‘Bad Art’ exhibit to debut at the Nordic Heritage Museum

This Friday, Nov. 30, “Bad Art” will debut at the Nordic Heritage Museum, marking its first U.S. visit. The exhibit, titled, “Bad Art? 1,000 Birch Board Pictures from Sweden,” is the largest collection of its kind in the world, according to the museum.

The exhibit will feature more than a thousand mixed-media works from the Backlund and Håkansson Collection in Sweden and includes folk art from unknown origins in northern Europe.

From the museum:

Although these works were made in large numbers — as is apparent in this expansive exhibition — they were not mass produced. Instead, the artists created these pieces individually; typically by gluing postcards to a thin, diagonally sliced pieces of tree trunk — in Sweden, preferably from birches. The postcard images were then hand painted to the edges of the oval slices of wood and sometimes included three-dimensional objects. Early pieces were simply painted landscapes with no postcards.

The pictures selected for this particular exhibition celebrate folk art or vernacular art. The birch board pictures, which were once displayed in private homes, restaurants, gift shops, and cultural clubs have now made their way into museums. Such art tells about aesthetic impulse, creativity, and production, but also about the transition from living culture to heritage.

The exhibit opens Friday, Nov. 30 and will run through March. Learn more about the collection here.

Casting call: Norwegian-Americans needed for ‘adventurous reality TV show’

If you’ve always dreamed of being in the limelight, and you’re Norwegian-American, now’s your chance: a casting company is asking for applicants for the next season of Norwegian reality TV show, “Alt for Norge,” which translates to “The Great Norway Adventure.”

Chicago’s O’Conner Casting company is doing a nationwide search for contestants for season 4 of the show, in which 12 Norwegian-Americans are flown to Norway to compete in a series of challenges that test their skills, courage and determination, according to the casting company. The winner gets $50,000 and will get to meet Norwegian relatives, “they don’t even know exist,” the casting company tells us.

Season 1 winner, Doug Miner, was from Seattle. Joan O’Connor, casting producer says in a statement that the show is the most popular reality TV show in Norway.Watching Americans experience culture shock and following their emotional journey seems to really connect with Norwegian viewers. And the contestants have a total blast and become overnight Norwegian TV stars,” O’Connor says.

The deadline to apply is Saturday, Dec. 1. The casting company asks that applicants have a Norwegian ancestry, be over 18, and have never traveled to Norway. To learn more or apply, click here.

Mayor McGinn visits Ballard Library to highlight new additions to collection

Mayor McGinn was at the Ballard Library Monday to talk about new items and services available now that the library levy has passed. McGinn joined City Librarian Marcellus Turner at the library to thank voters for passing the levy, and to go over the new changes coming in 2013.

The levy funds will allow the library to purchase an additional 26,000 books and other media for the children’s collections. In total, the levy funds will add 75,000 new books, materials, and online resources for children in 2013, according to the City of Seattle.“We want to thank the voters for approving the Library Levy” said Mayor Mike McGinn.  “A good library system helps our kids learn and connects people to resources they need.”

According to the city, the levy will also enable the library to:

  • Buy more copies of popular materials to shorten wait times;
  • Increase e-content by as many as 12,000 new files annually;
  • Buy more subscriptions to give people free online access to resources such as homework help, business data, investment research, car maintenance manuals, language programs, consumer research, test preparation, health information and encyclopedias;
  • Preserve current core services;
  • Increase the number of items a person may place on hold to 50; and
  • Put more Seattle Room special collections online so people can access the information from a computer anywhere.

Sustainable Ballard Holiday Barter Event tonight

Tonight is the 5th annual Holiday Barter Event, put on by Sustainable Ballard. The fair is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sunset Hill Community Center (3003 NW 66th St) and will include everything from food to home-crafted items.

From Sustainable Ballard:

The Holiday Barter is a great opportunity to share your talents with others in the community and take home some great sustainable holiday gift items. It falls just after Thanksgiving to start off the gifting season. Bring your homegrown or home-crafted items or gift certificates for home services such as baby-sitting, weeding or housecleaning. If you are bringing edible items, such as pickles, jams or chocolates, we encourage you to provide some samples.

They say that the trading is informal, and there will be music, cookies, tea and hot cider. Learn more about the event here.

Ballard apartment boom could hold risks down the road

The apartment construction boom in Ballard could hold some risks for the neighborhood, according to a business report from our news partners, The Seattle Times. Our neighborhood is seeing a historic rise in apartment construction, which should bring thousands of new renters to Ballard by the end of 2014. “They’re doubling the inventory in that market,” researcher Tom Cain of Apartment Insights Washington told the Times. “That’s just unbelievable.”

Three large developments along NW Market St. are set to be renting/selling by the end of next year: the former Sunset Bowl development is nearing completion, and the apartments springing up at the old Denny’s location are growing taller by the minute. Another large apartment complex is being slowly built near the corner of 24th Ave NW on NW Market St.

What will likely be a boon for renters could be devastating for landlords, as vacancies are expected to rise while rents stabilize or drop, say industry analysts from Cain and Dupre + Scott, according to the Times. They forecast that the construction will “tip the balance between demand and supply,” meaning landlords could end up offering tenants concessions like free rent.

