Manhattan has its Chinatown and Little Italy. Portland has its Pearl District. Soon, Everett will have its signature spot.
“When people see it they will say, ‘Wow what a cohesive area, and it’s all about the arts,'” said the city’s cultural arts manager, Carol Thomas. “Other cities, you can t
ell when you’ve entered a place that is special. That is what Hoyt will be to Everett.”
A three-block area of Hoyt Avenue — from Wall Street to Everett Avenue — is on the brink of becoming that special place in Everett known as the arts district.
The center of that specialness will be the new Schack Art Center.
This stunning multipurpose center with its modern, urban feel opens to the public this weekend with art demonstrations, a new glass exhibit with works by famous people such as Dale Chihuly and sweaty glass artists standing in front of a 2,100-degree furnace changing molten blobs into beautiful glass pieces inside the new hot shop.
Schack’s showpiece is indeed its new hot shop, a premiere public access production studio built behind a huge garage door where visitors can watch the glass-blowing process pretty much all the time.
The Schack Art Center was the vision of the Arts Council of Snohomish County and city of Everett leaders. In 2006, a capital campaign got under way, and last year, the campaign gathered 98 percent of its goal of $6.2 million and raised $6 million. Now the 19,000-square-foot Schack Art Center will open its doors.
On top of the art center, Artspace, a popular nationwide housing network for artists, has created affordable loft studios for artists to live and create in. The goal of Artspace is to break the cycle of artists getting kicked out of places they have turned from trashy to cool because they can no longer afford the rent.
“The promise behind Artspace is to stop that process because in and of itself, the building has affordable rents that do not go up,” said Lanie McMullin, who heads the city’s economic development department. “Artspace lets art do its economic magic.”
From an economic standpoint, choosing Hoyt Avenue to become Everett’s new Arts & Festivals Street made sense because of the lack of retail on that street, making it easier to close the street to traffic without disturbing the business community, giving relief to Colby Avenue merchants, Thomas said.
With the Schack Art Center as its centerpiece and Hoyt more available to festival uses, just one thing really remains for a complete arts district: the look.
To help create that arts district visual, artists will be commissioned to create beautiful bike racks and sculptural lighting fixtures. The budget for the projects is: $110,000 for 11 lighted sculptural pieces and $8,000 for four bike racks.
“We are thrilled with everything the city is doing downtown, especially along Hoyt Avenue, to support this and an active arts district in Everett,” said Judy Tuohy, Schack’s executive director.
Everett arts patron Idamae Schack, who has given millions to the community’s cultural needs, was one of the first donors to the regional art center’s capital campaign, now nearly finished.
Back in 2009, Schack expressed reluctance when the Arts Council wanted to call the regional arts center the Schack Art Center.
Today, Schack, 92, said she is proud to have the family’s name attached to the center and planned on attending the grand opening along with other family members.
Though she was one of the first to donate to the art center’s capital campaign, Idamae said she had “great confidence in the leadership and board that they would be able to bring the vision to reality.”
“The new space is beautiful and will provide a wonderful venue,” Idamae Schack said. “The new center will be a fantastic resource for artists and future artists to learn and display their talent in a variety of ways, from glass to the pastels. I am especially excited about the focus and opportunity the center will provide to young people in our community.”
The Schack Art Center will have a hot shop for glass blowing, a kiln and flame working studio, professional and student exhibit spaces, a retail store and multipurpose classrooms.
Grand opening is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 30 and noon to 5 p.m. May 1 at 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. For more information go to www.schack.org
The artist demonstration schedule:
•10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Calligraphy, Pam Koons; flame working, Stacey King; hot glass, Bob Mitchell and Dan LaChaussee.
1 to 4 p.m.: Pottery, Evelia Sanches; flame working, Stacey King and hot glass, Bob Mithchell and Dan LaChaussee
•Noon to 3 p.m.: Kids art projects, Nikki Wheeler; flame working, Stacey King; hot glass, Bob Mithchell and Dan LaChaussee
3 to 5 p.m.: Jewelry, Celeste Douville, flame working, Stacey King; hot glass, Bob Mithchell and Dan LaChaussee.