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Hear Our Voice

Posted by Shirene on January 26, 2017

By Shirene Soleiman

The conflicts and tension brought on by the 2016 presidential campaign have left many people feeling powerless, especially women. During times like these, creativity is often used as an empowering way to respond to such negativity where the art is an instrument of hope and activism, and CoCA’s February exhibition is an example. Hear Our Voice, on display at the Pioneer Square location February 2-25, 2017, will feature the influential voices of artists from across the U.S. in dedication to the recent Women’s March on Washington.

“We must be indivisible, we must be greater than fear, we must defend dignity, and we must protect each other.” This is the text included in We The People, a campaign produced by The Amplifier Foundation working with artists Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal and Ernesto Yerena. The artwork in the exhibition symbolizes the fact that, in the face of fear, we may choose not to be silenced.

When you look at the art, you will notice right away that they contain such vibrance, presence and sometimes intense juxtapositions whether it’s in the visual components, the text or the two combined. For example, the colors in this We The People piece by Shepard Fairey are recognizably patriotic and yet they are so bright and intense that the red, white and blue have an entirely different personality. Besides accentuating the beauty and strength of the female figure, the image communicates that this is a statement that should never leave one’s mind.


Another example is the below illustration by Brooklyn artist Jennifer Maravillas. Even though it delivers the message more subtly than We The People, the impression left on me was still profound. There is also a large amount of noticeable juxtaposition -- The artwork is mostly taken up by text, yet the words carry a lot of weight: “Our bodies. Our minds. Our power.” Also, the background is a neutral blue and yet it is decorated (again, subtly) by symbols that constantly remind you what the purpose of the entire illustration is. 


The selections made for this exhibition were juried byCarmen Perez and Paola Mendoza from the WMW, Cleo Barnett from The Amplifier Foundation, independent artist Swoon and Jess X. Snow and Favianna Rodriguez fromJustseeds Artists’ Cooperative. The selection process was meant to ensure the art reflected women and the femme expressive people of all backgrounds and residing in the U.S. and yet that it did not require artists to be U.S. citizens.

I cannot wait to see the beautiful unity of creativity, activism and empowered voices to be heard, not silenced, when “Hear Our Voice” opens on February 2, 2017 with a reception from 6-9pm at CoCA in Pioneer Square and look forward to seeing you there.


December CoCA Star: Meet Our Star Volunteers & Interns!

Posted by caroline on December 18, 2016

CoCA's amazing volunteers and interns, what would we do without them?! They are the air beneath our wings, and their dedication and passion for supporting contemporary art and artists inspires us daily. To all of our CoCA volunteers and interns, both past and present, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you do. You are art nonprofit superheroes, and we would have you wear capes to indicate your super powers, except that you may find that weird. But hey, we are open to the idea if you are! 

As we welcome the new year, it seems fitting to take this time to introduce the stellar group of interns that will be flexing their art muscles for CoCA in 2017:

Volunteer Coordination: Judy Rayl

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L to R: Caroline Parry, Judy Rayl

At the end of December, Caroline Parry (yours truly), Administrative and Program Associate, and the voice behind CoCA's newsletters, blog, and social media for the last year, will be stepping away from CoCA to pursue other opportunities. While I will miss my CoCA family, I am very excited to introduce the person who will be taking over the management of my volunteer coordination duties. Meet Judy Rayl! Judy has been volunteering with CoCA since this fall, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She already has a bunch of exciting plans in store for you lucky volunteers, but I'm going to let her tell you about that herself. Thank you Judy, you are a rockstar. 

From Judy:

My interest in CoCA began in 1988 when I first discovered the gallery in downtown Seattle. As a young medical student, visiting CoCA gallery offered me a creative escape, a refuge, and an opportunity for growth. Now that I have retired from my medical career, I am excited about the opportunity to give back to CoCA.

I have been a CoCA volunteer since August 2016. In that time I have enjoyed gallery sitting, auction preparation work, exploration of grant funding options, and organizing the annual dessert dash. Through my new role as Volunteer Coordinator I would like to help CoCA to grow and become even more sustainable for the future.

As Volunteer Coordinator I aspire to make volunteering at CoCA even more exciting, rewarding and fun. In that spirit, we are founding a new gift and experience incentive program, CoCA Art Rewards. Through Art Rewards our volunteers gain incentives for the hours they give. More advanced levels of service result in higher degrees of reward. Please contact me at if you are interested in joining the CoCA volunteers.

IT Support Intern: Nathan Hominiuk


A lot of work goes into keeping the CoCA website (including this blog!) up and running in order to keep you all informed about CoCA's exhibitions and programming. Not all of us on the CoCA team are what you would call "tech wizards," and so we are very grateful to have Nathan here to help us make sure that our technology is strong and healthy. Keep up the great work, Nathan!

About Nathan:

I am a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, and am currently attending UW Bothell for Management of Information Systems. I joined CoCA in the hopes that I can have a positive impact on the artistic community in Seattle, and bring it closer to the technology community that allows the region to thrive.  

Social Media & Outreach Intern: Shirene Soleiman


You may recognize Shirene, as she has been a consistent supporter of CoCA for several years now. She has helped with CoCA's social media in the past, including during this year's 24-hour art marathon and auction. We are very excited to welcome Shirene back as CoCA intern in 2017, with a focus on social media management. 

About Shirene: 

Shirene is a 2013 UW graduate with a Bachelor's in Art History, a French minor and a UW Sales Program Certificate. She spends her free time taking modern dance classes, painting with acrylics and managing Black and White by Shirene, an art website that features her charcoal portraits. Her favorite movies include "Elf" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," and she is undeniably obsessed with coffee shops.

Through my internship with CoCA, I hope to gain more experience as a social media manager. Also, through my involvement with the communications and PR sector, I look forward to seeing the internship as a stepping stone to becoming an art director.

Web Development Intern: Leigh Carroll

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CoCA is currently working on re-designing our website, and this project would not be possible without Leigh. She has already dedicated many hours into developing our new site, and we can't wait to share it with you all soon!

About Leigh:

Leigh Carroll is an artist/graphic designer originally from Boston. She is a Carleton College graduate and a member of the Lion's Main Art Collective.

She volunteers as a Web Development Intern for CoCA.

Curatorial Intern: Sofia Babaeva


Sofia joined the CoCA curatorial team this Fall. We are thrilled to welcome Sofia on board with her background as a visual artist, along with her previous arts administrative experience. CoCA has an exciting year of exhibitions planned for 2017, and Sofia is already hard at work helping to organize the final details.

About Sofia:

Sofia Babaeva is the new Curatorial and Programs Intern at CoCA. She will be assisting the Curatorial Board to bring you exciting exhibitions, events, and lectures. A visual artist herself, Sofia studied 3-Dimensional Form at UW, and has also worked with Artist Trust, the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, and as an assistant to various local artists. She is excited to learn about the many facets of creating programs that bring people and art closer together.

Administrative Intern: Layla Hu


Layla first started volunteering with CoCA this Fall during our 24th-annual 24-hour Art Marathon & Auction, and she quickly impressed us with her art history knowledge, organizational skills, and enthusiasm. We are very excited to have Layla join CoCA as an Administrative Intern. If you see her at the gallery, be sure to say hi!

About Layla:
Layla is currently an art history and cinema studies student at UW. In her leisure time, she loves to read and make films of her own. During her time interning at CoCA, she is looking forward to gain a well-rounded knowledge of how a non-profit art organization works, as well as to support and contribute to the Seattle art community.


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

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