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April Blog Post: CoCA Lab Featuring Britta Johnson

Posted by Shirene on April 26, 2017

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April CoCA Lab. Photo courtesy of Shirene Soleiman.

By Shirene Soleiman 

This past March and April, we were invited to dive (pun intended) into the world of Britta Johnson. Specifically, we were invited to dive into the Giant Whirl. What Britta had up her sleeve during CoCA Lab takes us back to 2012 when Dylan Mayer legally hunted a giant Pacific octopus, an action that ignited a conversation about how we need to treat our local and global habitat. Through Britta’s project that she previewed at CoCA UN[contained], she strives to achieve the goal of inspiring visitors to be proactive and take care of the habitat.

On two separate evenings, we had the chance to get an illuminating sneak peek of the Giant Whirl, which will be permanently installed at the Don Armeni Park in 2018. As one of three Seattle artists who were selected by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with Seattle City Light, Britta created a work that was to be grounded on solar energy and sustainability. This was reflected in the LED lights she had installed as the focal point of her project.

Not only were these lights amazing to look at even from a distance, with their almost trancing bright shade of blue, but they were also fun to interact with and eye-opening in terms of what their real purpose was. If you moved close enough to the lights, a lively animation of an octopus would take place. In its nearly ghostly form, this octopus would drift across the screen and curl its tentacles in smooth motions. These motion-triggering lights seemed like a way of establishing a connection between the viewer and the subject of the octopus as if to remind the viewer that we are all connected in the shared ecosystem we live in, and that therefore our nature deserves to be cherished. I believe when this Giant Whirl is installed at the Don Armeni Park, this message will be delivered even more powerfully.

Another aspect of Britta’s work I found very moving was something I wasn’t even sure I was supposed to pay attention to as the exhibition viewer: the insanely intricate collection of wires that hid behind these lights (see below). It looked super impressive and complicated, and it reminded me of one of the best things about art, which is there is always that piece that surprises you with its many deep layers when the entire time before you saw it as being straightforward with its message.

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Photo courtesy of Shirene Soleiman.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting my dose of Britta’s vision at CoCA Lab, and I look forward to seeing the installation at the park next year! If you want to see more of her work, you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Instagram, which I highly recommend! 

CoCA March Stars!

Posted by Shirene on March 31, 2017

By Shirene Soleiman

These superbly talented, hard working and inspirational people have contributed so much to CoCA, helping the organization continue to thrive the way it does today as a vital part of the Seattle arts community. We couldn’t thank these outgoing board members enough for the time and energy they have devoted to CoCA. Whether these faces are familiar or fresh to you, we would like to highlight these CoCA stars as they take on new chapters ...


Talia Silveri Wright

For the past ten years, Talia has served as an ambassador for nonprofits and arts organizations, conceptualizing fundraising and large scale public events as well as providing development and marketing support.

Her work ranges from 12×12 inches to .2x.2 centimeters in scale, incorporating handmade miniature sculpture. She uses materials such as sculpey clay, acrylic paint and resin, plastic and found objects.

Fun fact: Talia grew up working in her family's Italian restaurant, which they named after her!

Miguel Edwards

Miguel Edwards is a sculptor and public artist in Seattle. Currently the President of CoCA, he has been a culture maker in the region for over 20 years and a part of the organization since the early 2000s. Edwards just finished Perseus II, a monumental scale kinetic sculpture and Seattle landmark in the Greenwood neighborhood.  

Fun fact: His favorite day of the year is June 20th, which is not only the solstice but also the day he married his lovely bride!

Lorrie Cardoso

Photo taken at the 2015 CoCA Lab Artist in Residence at CoCA UN[contained] Nat Evans performance Sit With the Hum.

Lorrie is an advocate for the arts. She was on the Board of Directors of CoCA from 2015-2017 and is currently on the Board of the Whim W'Him contemporary dance company. In addition, she is the founder of Seattle Arts and Cultural Events, a Meetup group with more than 5,000 members. She has also worked for the Starbucks Corporation for 13 years as a paralegal specializing in real estate.

Lorrie’s favorite thing about CoCA is its willingness to take risks in curation. An example is the 2016 show American Power which included Ku Klux Klan robes made of non-traditional fabrics by artist Paul Rucker.

Her proudest moment with CoCA was chairing the 2015 24-Hour Art Marathon and Auction, which achieved record results.

Fun Fact: Her favorite day of the year is any day that is spent with friends and loved ones sharing good food and wine!

Dan Hawkins

Dan Hawkins is a Seattle-based photographer who uses a wide variety of obsolete and invented imaging processes to create his work. The processing of film inside the development chamber is a sensitive and extremely refined process. By incorporating the waters or other materials from the site in order to disturb the refined development process, his work allows the site to further influence the photograph.

Dan’s favorite thing about CoCA has been giving new artists a platform to present their work as he found this extremely satisfying.

David Ruggiero


David Ruggiero brought big contributions to CoCA during his two years on the Board. He served as Interim Treasurer as well as resident (and pro bono) Tech Guru during some of the past year’s messy technology challenges.

As with all our outgoing Board of Directors, David is looking forward to helping CoCA thrive moving forward so this is a transition to “super volunteer” as he devotes more time to family, travel and other lucky nonprofits in our region. 

Even though we are sad to see them depart from the board, we are thrilled to see what they have up their sleeves in the art world!

CoCA serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art

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