The Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an oral-history archiving project focused on the lives and work of black artists. The work of the Black Lunch Table includes oral archiving, salons, peer teaching workshops, meetups, and Wikipedia edit-a-thons. The BLT brings people together to engage in dialogues about the writing, recording, and promoting inclusive art history. One aim of the Black Lunch Table project is to address the racial and gender bias on Wikipedia by encouraging Wikipedia articles about African American artists.
We’re getting closer to getting final inspections for the renovation, and it’s hard to believe we’re nearly there. You know those renovation reality shows, where the owners say, “Oh, we have a schedule and we’ll be done in a year,” and then it always takes twice as long and costs twice as much as they planned…? Well, that’s a real thing. The last event we hosted was July 27, 2018 (More Serenades for Science), almost exactly three years ago. We had one last goodbye party with friends in August 2018, and then the whole lower floor was stripped bare to the studs and the dirt, with plywood where the windows once were.
After completely rebuilding the electrical and plumbing, pouring 2400 square feet of smooth and level concrete floors, adding gallons of spray foam insulation (it’s pretty much a picnic cooler), putting in efficient casement windows, new exterior doors, efficient mini-splits that heat and cool the air, who knows how many square feet of drywall, a spacious and accessible studio powder room, the beginnings of a kitchen ready for dinners and drinks, and yes, even room to make art and have big ideas, she’s starting to look like a useful space again.
There will still be much more to do after final inspection, but we can’t wait to share it with artists, makers, dreamers, and the neighborhood again. Do we have a date to open? No. Schedule? No. We’re just plugging along, and it looks like fall might be a time for things to start happening again.
It’s hard to say what in-person gatherings will look like with COVID variants and masks and all, but as it’s safe to gather, we’ll be ready.
It’s been a long while since our last update, and we wanted to let you know that we’re still working on the renovation, and we are in the home stretch! We anticipate being able to host occasional events again before the end of the year, once we are able to gather again.
Like everyone in Seattle in early February, we had a lovely snowstorm for a few days. You can see the updated building exterior.
While we are waiting to have pandemic restrictions lifted, we are working on finishing up our gallery windows, so we can show art to passers-by. For now, neighborhood kids seem to enjoy the collection of maneki neko. When it’s done, there will be lighting and space to display 2D art, 3D art and small sculpture, or video.
Thanks for your continued support and patience. We look forward to gathering again later this year.
“Fireside Chats are returning this Tuesday at 6pm with Greg Lundgren of Museum of Museums, Vito’s Seattle, and The Hideout!⠀Greg will be joined in conversation to talk about new art spaces opening in Seattle will be Demi Raven and Janet Galore of North Beacon Hill’s The Grocery Studios.
Expect to engage in conversation with artists, visionaries, community leaders, activists, and key players in Seattle’s arts, culture, social, and business scenes.”
Things are really coming along–windows are in, new concrete step at the side entrance, and exterior lighting for sidewalk safety. Deeply grateful for Robb, Leo, Vero & crew, and Jim & crew at Mutuus Studio.
Since our last update in August, Robb and Leo (A.R. Joyce Remodel), Vero and crew (Sound Concrete), Tyler and crew (O’Neill Plumbing), Jim (Mutuus Studio), Demi, and others have been hard at work on the lower level interior. The concrete floor is in, the framing is done, earthquake retrofit is done, the main plumbing is in, stairs are roughed in, and electrical is in the works. Windows have been ordered and are being manufactured. Meanwhile, Demi and Veretta have been landscaping and building like crazy outside, shaping the back yard.
It’s looking like we will be able to start using the space a little again in the spring, but we’re not setting any dates just yet.
In the meantime, we’ve added a few new designs and colors to the online store — check it out!
Our general contractor A.R. Joyce Remodel (Robb and Aimee Joyce), who are also good friends and neighbors, have been hard at work with their craftspeople working on new beams, prepping for concrete, new plumbing, and sealing up the lower walls with a moisture barrier. We’re so excited to move from demolition to building up again.
As the walls were waiting to get prepped for covering up, we realized that there was an opportunity to make a time capsule of sorts, to invite friends and supporters sign the old walls, make some drawings, offer messages to bring good energy into the new space that would form layers of history and encouragement.
When you’re in the renovated studio room, you’ll know that behind the walls are all the best wishes of the community. A few samples:
While we are waiting for concrete contractors to become available, we finally got an online store up and running so you can order some of the classic t-shirts and hoodies we’ve had available during events.
We are happy to announce that we are back in renovation mode again, after a long pause since mid-September 2018. We finally sold our other property at the end of February, and now have the funds to dive into re-making the studio space. This is a big project–much of the work (and money) is simply bringing the space up to current building and energy codes. That means demolishing the existing concrete floor and putting in a new one with insulation, rebuilding and insulating exterior walls, putting in new electrical and plumbing, and doing an earthquake retrofit. All that needs to happen before we get to the good stuff!
Our plan this year is to get the lower studio space finished enough before we run out of money so that we can re-open the studio for our own work, and to share with community, by the end of 2019. We’re still figuring out what that means exactly, and will share details as they evolve.
What do we hope to complete this year?
Keep the main studio space about the same, but make it better:
power outlets in the floor, jacks for power, audio, and video in the walls and ceiling
sound treatment so it sounds really good in the space for live music and performance
real glass windows, with some that open
a new entrance with double doors to bring in big stuff
air conditioning/heating to keep the temperature hospitable in any season
better bathroom, ADA standards
real black-out shades for video installations and daytime movies
a kitchen for food prep and artist sustenance
That should get us up and running again as an art studio where we can host creative activities. Later, we plan to make a small artist residency apartment, so short-term guests and visiting artists have a place to sleep and do their own work.