GiveBIG 2016: Lunch Break Live Stream!

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THUMB_2016 Give Big websiteYou may already know about GiveBIGThe Seattle Foundation’s one-day, online charitable giving event, designed to raise money for our region’s hard-working nonprofits. But did you know that this year, Town Hall is adding a new, non-digital element to the annual event?

May 3rd, we’re partnering with 25 diverse area nonprofits to fill every nook and cranny of Town Hall for a Lunch Break Bonanza. We’ll have local food truck Peasant Food Manifesto out front where you can grab lunch and then head inside where ten partner nonprofits will take over the Great Hall for a three-hour showcase, highlighting their mission and our collective impact.

Check out our event page for a full list of our partners and more information. Can’t make it? We’ll live stream the event HERE as well! Loop in from a desk, a phone, wherever; we’re happy to have you and hope you’ll GiveBIG to the organizations that help make Seattle great!

Who’s presenting?  

11:00am Tony Mestres, The Seattle Foundation
11:05am Katy Sewall, Town Hall Seattle
11:10am Spectrum Dance Theater
11:25am Crosscut Public Media
11:30am The Mockingbird Society
11:47am Intiman
12:05pm Seattle CityClub

Donor Spotlight: Wyncote Foundation Northwest

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Donor Spotlight: Wyncote Foundation Northwest

Wyncote Foundation NWTown Hall Seattle was spared from the wrecking ball nearly 15 years ago, largely due to the vision of founder and longtime executive director, David Brewster. He saw the need for a space that could be a home for many small non-profits in Seattle – a platform where many voices could engage with the community. A group of 17 community leaders and visionaries championed this cause and helped fund the purchase of the building.

Fast forward 15 years, and we find ourselves in deep gratitude and appreciation for the vision of our patrons. The Campaign for Town Hall is a project for our community, and has been embraced as such. Many have stepped forward to invest in the future of Town Hall, through donations, guidance and leadership.
One such donor is the Wyncote Foundation. Incorporated in 2009, the foundation supports causes from arts and education to preservation. Town Hall is fortunate to be the recipient of a $2,000,000 grant to restore and preserve our building. $1,000,000 of this gift is designated as a challenge grant, to help build momentum around fundraising efforts. To unlock this gift, Town Hall has started the 90 in 90 Challenge. In short, if we receive 90 major gifts in the first 90 days of 2016, this gift will be unlocked. If you have questions about the challenge, please contact Michael Breeden, Capital Campaign Manager, at 206.652.4255 ext. 20 or

The generosity of The Wyncote Foundation is transformational, as is the support of so many other organizations and individuals in our community. Our deep gratitude extends to all of the generous donors who have contributed thus far.[/vc_column_text]


Partner Profile: Zeno

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To some, making math fun might seem—well, as hard as math itself.

Zeno makes it look easy. A non-profit whose mission is to increase children’s competence and confidence in math with fun and engaging activities, last season Zeno partnered with Town Hall to bring engaging math-focused programming like ‘stand-up Mathematician’ Matt Parker, Fields Medal winner Cedric Villani, to name a few. “We like to highlight the work being done in our community,” explains Town Hall Program Director Stesha Brandon,” Zeno brings games to programs for audience members to play with and they have put on post-program workshops, which only enriches the experience for all involved.”

This season’s math-focused programming kicks off on September 14th with an evening with “mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin, who brings the message that while math CAN be seriously complex, it’s also seriously fun. “Town Hall has made it possible for our community to come face-to-face with the people who are showing the world that math can be inspiring, exciting and transformative,” says Zeno’s Development Manager Erin Tierney, “what has struck me is seeing so many of our community members bringing their kids and the whole family along and enjoying seeing math through a new lens.”

Already love math? Then we have the programs for you! Never really felt comfortable with algebra or geometry? We still have the programs for you! Attend one of Town Hall’s math-focused programs and give Zeno, and our speakers, a chance to make math fun and engaging for the whole family.

Partner Profile: Early Music Guild

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When David Brewster founded Town Hall Seattle in 1998, he envisioned a home for small and mid-sized arts organizations—specifically, Seattle’s Early Music Guild, which became one of Town Hall’s first presenting partners. EMG committed to presenting its entire series in the Great Hall during Town Hall’s first season, cementing a successful partnership that has lasted 15 years and counting.

Early Music Guild is dedicated to advancing the community’s appreciation for music from the middle ages through the 18th century, but Executive Director August Denhard is quick to note that you don’t have to know about the history of the music to enjoy the performances—they do all that work for you.

