Back to Archives

Creating the art of the scene

James Ceccanti gets caught up with — helps create — a â€Å"strong” culture

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

James Ceccanti circulates around the basement recreation area at the Epworth LeSourd Methodist Church in Tacoma, stopping to chat, offering mask-making advice, and in general making participants feel welcomed. He’s helping individuals at the last of the papier mache workshops prior to the Dia de los Muertos community event happening Nov. 2 on Sixth Avenue.

Ceccanti, a quiet but visible mover and shaker in the arts community, has been involved with the festival since it began, though he’s not engaged in the process of creating any art as I watch him; he tells me that for this year’s procession he’ll carry one of his pieces from the previous two years of the event.

But he’s not an artist: he deals in pills (legally) as a pharmacist.

Ceccanti explains he was originally going to be a vet, but those plans were waylaid. “Since I had nothing else to do, I went to pharmacy school,” he sums up.

But he remembers, “I always loved looking at art and sculpture.” He recalls going on family vacations as a child, asking his parents to go to museums.

Later in life, when he lived in Seattle, the arts captivated him again, “I didn’t have any pharmacist friends,” he says, explaining how he came to hang around artists.

Ceccante initially found himself involved in the Tacoma arts community in the role of “monk” through a woman’s minimal cajoling. He tells the story about meeting this woman at Chiara Wood’s Solstice Party some years back. She and he shared friends from their days in Seattle, in the days when resident art scenesters would soap up empty Belltown storefronts to create live/work spaces.

He’d heard her name even prior to meeting her, when she spearheaded the Red Door project, which he’d admired. So when Lynn Di Nino offered her name and hand, and then told him he looked like a monk — would he be willing to dress up like one? Ceccanti recalls he said, “Sure.”

His first role in an arts event, as a monk in Di Nino’s infamous Figure Head Roll, led Ceccanti into more involvement with what he considers a “strong” arts community. He’s been part of such diverse projects as creating a Daffodil Parade Float — as well as dressing up like a monkey and performing on it — and on to dressing in drag as Marie Antoinette, with his trademark glasses alluding to his identity at a Tacoma Arts Museum Bastille Day celebration.

Check out the glasses — and the man — as you enjoy the community spirit that he’s helped to create, on Nov. 2; the event begins at Masa, then the procession makes its way down Sixth Avenue, finishing up at Masa for hot chocolate and sweetbreads.

[Masa, Friday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., 2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253. 254. 0560]

comments powered by Disqus