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Dear Diary: Sierra Stinson

Sierra Stinson is known for being one of the Seattle art world’s most sincere and  generous champions. She is also a talented and inventive curator. Founder of Vignettes, her in-home gallery, she is one of the brains behind Seattle’s annual art/light festival ONN/OF, which she curates with Susan Robb, and has taken Seattle artists to New York in a moving truck which she parked in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Vignettes is the heart of her practice. Before each exhibition, all of Stinson’s personal belongings are removed from her living room and transferred to the closets and bedroom. This is an upgrade from the first days of the project, when she lived in a studio apartment and everything was packed into a small walk-in closet. She then hangs the show and invites us in.

All of this work is done for a single climactic evening, and it’s finished. One night of arms and elbows touching the arms and elbows of others; hushed and excited whispers and shouts, big eyes and wonder at the quality of work that a small apartment can hold and yet still give so much space, honor, and respect. All of this because Stinson has a larger vision for the artists of Seattle than putting work on a wall. She envisions this as a place where things begin, and that from here there is more to come. I imagine 2014 will reveal some very exciting opportunities through Vignettes, propelling the artists of Seattle far beyond its borders.

Here is a day in Sierra’s life, in her own words.


It began bright and early to these two beauties : Graham still sleeping and Dinah.
Dinah is my first priority of every day and she has no problem reminding me so.


This is a snippet of our small kitchen collection (left to right: Graham Downing, Shaun Kardinal, and Tilla Künzli)


This is what I look at every day when I depart our apartment. Our landlord commissioned Seattle artist Jana Brevick to create this when she used to live in our building long before we lived here.

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
In the brief course of this one day lie all the realities of your existence.
Yesterday is only a dream and tomorrow is but a vision
yet each today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
Look well, therefore, to this one day for it and it alone is life – Excerpt from the poem by Kalidasa

First thing on my list was a studio visit for future Vignettes artist Adam Boehmer


He will be exhibiting his first solo show on December 19th which will also be Vignettes 3rd year anniversary.


He had a lot of ideas and sculptures he’s been creating from materials he gleans.


I can’t wait to see what he does with our space!


My mom Elizabeth was visiting from Portland for the day so I spent some quality time with her and my cousins who live in the area. She is a force. Throughout my entire life she has been an advocate for many people in this world, she is an activist, artist and therapist. I admire her constant need to give and enable.


Back home these two were busy painting…


(still painting)


These are the hands of dancer Molly Sides folding her napkin into a lotus flower for the first time – the only origami I know thanks to a dear friend in Glasgow.
It only works with square napkins and Cafe Presse has the perfect ones.


The days are brisk and brief yet the construction throughout the city isn’t settling.


It continues to grow vertically stretching up into our skyline.


I found this classic – after a recent conversation with performance artist & director Ryan Mitchell I decided it was time to read it.


We met up with my cousin Melanie who I met nine years ago when we both moved to Seattle from elsewhere.
We now gather for dinner every 10 days or so.


This time we went out for hot pot. Soup seemed like the perfect remedy for the temperature drop this weekend.


After dinner I returned home to work on some future projects. Vignettes next year is shifting and expanding, there is much to be done and I’ve been researching, applying for grants, as well as emailing lots of individuals.


Graham arrives and wants to go out so we popped over to Montana for some drawing, photos and a Moscow mule.
This is a great text currently roaming the deserted ‘proposed land use action’ spaces throughout Seattle.


12:57 – The moon is bright and now it is time to rest.






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