September 7, 1998
King County Performance Network
by Deborah Stone
Last year the National Endowment for the Arts joined with King County Arts Commission and twelve suburban cities' arts commissions to establish the King County Performance Network. In its second year of a two year pilot project, the Performance Network is a unique collaboration between national, regional and local governments to expand performance opportunities for regional artists and to provide quality performing arts programs for audiences in suburban locations throughout King County.
The twelve local arts agencies and venues presenting performances in 1998 include: the Arts Commissions of Duvall, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Mercer Island and Tukwila, the Kirkland Performance Center, Renton Parks and Recreation, Shoreline Arts Council, the Theatre at Meydenbauer Center and Vashon Allied Arts.
There has been tremendous growth in King County's population over the last ten years, primarily in suburban areas. These communities are building performing arts venues because their residents want to see performances and attend cultural events in facilities conveniently located to their homes.
In the past five years, new theatres have been built in Issaquah, Bellevue, Kirkland and Federal Way. Popular venues already exist in Auburn, Burien and Renton, as well as several high school auditoriums with state-of-the-art performance facilities in Tukwila, Redmond and Duvall. Along with the construction of cultural facilities has been the establishment of local arts commissions as part of city governments. King County communities support the arts and are committed to bringing artists to their areas.
The success of last year's Performance Network has attributed to its growth this year.
There are now five programs with nine dance ensembles performing twenty-three concerts in fourteen locations. The focus of the Network continues to be on contemporary dance as the Puget Sound region is home to a number of nationally acclaimed choreographers and companies. The kick-off performance for this year's series is TriDANCE, an evening of collected works by KT/Dance, IntenselyFUN Dance Theatre and Crispin Spaeth Dance Group on Sept. 11 at the Kirkland Performance Center. Closer to home, is a performance by Spectrum Dance Theatre Sept. 18 at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall. (See accompanying story in the Entertainment section of this issue.) For further information call 1-800-677-ARTS.