Make It Work! Seatle's Arts Enablers: Steve Peters
Category: Arts + Events Articles
Musician Steve Peters heads Nonsequitur (nseq.blogspot.com), a nonprofit dedicated to experimental music and sound art. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest from Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2004, Peters has worked tirelessly for countless musicians, artists and poets in an effort to expand the city’s aural horizons. In March 2007, Peters and Nonsequitur established a 10-events-per-month concert series in the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, re-invigorating a space that had lain fallow while Historic Seattle (who renovated the Chapel) searched for the perfect tenant. T.N.
Q. What’s the best thing about doing what you do here in Seattle?
A. The best thing is the pool of amazing artists here that do groundbreaking sound work, no question. I thought I knew all of them before we started, but since starting the Chapel series, all of these great musicians have come out of the woodwork. It’s really an example of “build it and they will come.” We wanted to provide a big, comfortable space that was easy to find and once we did, there was suddenly this influx of artists.
Q. Could you do what you do in another city?
A. In Albuquerque the audiences were a lot smaller, but it was so cheap to live there that a lot of things became possible. On the other hand, in New Mexico there is no grant money. There’s no Artist Trust, no mayor’s fund, nothing like that. So it’s a mixed bag. Seattle is a really social place. There’s a great sense of public life here and so it was astonishing…that there wasn’t a venue for groups of people to come and hang out and listen to experimental music in a comfortable space. At the Chapel, we provide that.
Q. What do you think the Seattle arts community needs the most?
A. Good dance [performance] spaces. The loss of Velocity on Capitol Hill is going to be a huge blow to the dance community. In my mind, there’s no difference between losing arts space to real estate prices and losing farm space. It’s the same dilemma, but that’s the world we live in here, and unless there’s the political will to change that mind set, then I think artists will continue to get priced out of their neighborhoods every five years until there’s nowhere left to go.