Open House was awesome. Last Saturday the 21st, over 400 people came through Youngstown and the vibe was one of warmth, vibrancy, and creativity. Can I say the vibe was vibrant? Yes, I did. Because it was.
I think I am spoiled. I spend most of my time here in this wonderland of arts and expression that is Youngstown. If I’m not in my apartment with my artist neighbors nearby and deluxe ceilings overhead, I’m down on the main floor working on behalf of the broader community of artists and youth, and wandering our art-filled halls. So the Open House is extra special for me personally, because that’s when we get to SHARE this place with people from all over Seattle. Our advertising paid off, as we learned attendees heard about the Open House from many different outlets. Special shout out to PB&J Textiles for helping us out with posters and banners, and to The Stranger for ad placement in their paper.
My favorite part? Not gonna lie, it was the falafel. Shimi, the proprietor of Falafel Salam, wasn’t kidding when he told me it’s the best in town. We were blessed to have him there in addition to the fabulous Micro Doughnuts. Food trucks at the Open House! New tradition. Realistically, it might have also been my favorite part of the day because eating lunch was the only time all day I sat down for more than thirty seconds.
I made a point of trying to say hello to all 20 organization representatives tabling on the first floor, and to visit all my neighbors who generously opened up their studios to the public. I think I got to everyone, and the most amazing part was that no space in the building was ever empty. Any studio I popped into or table I visited was also being visited by others. Some days at Youngstown can feel like that – every space filled with voices and activities and sounds pulsing throughout the building, from our Movement Studio, Theater, classroom spaces, and down the halls. But that’s business as usual on the first floor. What makes the Open House special is the integration of the upstairs and downstairs together, something we’ve been working to cultivate. It worked! And it felt goooooood.
What made all of this possible was an incredibly long list of partners, volunteers, and sponsors. I guess that’s what ‘community’ means. The word gets tossed around a lot, but it’s palpable here. The Youngstown community is strong, and vast. SO MANY people helped out in little ways, a select few in very big ways, and remarkably NOTHING went wrong or got missed – a testament to the amazing folks that live, work, and play at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
If you missed the Open House, you should at least look at photos on our Pinterest board, which capture only some of the multitudinous happenings here that day.
Special thanks to the West Seattle Blog for helping promote the event, and notably for mentioning the rise in activities and community engagement here over the last year. It means a lot to hear that our hard work does not go unnoticed.
Though we will not have our annual Open House for another year (duh), there are plenty of ways to plug into the Youngstown community in the meantime. Stay tuned for more public events and performances, come take a class, or stop on by for a visit. You’re always welcome, and thank you.