Best of Seattle: Blue-Sky Arts Announcement

Pioneer Square is, simultaneously, a struggling neighborhood and the center of the city’s arts scene—the latter anchored by the gallery/studio warren in the Tashiro Kaplan Building. But how many First Thursday art walkers have paid attention to the ugly, largely empty 1971 building just across the street? Led by curator Yoko Ott and bankrolled largely by Shari Behnke, The New Foundation Seattle bought it last fall for $2.75 million. The plan is to house the foundation in the renovated 13,000-square-foot building at 123 Third Ave. S., then relaunch it next year as The JANDS Center (as in John and Shari Behnke). The foundation’s purchase also included the adjacent parking lot to the west, where a new building—with galleries? lofts? performance spaces?—is expected to rise by 2017. Whatever the foundation has planned for the new complex, it can only help the hood.

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