Follow up in my post He’s My Mister April 2015: The Denim Blazer to learn more.
Most of us really don’t understand the impact of an education in art at an early age. Kids who are exposed to and taught art in it’s various forms have a better chance at succeeding in school, becoming more integrated into their communities and a better chance of obtaining good jobs. Certain organizations are committed to making sure youths from all backgrounds have access to creative outlets and facilities, and this includes the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. In Seattle’s Future Leaders and Artists Find a Start at Youngstown, arts writer David Strand explains the value of an arts education and how Seattle’s future rests in part with the programs offered at Youngstown:
“As Seattle experiences rapid and widespread change that displaces longtime residents—often working class and communities of color—Youngstown is a wonderful model not just of advocacy and education, but also of development done right. In essence, the programs at work at Youngstown are helping Seattle to grow up to be a better city while staying young at heart.”
Also this month, arts writer Claire Reiner covers three gallery shows in her Pioneer Square Gallery Recap: April 2015 and launches her new column, featuring an excursion to a local destination and her take on the geography, eateries, shops and galleries. Daytrippin’: Whidbey Island is a fresh take through youthful eyes still new to the area. Between these two articles, readers will have a range of gallery experiences and outings to keep them busy with a laid back easy west coast approach.
More this month: A new Persona interview from Leslie Wheatley, reviews and news from T.s. Flock, and the debut article from our newest writer, Lois Castelli-Leff, whose column What’s Good in Seattle looks at local activities and events to feed the mind, body and spirit.
I hope you find yourself feeling rejuvenated and fresh in April, not only because Spring has sprung, but because when you try something new and challenging or acquire a new perspective, good things can happen.
Thanks for reading, and happy April!