The business report touches on the fact that other neighborhoods closer to downtown, such as Belltown and South Lake Union, are also seeing booming apartment construction. But the difference is in that Ballard doesn’t have many employment opportunities, which could mean difficulties in renting out the Ballard apartments. But Matt Griffin, a developer with Pine Street Group (completing a large high-rise in the Denny Triangle), told the Times that while Ballard could get overbuilt in the next few years, demand will catch up, saying the walkability and transit options for Ballard could be its saving grace.

To read the Times’ business report in full, click here.

St. Alphonsus Parish School culminates month-long food drive

Ballard’s St. Alphonsus Parish School has collected over a thousand non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank. Their November food drive, which culminated over the Thanksgiving weekend, raised 1,520 items.

Photo courtesy St. Alphonsus Parish School

They gave the collection to the Queen Anne Food Bank, which recently reopened after closing last spring due to lack of support. The donations were delivered to the food bank just in time for Thanksgiving meals.

El Camion to open in old Zesto’s location

The popular Mexican food truck, El Camion, will be opening up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the location formerly occupied by Zesto’s, and more recently, Roro’s BBQ.

El Camion owner Scott McGinnis says the restaurant, which will be called El Camion Adentro (translates to, “the truck inside”), should be open by the end of the year. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with beer hopefully on the menu sometime down the road.

McGinnis, who has lived in Ballard for 12 years, has three El Camion trucks; one in Ballard, one up north on Aurora, and one down in SoDo. On finding a location to open up shop, he says he was, “looking for the right opportunity in the right spot and this crossed my radar so I jumped on it.”

“We have spent the good chunk of a month, cleaning the place out,” McGinnis says. They’ll keep the building pretty much the same because they’d like to open as soon as possible. However, he says they plan to get rid of the old Roro’s/Zesto’s decor and replace it with Mexican art. They’ll have both counter and table service, and plan to develop some lunch specials for the neighboring Ballard High School crowd. “We want to reach out the community and the high school,” McGinnis explained. “I don’t see one or the other as the main demographic. I think people know about it, and it’s a Ballard landmark in some way, and we’d like to continue that.”

Of opening in the space Roro’s only occupied for a matter of months, Mc Ginnis said he’s “up for the challenge.” “We’re going at it full force. I think it’ll be a great spot for people to know us, to get in, and have good food.”

We’ll update when McGinnis announces an opening date.

Meet authors and shop local at Ballard Writers Collective event tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon, the Ballard Writers Collective is hosting the “Big Event,” where local writers and businesses will be setting up shop at the Sunset Hill Community Association (3003 NW 66th St). The event starts at 1 p.m., and will include presentations by authors, readings, panels and demonstrations with book and craft sales.

Here’s a schedule of the day’s planned events:

  • 1 p.m. Sneak previews of forthcoming books: M.J. McDermott  & Alison Krupnick
  • 2 p.m. Story time for children and adults: Claire Anderson and her guide dog. Downstairs story time and craft project.
  • 3 p.m. Memoirs for survival: We Are Absolutely Not Okay – Teen authors discuss. Reading from Ingrid Ricks’ Focus.
  • 4 p.m. Ballard’s melting pot: a sampler. Nordic Heritage Museum’s Voices of Ballard and Beyond, Joshua McNichols of Urban Farm Handbook, and Dominick Cura of Eternally Gluten-Free Cookbook.
  • 5 p.m. Poets, Writers & Editors: Panel on editing and resources for writers. Poets: Shin Yu Pai, Carol Levin, Don Kentop, & Michael Schein. Books & gifts available from: Secret Garden Books, MetalWing Studios, Lily and the People, Regnor’s Pottery, Susan Schneider, Rita Weinstein, Jo Simonian. BlueFlower Cards, Elena Louise Richmond’s Local Dilettante Studio, Wry Ink Publishing, Jay Craig’s Bagpipe-Making.
  • 7 p.m. Three Word/Three Minute Challenge. New works by Ballard Writers Ross McMeekin, Joshua McNichols, Alison Krupnick, Jay Craig, Michael Schein, Helen Landalf, Cedar Burnett, Michael Harthorne, Peggy Sturdivant, Elena Louise Richmond, Alma Garcia, Karen Gamble, Quinn Smart, Zachariah Bryan.

There will be book sales from Secret Garden Books and refreshments, including wine, for donations. To read more about the event, click here.

WildLights kicks off at Woodland Park Zoo tonight

Tonight, the Woodland Park Zoo is opening up their annual WildLights display.

Photo credit Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo

WildLights, which will be open nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., is a huge light display of about 375,000 LED lights that will, “recreate wild animals and wild places in two and three dimensions along the zoo’s pathways and North Meadow,” according to the zoo. “An animated display of nature’s wonder will be woven into the zoo’s famous greenery inspired by exotic destinations from across the globe, including ‘Northern Lights,’ ‘The Water Hole’ and ‘Jungle Lights.'”

The Zoomazium and Day Exhibit (the reptile and amphibian exhibit) will also be open during the WildLights hours. The displays will be up until January 1. Learn more here.