SiteWorks, a one-of-a-kind outdoor art experience, is coming to the Museum of Glass (MOG) for the second time this summer to offer an excellent and affordable way to experience dance and performance art right in the heart of downtown.
In 2003, SiteWorks Directors Paul Zmolek and Josephine A. Garibaldi were living in Missouri and scouting locations in the Pacific Northwest for potential dance studios and bypassed Tacoma, but on a whim decided to check it out.
“The first place we went by was (MOG), and we were amazed at the performance opportunities and outdoor spaces of the museum. They cried to be performed in,” Zmolek said.
Zmolek and Garibaldi opened the BareFoot Collective together in 2005 and approached MOG about potentially holding an annual site-specific performance festival there, with little hope they would respond favorably. MOG agreed to it, and looked forward to the connection. “One of the wonderful things at MOG is that it’s a beautiful location devoted to art. Within a very small site there are many performance venues,” Zmolek affirmed. SiteWorks 2006 took place and was a success, making many local year-end lists as a “Top 5” art event in the city.
Site-specific performances are unique because they make use of the locations in which they are held, rather than creating their own space as on a traditional theater stage. This breaks up the whole buy-a-ticket-find-a-seat routine and makes it more of an experience. “It provides interesting challenges and problems for us to solve. One of my favorite aspects in site-specific performance is that you get casual bystanders and outside observers who were at the location for a different reason and then they see art. People might be going for a walk or going to the Hot Shop and there’s some dance going on,” Zmolek said.
The festival will be composed of four days of dance taking over the spaces of MOG, with Mt. Rainier, Thea Foss Waterway and the Tacoma cityscape as the backdrop. The beautiful pools in front of the museum, the cascading stairway leading to the entrance and the outdoor plazas of the edifice will serve as wonderful spots for the dancers to take over.
In total, there will be 14 different artists and dance companies performing during the festival, including Carrie Goodnight, MG&MH Arts, Rosa Vissers and Walrus Dance Company, and each has something special to offer to SiteWorks.
“We are very excited about the pool of artists this year. We received proposals from nearly twice as many as we had in 2006 and from as far away as San Francisco, New York and Spain,” stated Zmolek. There will be pieces that are whimsical, some that interpret man’s plight, pieces about dramatic relationships and some mixed media pieces utilizing video and music. Together they will all compose a true mixture of modern, contemporary American dance.
One thing that Zmolek said he hears often is that nothing arty happens in Tacoma and he simply does not think that is true. SiteWorks is proof. “There are lots of opportunities for art around town. This is the second time SiteWorks has been produced in three years. It’s a rare event. Very few cities have site-specific dance festivals. It’s something unique and the price is right…it just costs people’s time and effort to get there.
“It’s an exceptional opportunity to come see things in a unique setting. Anyone interested at all in the arts should check it out.”
SiteWorks 2009 will take place June 11-14 at various locations outside of the Museum of Glass. Performances will take place on Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.