january 11, 2004


Maybe stress is all in the eye of the beholder. Tacoma caught some national attention this week as being labeled a America’s Most Stressed City.

I take this as an moment to talk about what I saw when I was putting together a window installation there over Thanksgiving. Tacoma is trying real hard, at least from the perspective of getting their cultural hearts in the right place. Of course I don’t know first hand the reailty as I don’t live there (being a whopping 90 minute drive away), but I was impressed by the fact this medium size city is attempting to revitalize its self via the arts.
I had the opportunity to visit the new and modern Tacoma Art Museum(see the short account of my visit here) which although I did love the coziness of the old TAM, it is nice to see such a bright and shining facility devoted to their collection. The programming at TAM as far as bringing contemporary art to the region can only be rivaled by the Henry, which I hope they continue to strive for.

I was impressed also by the dedication the city appears to be pouring into it’s arts programming. While taking a breather in the TAM cafe I took a moment to read over their city sponsored Art at Work pamphlet, which showcased gallery and studio tours, films, installations, workshops etc. all in an effort to raise community enthusiasm for cultural aspirations.

I find slight irony in mentioning the city in America that rated with the lowest stress index is Albany NY. This fact boggles myself as I had the misfortune of locating myself there as I went to graduate school for two very long years.
All stress in the eye of the beholder indeed , but that city was the most miserable experience of my life. Maybe it was culture shock, but I truly felt I was living in a city with out a soul. There was absolutely nothing there I can look back in fondness about . Very curious since one would think with NYC in such close proximity a bit would rub off. As I found out later upstate and NYC proper make huge efforts to escape each others shadow.

Back to Tacoma. I did not have the time to visit the very hyped Museum of Glass, or any of the city’s galleries such as William Traver’s new space [also dedicated to glass] .
I am hoping to make it back down for the upcoming Sandy Skoglundexhibit going up at MoG[1.29.04], and I am also very curious what a Northwest Biennial entails, coming in April to TAM. I can’t remember if they used to have these on a regular basis when I was growing up or not.