A Brief History of the Pelican Bay Foundation PHOTOS
1969 - 1973: Realist painters Don Barrie and Karin Helmich actualized the dream of an artist's cooperative which would maintain and repair a decrepit apartment building in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood in return for low rent. The Phoenix School of Art was created as an outgrowth of these efforts.
1973 - 1974: The Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative, in alliance with the building owners, put forth a successful one year struggle to save the Pelican Bay Building from city condemnation and demolition.
In October, the creation of a 3-D mural, "City in the Sky", on the south wall of the Pelican Bay building began. VISTA worker, Don Miles , a highly skilled ornamental plasterer, applied cement and sculpted the relief work and Don Barrie, who had conceived of the mural, painted it.
1975: The State of Washington recognized the incorporation of the Pelican Bay Foundation by Karin Helmich and writer/painter Richard Prior.
1975 - 1989: Far reaching community involvement including The Pelican Cove Cafe gallery, periodicals, art and dance classes, benefits, showings, and grant monies ensued. In 1977, Jim Stratton wrote of the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative in his the book, "Pioneering in the Urban Wilderness".
1989: The Pelican Bay Foundation Artists-to-Artists Small Grants Program awarded monies totaling thousands of dollars to deserving artists residing in the Capitol Hill area. Purchase of the Pelican Bay Building by a prominent real estate investor resulted in the death of the Cooperative and imperiled the Foundation.
1992 - 1994: The Foundation created and financially sponsored Room 608, Gallery for Visual and Performing Arts, within a Pelican Bay storefront. Multimedia ranging from Fringe Festival performances to installations, pantings, dance and video were hosted.
1997: Pelican Bay residents staged a press conference protesting unfair rent increases and major repair problems. Media coverage followed plus a politician's letter requesting the building owner to negotiate with tenants. The DCLU cited a total of 55 code violations in the 5 apartments which were inspected.
1998: In February, the Pelican Bay tenants received an award for "Best Tenants Advocacy Group" from the Seattle Tenants' Union. Pelican Bay residents' concerns reflected Seattle's housing crisis. Media coverage in 1998 totaled 7 times via TV, radio, and print. DCLU and Tenants' Union documentation, various news media, an Associated Press Release, and tenants' letters to the owner of the Pelican Bay Building revealed chronic mismanagement, violations, and rents increased up to 400% in the past nine years.
Alliances were formed for the purpose of purchase of the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative Building based on the owner's promise of sale to the Foundation. Concerned supporters included Nick Licata of the Seattle City Council, Larry Gossett of the King County Council, The Tenants' Union, Chuck Weinstock of Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program, John Kucher of Threshold Housing, and John Finke of the National Development Council.
The determination was made the the building could be purchased and run by the Foundation provided the owner would accept a reasonable market offer. The owner of the Pelican Bay Building decided he was not interested in selling.
In April, a limited edition book "The History of the Pelican Bay Foundation" with a companion video, was published.
In May, "We're Here to Stay" premiered at the Paramount Theater. The Foundation served as the official sponsor and fiscal agent for over one and a half years which culminated in donations exceeding $16,000 to offset production costs of this documentary on Hands Off Washington.
2000: On December 4th, the Pelican Bay Foundation enjoined the King County Council, at its public meeting, to grant Artspace and Pioneer Square Community Development the rights to convert the Tashiro Kaplan building into a low-income artists live/work space. The local struggle's of the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative and Foundation were cited as a clear example of the economic obstructions to artists.
2000 - 2001: The Pelican Tea Garden P-Patch was created behind the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative Building. The Foundation spearheaded the project and served as the nonprofit sponsor for funding received from Neighborhood Matching Funds. This beautiful secluded city garden, which is communally run, exists for public enjoyment as well as providing produce for Lettuce Link.
2002: Pelican Bay Foundation waived administrative costs as sponsor and co-host of a successful arts auction for the Seattle's Tenants' Union. Donated gallery space and artwork resulted in 100% of the proceeds going to further the efforts of Seattle's Tenants' Union. The auction was held in JEM Arts Center in Georgetown during the annual weekend arts walk. Board member, Anne Hagen, served on the Tenants' Union Board for two years (2002 & 2003).
2003: Successful Pelican Bay Foundation sponsorship of a Microsoft matching grant furthered efforts to create Edward Reed Arts nonprofit organization which resides within the JEM Arts Center in Georgetown.
2004: Pelican Bay Foundation artists' participation in the Georgetown Annual Art Walk continued for the third year.
2005: Fuel Coffee Shop, which resides in the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative Building, hosted a public celebration of the former Pelican Cove Cafe Gallery of 1979, a interactive performance piece, with the original artists, documentary photos, written commentary, and inclusion of the Pelican Bay Foundation book which documents the history of the Cooperative and Foundation.
On May 31st, the current President of Pelican Bay Foundation, Anne Hagen, purchased a house in Seattle's South Park thus insuring a safe haven for Pelican Bay Foundation as it regroups with plans to expand its operations. The house is currently under restoration as well as having modern electrical, plumbing, and heating installed. Check out the neighborhood at South Park Arts.
2013: "The Poet's House" a restored 1912 farm hand bunk house was completed as a unique artist live/work space.
Pelican Bay artists past and present continue to have a fundamental impact within Seattle and beyond. "The Lure of the Local" which was published in 1997 includes Pelican Bay's former "Museum of Neighborhood Phenomena" by Jack Baker. Pelican Bay artwork is in the private collections of prominent individuals including art attorney Robert Kaplan and Mayor Paul Schell.
Pelican Bay Foundation has dedicated itself since its' conception to supporting the arts through community. The Board of Directors continue to support the arts through volunteer work and nonprofit status sponsorship.