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Hitting 'em with art

Art Slam to submerge audience in culture

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Consider Friday night’s Art Slam at the Rialto Theater to be, sort of, like a blending of Laser Pink Floyd and that art class you had freshman year, only cooler than either because the event is sprinkled with a liberal dose of the essence of Tacoma.

Basically, what you have is a free community event helping celebrate Tacoma’s Art at Work Month that puts the work of 63 artists front and center on a projection screen at the Rialto. Each work of visual art will flash before your eyes for five seconds and each original video or original music for up to two minutes.

“It’s changed up from slide slam,” explains Naomi Strom-Avila, cultural arts specialist for the City of Tacoma, of the name change from last year. “It’s all digital, and not just visual art.”

Strom-Avila adds that of the 63 submissions, there are two DVDs of artists performing music, and four DVD movie shorts. Additionally, 46 submissions this year are from people who didn’t submit work last year.

“It’s exciting to see a mix of work,” Strom-Avila says.

The evening will include a multimedia project by Justin Gorman, “In <Trans>it,” an interactive work in progress that will be presented by the Tacoma Arts Initiative Program recipient.

Additionally, Chad Hagedorn will provide the soundtrack for the projection of the artworks, helping to create a multi-layered artistic feeling to the event.

Unlike that freshman art class where you might have fallen asleep drooling on yourself, this evening, according to Strom-Avila, “moves at a fast pace to keep it a lively event.” Even after the rapid-fire projection of the art, which Strom-Avila says is “shown pretty much in alphabetical order,” with up to 10 pieces of work from each visual artist.

The casual evening also will feature a social hour after about an hour of art projection, “It’s meant for people to meet each other,” Strom-Avila emphasizes, “It’s another way to build community.”

To aid in placing faces to art and names to people, a program passed out that evening will have contact information, artist’s statement and information about the works shown for each artist.

“Hopefully, that will help, too,” muses Strom-Avila. Responding to speculation that the audience, seeing the quality of work, can potentially add some Tacoma art to their collections, Strom-Avila states, “We hope it leads to opportunities.”

[Rialto Theater, Friday, Nov. 16, 7-9 p.m., free, 310 S. Ninth St., Tacoma, 253.591.5890]

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