From the street, you see a brick front, built into the hillside, with a colorful mask, a few half built objects and art supplies strewn around. The sign announces: Fremont Powerhouse—and powerhouse it is!
According to Denise, an artist who’s been around since the early days of the Powerhouse: “The Arts Council came into this space in 1992 or 93. We needed a permanent space. The school (behind it) had this empty building that hadn’t been used in decades. It was ¾ full of boilers. So with support from the school’s principal, FAC members wrote a grant, and helped dismantle the boilers and move them out.”
Now it’s used both inside and outside. Today, people are busy putting finishing touches on their Solstice Parade floats, puppets, and masks.
Denise: “Several times a year we have parades and festivals that honor the changing season. Right now it’s the summer solstice happening tomorrow, so this is a busy place.”
In addition to preparing for the summer Solstice Parade, there’s a winter solstice feast. People make hundreds of candles for the feasting tables, and headdresses for all the guests. Then they build installations. Much of that happens at the Power House as well as at the feasting space. And groups can reserve the Powerhouse to make their own stuff for celebrations.
Whatever you need for making things is here…or one of the volunteer helpers knows where you can get it. All art materials are donated.
Denise: “The Fremont Arts Council tries to promote the idea that everyone is an artist; some people just haven’t discovered that yet. One of FAC’s mottos is “Here, hold this.” Because when you hand a person a paintbrush or glue gun and encourage her, she often creates something she never dreamed of. People have met each other here, and gotten married, and had children. Barb Luecke, one of the Founders, says a sign of a successful parade is when someone falls in love.”
“The place is hugely forgiving. It’s not intimidating. It’s not like we’re making “ART” for a gallery walk! We’re making art because it’s a fun thing to do together. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with what people put together— obviously some gorgeous stuff gets made by people who are professional artists but a lot of the pieces are slapped together from paint and cardboard and are really charming!” Even the Fremont troll was made here. Now it’s a hulking tourist attraction up under the Aurora Bridge. People can contribute money up there to help keep the Powerhouse going. Money matters, but the real power of the Powerhouse is LOVE!
3940 Fremont Ave North
Seattle, WA 98103