A New Community Space in Hillman City

A progressive congregation (Valley and Mountain Fellowship) and a grassroots arts organization (Community Arts Create) are collaborating to launch a new space in Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood. The prominent storefront is in a beautiful historical building anchoring the central intersection of Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood. The space, dubbed the “Hillman City ColLaboratory,” includes a multipurpose meeting room, a kitchen, offices, and work-share space for artists and activists.

The building itself is owned by an evangelical Christian who insisted on maintaining highly prominent religious signage in the second-floor windows of the building, creating a significant messaging problem for the more inclusive,community-oriented mission of the new downstairs space. V&M pastor John Helmiere asked me to design sidewalk-level signage to announce the building’s new tenants, to present a friendlier and more welcoming aspect to passers-by, and to encourage neighborly curiosity about the new space.

I worked with organizational staff to plan a series of photographic banners featuring faces and quotes from prominent spiritual leaders of different faith traditions, set into the lower third of the full-height windows wrapping around two sides of the building. (The varying width of the banners below reflects the unequal size of the windows.) The banners create a new horizontal ribbon “wrapping” the building, while drawing visual attention to the newly-active interior of the space.