JACK AND SPIKE

Spike O’Neill: Why Seattle’s new art space won’t work

Apr 18, 2024, 6:34 PM

Photo: Third Ave in downtown Seattle....

Third Ave in downtown Seattle. (Photo courtesy of the Downtown Seattle Association)

(Photo courtesy of the Downtown Seattle Association)

Let me start by clearly stating that I am a fan of the arts and I’m not just talking about visiting museums and attending live performances. I’m a supporter to the level that not only is our home plastered with art that we’ve collected over the course of our lives, much of it created by my own children, but I’ve supported and facilitated both of my children in their pursuit of art degrees.

But I can’t help but think about the announcement of the new art space designated to inhabit the old Bed Bath and Beyond retail space in downtown Seattle.

The city has always had difficulty in providing adequate support for the arts we already have in Seattle.

Art as a vehicle for returning the citizens to downtown is pitting the shopping cart before the horse.

What the old Bed Bath and Beyond space should be converted to is a triage center to deal with one of the main reasons Seattle’s downtown is struggling in the first place. Seattle’s ongoing struggle with those experiencing homelessness. Kinda like the MASH unit featured in the TV from our past.

Background: Bumbershoot producers unveil plans for new downtown Seattle arts venue

Imagine a facility where those living on our downtown streets can receive the services they need and deserve.

A facility located exactly where the problem is manifesting itself, the homelessness battlefield of downtown Seattle.

A warm bed, hot shower, assessment for physical and mental health needs for family services, for drug addiction.

How much more welcoming and successful would an interactive art installation in downtown Seattle be if people feel safe and welcome to return to the streets of downtown?

And with the current state of Seattle’s city streets, nothing that moves into the vacated Bed Bath and Beyond is going to be successful.

Tune in live to The Jack and Spike Show weekdays from noon to 3pm on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM. 

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Spike O’Neill: Why Seattle’s new art space won’t work