“It’s going to be a bona fide museum in the Georgetown neighborhood,” says Julianna Ross, Seattle City Light’s community program developer for Georgetown Steam Plant. Wedged in between I-5, the Duwamish Waterway and downtown Georgetown, the (mostly) white, neoclassical exterior of the building stands out among its industrial neighbors and the planes sitting idle on Boeing Airfield’s runway. It’s like a frosted sheet cake with a dark and gritty filling.
Sam Farrazaino, creator and developer of the sprawling art studio complexes Inscape Arts (in the former INS building) and Equinox (in Georgetown), is shepherding the new center’s ambitious vision under the umbrella of the new nonprofit. Eventually the nonprofit will manage programming and day-to-day operations of the new arts and science center, as well as minor maintenance of the building. Farrazaino projects the new center will employ six full-time staff members to lead operations (administration, repair and maintenance), plus museum and event staff.
“I want to do as much stuff as possible to get more people in here,” says Farrazaino, who describes the new Steam Plant as an “industrial cathedral” where people will be able to “set their imaginations on fire.”
Farrazaino’s vision for the space is grand: a museum for tourists, history buffs and students who want to examine the turbines and engineering feats up close; a hub for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education; and a community arts center with regular events, performances and artist residencies. He adds that the plant’s 20,000-square-foot interior will stay mostly the same — raw — with no stages or permanent seating to be added. The revamped plant’s audience capacity will be roughly 700 people.
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