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Central Library, Seattle

The 'Peephole' Series

In September 2002 seven artists were selected by the Library and the Seattle Arts Commission to make new work for the 'Peephole' series of temporary events to take place during 2003 whilst the new library was under construction.

The Peephole Series, costing up to $10,000 per commission, had its own funding stream of $50,000 coming from the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs (OACA), and was managed by OACA staff member Lisa Richmond. A call was issued to Washington State artists on the Seattle Arts Commission's regional mailing list, for suitably qualified artists in all media, including visual, literary and performing art forms. A number of workshops for potential applicants was co-funded by the SAC and the Library. The commissioned artists were selected by an advisory panel of artists, arts professionals, and library staff members including the director of Washington Center for the Book. The selected artists worked with staff members of the Library and the Arts Commission to develop their ideas.

The following six artworks were realised throughout 2003, in order of presentation:

Helen Lessick (visual/conceptual artist): Decimal Points, a series of 10 colourful bookmarks reflecting upon the Dewey Decimal book classification system, distributed month-by-month free to library users. (Temporary Central Library, Mar-Dec 2003)

Edie Whitsett (set designer): Peephole Theaters, a set of four toy theatres illustrating books from the library's collection, presented in small boxes literally only viewable through peepholes at the new library construction site. (New Central Library Site, May-Dec 2003)

Franklin Joyce (new media artist): Audio Art Walk, sound installation of dialogues and interviews around the theme of the behind-the-scenes life of the library on a typical day. (Temporary Central Library, June-July 2003)

Stokley Towles (performance artist): Central Public Library:A Physiological Study, an investigation into the inner life of the library, presented as a series of humorous lunchtime talks about the history and present activities of the library. (Temporary Central Library, Aug 2003)

Larry Stein (audio producer): Seattle's Living Room: The Library, 30min audio documentary for public radio. (broadcast on KUOW Public Radio, Aug 2003, & later added to the Library's CD collection)

Jim Woodring (comic artist): Frank Finds Out, three animated cartoons featuring the artist's best-known character exploring books from the library collection. (Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs Website, Winter 2003-2004)

© Copyright David Briers 2005