SAM mixes it up in art

Museum fosters creativity

Three times a year, the Seattle Art Museum is transformed into a party of cultured spectators complete with performances, tours, dancing, creating and exploring SAM’s collection – all for one event: SAM Remix.

Not only does SAM Remix embody a space for attendees to find their flair, strut their stuff and mix it up, but it also provides opportunities for Seattle’s creative community of artists, performers and thinkers to make themselves known through a unique museum experience.

The SAM commissions and emboldens local artists to lead tours, volunteer groups, and workshops and has an entire-museum effort behind the event in support of Seattle’s community for arts.

The latest SAM Remix was on Friday, Nov. 17, the evenings live performances and activities drawn from the thematic elements in the gallery’s main exhibit: “Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect,” a series of intimate landscape and portrait paintings and drawings from Wyeth’s 75-year career.

A regular participating artist at Remix, Aramis Hamer, believes Remix manages to reconstruct the traditional museum experience and bring out the inner “fashionistas” in its audience, all while handing over the museum spaces to local artists, an experience she says inspired her to take her art “more seriously.”

“I really think that it says that they’re committed to [and are] really intentional about making art accessible to the community,” Hamer said after her third year being commissioned for SAM Remix.

“Whether you’re an artist or not, any of their events including this one, First Thursdays, and others are for you, and with them, SAM supports working artists by commissioning them just like me, and keeps the entire ecosystem of arts alive.”

“What I also really like about these events is that it’s a place for sophisticated people to still have a night out,” Hamer said.

“They may be over the club scene, but at Remix there’s a bar and a dance floor and some people still end up turning up, but it’s all about having a good time and it doesn’t feel like work.”

Her most recent workshop at Remix featured a mixed media collage that was derived from Wyeth’s love for film as displayed in his collection of hyper realistic, highly detailed watercolor paintings made with egg tempera, a fast-drying, artist-quality paint known for its colored pigments.

Images of cinematic landscapes and dramatic scenes found by Hamer served as the backgrounds for collages with a collection of glitter glue and cut up images from magazines for participates to put on top.

Hamer said she had a blast looking for images on Pinterest, and wanted to create a space for Remix-goers to construct and communicate their own narratives with her Remix installation activity.

“Usually what I notice at these events is that it takes on a life of it’s own,” Hamer said. “You may not have time to explain the event to everyone, so they just sit down and start creating, following a natural process.”

Hamer believes Remix is not only the perfect venue for people who want a different scene for social gathering and the perfect space for trying something new, but that it also shows SAM’s commitment to making art more accessible to all people. “There’s a wide spectrum of people who come,” Hamer said, “Some who are formally trained and some who probably haven’t picked up art supplies since elementary school, but it’s fun to see how much people are enjoying it, and to see adults turn into kids.”

Through Remix, Hamer has been given opportunities to share her own art with the art community, access and exposure she feels extremely indebted to SAM for.

Hamer also said that in her experience, SAM has always offered participating artists a chance to give feedback on how to make activities more engaging. She plans to continue to participate in art community events hosted by SAM.

For 10 years, Remix has been one of the first interactive art experiences of its kind, something that’s now a staple at museums nationwide.

It is the mission of this creative event to utilize the entire museum from quieter public spaces and boardrooms to special exhibition galleries, giving people a sense of a new and unique museum experience, according to Philip Nadasdy, the museum’s manager of public programs.

“We continue to innovate, but its central goals remain the same: to attract a young adult audience to the museum and its exhibitions, to create a social and accessible atmosphere for people to engage with local artists and performers, to provide a platform for artists to create projects related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions.”

Nadasdy says SAM’s Public Programs team plans for Remix to continue accommodating a wide range of visitors looking to experience the museum in a fun and transformative way.

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