“There are elements of chamber, world, and folk music embedded in the performances. It feels like classical music, except you’ll hear instruments from another era. Instead of modern violins, we play Baroque violins—copies of instruments from museums. It creates a different sound that clarifies the music, makes the music lighter and brings it to life,” he says.

Denhard is particularly excited about the upcoming 2014-15 season. “This is the year we make a final decision about a new music director for Seattle Baroque Orchestra,” he said. “We’re coming to the end of a two-year search process, and the three remaining candidates will each ‘audition’ at a performance this season. This is a fairly rigorous process for a small organization, but we wanted to make it interactive to really get the audience involved.” EMG will distribute questionnaires at the SBO performances so audience members can share their thoughts and input.  “We’re looking for a great fit for the community and for the orchestra…someone who can contribute to the arts scene on many levels.”

You can catch the first guest director in action on November 1, when Matthias Maute joins celebrated soprano Shannon Mercer and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra for The American Dream, which recreates the musical life of Boston’s early days.

This season, Early Music Guild will also celebrate an international collaboration with Early Music Vancouver and Victoria, BC’s Early Music Society of the Islands to present Theodora, Handel’s famous oratorio. This is the first of many ambitious Baroque masterpieces envisioned by the partners. The International Series kicks off on November 15 with Montreal-based ensemble Constantinople, who will interpret Italian singer and composer Barbara Strozzi’s Baroque cantatas with an Iranian influence, presenting these 17th-century masterworks in a way they’ve never been heard before.

Denhard thinks Town Hall is the perfect place for audiences to appreciate these kinds of unique performances: “The Great Hall itself is perfectly suited to what we do. It’s a historical space with acoustics that are clear and resonant…it doesn’t sound like a CD. There’s a personality and characteristics that are unique to Town Hall.”


Rainier Scholars Share Their Findings

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On June 11, Town Hall audiences got a rare glimpse of the teenage perspective as five high school students from Rainier Scholars, a program that works to unlock academic potential and leadership skills of motivated students of color, inhabited the Great Hall stage and shared their thoughts on everything from U.S. foreign policy to curing cancer.

Each season, Town Hall chooses an Artist in Residence and a Scholar in Residence to inhabit the building, attend events at Town Hall, and share their findings with audiences. Program Director Stesha Brandon explained, “This season, we did things a little bit differently. I had worked with Rainier Scholars in the past and I was so impressed by the work that they do and the students there that I thought we would have many scholars this season.” So, she invited nine students from Rainier Scholars to serve as Town Hall’s Scholars in Residence—and their unique insights into Town Hall and its contributions to the community were illuminating.

Hilina Giday, who will be a senior next year, was riveted by a presentation called “Systems Biology in Cancers,” saying, “I can’t stress enough—I didn’t blink. What fascinated me about the event itself was that I was hearing people a couple of feet away from me talking about how they were probably going to cure cancer. The ability to physically be in that range was fascinating. It really opens your eyes to see someone who will probably change the world right in front of you.” She was so moved by the presentation that she went to Town Hall’s website and posted a thoughtful 350-word reaction to the information she learned, claiming that the interactive lecture by a panel of experts “beats any Biology class by a long shot.”

Alicia Finney had a similar experience at a lecture by UCLA Professor Jared Diamond. “When I was really little, I read a book about Lucy, who was the first primate to walk on two legs. When he [Jared Diamond] started talking about that same topic—about Lucy—my love for learning started to come back. I realized that Town Hall hosts events like these so that you’re thinking about things that you don’t normally think about, and it rekindles that pure love for learning.”

They all shared powerful individual experiences, but noted that most of the events shared one similarity: “It was all old people in the audience,” Feven Mckonnen said, as the audience chuckled. “Most of the Town Hall events I went to, the speakers were talking about high school kids. They were talking about our generation, and how this generation is going to do great things, and yet, I was the only person my age there. I think it’s important for kids like us—and especially students of color—to know the expectations adults have for us. Because how are we supposed to meet them if we have no idea what they are?”

If you have young people in your life, we encourage you to bring them to events at Town Hall! (We even offer free and discounted tickets through the Teen Tix program.) “Going to these events gives us a leap forward,” Feven added.

Artist in Residence Tomo Nakayama, a seasoned musician who recorded a new album at Town Hall during his residency, gave a bit of sage advice to the students: “When you grow up and you’re out of school, you look everywhere for opportunities to learn. Town Hall is great for that.”

Town Hall is grateful to A&P for sponsoring the Town Hall residencies and to Capitol Cider for generously providing special sponsorship support for the Artist in Residence program. If you’re interested in supporting Town Hall’s In Residence program, contact Kevin Malgesini at or (206) 652-4255, ext. 34.

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