Bringing AMcE Creative Arts to fruition was an electrifying journey. From having signed the space’s lease mid-March to opening our doors June 12, the momentum was full tilt yet gratefully blessed nearly every step of the way (save some [very] irritating yet recoverable hiccups par for the herculean task of starting a brick-and-mortar business). Absolutely worth each 12-hour day, ensuing eye twitch and cocktail hour en lieu of actual dinner. 

Here’s how we got here, how AMcE was born and how cookies were involved.

A Los Angeles transplant with 20+ years enmeshed in its art world, I moved to Seattle end of August 2020. I wasn’t sure where I’d land professionally, but I knew I wanted to stay connected to the arts, my artist career advisory work and somehow utilize my 10+ years of event planning and community building. By November, I decided that I wanted to create my own world, one in which I could involve all my passions and talents under one roof, so I started scheming my AMcE-ish plans.

In the meantime, eager to explore my new surroundings I’d Google Seattle’s neighborhoods and parks as starting points for my get-to-know-my-new-city adventures. I’d heard a lot about Capitol Hill and punched Volunteer Park into my phone’s map. I’d also heard about Hello Robin Cookies and since it was close to the park it would provide my entrée into the neighborhood. And, well, the cookies. That’s when I first saw the space (now my gallery) on 19th Ave E.

I had no business reaching out to the space’s leasing agent, figuring I would not secure a spot for the to-be AMcE enterprise until June 2021 and then open in September. But the space stayed with me; so beautiful and the area’s vibe felt very simpatico to my AMcE vision. Plus it had been the home of Ritual House of Yoga and its former self was in my tribe. I started calling about the space in January. And calling. And then calling. I am nothing if not dogged.

Gratefully, my Spidey senses were spot on. I feel so at home in the space and the neighborhood. And leading up to and then one week into having opened, I feel exceptionally fortunate that our presence has been really warmly welcomed by our neighbors – locals and businesses alike. Folks seem hip to the idea of cultural programs in their backyard and being centrally located we’re convenient for most Seattleites.

Opening reception June 12, 2021

I am exceptionally fortunate that my fellow gallerists and the cultural community have also been beyond kind in their support. From the get go. Thank you/prayer emoji hands in triplicate.

While we were hanging Icarus, Anne’s site-specific installation of hundreds of small, abstract paintings and ceramic pieces covering the northern wall of the gallery, writer and cultural maven Brangien Davis of Crosscut popped by for a visit. Stepping around the pieces of Icarus that then covered the gallery floor, she and Anne chatted about her work and the show, which is Anne’s west coast solo debut. After some photos were snapped, Brangien and I sat down to chat about AMcE, the timing of its opening and my grand ambitions for its program and impact. 

Here’s the piece she wrote on Anne and AMcE. Brangien is dynamite, if you are not already aware.

No two ways about it, we are thrilled to be here (“I” is now “we” since hiring my wonderful gallery assistant/co-pilot Sylvie). It’s a dream come true, if I haven’t said it enough. With each artist’s “yes” to my initial overture of Hey, I’m starting this gallery in Seattle, and I want to do shows, programs and this Niche Market thing – you in? to the incredible Go Girl’s and emotional highfives from friends, colleagues and family, the spark burned bright and I felt so fully embraced along the way. The collective warm fuzzies about my AMcE endeavor fed my soul.

This is Sylvie.

I share all this because I am in awe and so excited to share my love for art, artists and shared experiences with my new friends and neighbors in Seattle. With an open heart, I can’t wait to welcome you to AMcE Creative Arts. And with Phase Four in the making, there may even be hugs. 

xx McLean

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