Meet Jean Mann
First published December 2020
Beacon Arts: Hi Jean, I have known you for a while now. I remember you playing at Beacon Rocks back in the day and also at a Garden House Concert. One of my favorite things about you is that you play barefoot!
Jean Mann: That’s funny- I did a recent (Zoom substituted) gig and the host wanted to be assured I was barefoot! (I was) so I guess it’s a thing with me...all I know is, it’s how I feel the music best.
BA: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself
JM: I am local singer songwriter/ukulele teacher, Jean Mann. I’ve been teaching private, one-on-one lessons for over 5 years - primarily beginning ukulele - kids to adults. My goal is for students to learn new skills and have fun while doing so! I teach in a comfy home studio setting in Mt Baker and NOW online via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype etc. my motto: “Let’s make some happy noise together!”
BA: I know the Stay At Home order is being very hard on live performers, how are you coping?
JM: I have been teaching online since mid-March. First, just as an option, but quickly became the only access for my students. I was surprised that some of the features, like the application for sharing files while teaching have turned out to be cool tools!
BA: It’s great that you have been able to stay connected to your students.
JM: Yeah, at first I thought, “Who would want to play sweet, lighthearted ukulele at a time like this?”
BA: But they do?
JM: Yeah they need it now more than they ever did!
BA: Who are you working with?
JM: some kids, and surprisingly many of my students are middle aged women, taking up an instrument for the first time. One student who works full time carves out time for class cause she says “This is my me time.” With the Uke there are easy-to-play chords, so it’s gratifying right away.
BA: That is very cool. How can people reach you to learn more?
JM: Check out my website https://www.jeanmann.net/ukulele-lessons. You can email me directly from there to get details.
BA: They can also see your cool tricycles glass lights and hear some great original music! I am so glad you joined Beacon Arts Guild. How can we be of service?
JM: I would love to tap into teaching more school-aged kids.
BA: Well, I hope some of our followers get in touch with you about lessons and we will have your interview and contact info up in our new Beacon Arts Guild directory in June to help folks find you and all you have to offer our community.
JM: Yes! More than ever, we need to make some happy noise!
Meet Ashlee Staub of Rainbow Pirate Crafts
First published April 2020
Beacon Arts: Hi Ashlee, tell us a little about yourself.
Ashlee Staub: I'm a Mother, Teaching Artist, Community Coordinator and Kids Activities Director for local music festivals. I'm currently teaching virtually on Zoom some Pre-K & Kindergarten art classes and guiding Journaling Journey Classes for tweens to adults. I have lived on Beacon Hill for 9 years. I love my neighborhood and city. I have worked in preschool and elementary schools for over 10 years. I work with Beacon Arts and Wildcraft Kids as Vice President of both. I enjoy kayaking, camping, cooking outdoors, gardening, and spending time with my loved ones. One of my personal mottos is, Make Art Everyday!
BA: Great Motto! Where have you worked?
AS: I've been the activities director for the kids area at the Summer Meltdown Festival for 9 years & summer lead teacher for K-5 groups for 6 years with the Giddens School.
BA: I know you and your two sons have been sequestered at home for five weeks already. How are you coping with the stay at home order?
AS: 7 weeks actually. I pulled my kids out before the schools closed. We try and stay busy while also taking breaks. We don’t have a routine, we have daily and weekly rituals. We get up and nourish our bodies first. We have something like a circle time check in after breakfast and make our plans for the day. Most days they do a little schoolwork, reading and art. I have both kiddos pick which days off they would like since weekends blend into the week. We have house projects we are doing together like our garden. Everyone helps with house chores daily before screen time. I work a couple days a week from home so they kids have had to get used to not having my attention during those times. I’m so grateful they get along 95% of the time.
BA: I am delighted that Beacon Arts has been able to support your efforts to reach out to our community during the stay at home order. I spoke with Melissa Henry, her son is in your Pre-K art class. She says your class is helping to fill the loss of community for her son. “It helps him to see the other kids. He likes holding up his paper for the others to see. Ashlee did some charting with the kids and a scavenger hunt in their backyards. She really cares about the kids and you don’t always get that in a teacher.”
AS: The little kiddos need to see kids their own age and interact just like we do. Thinking we might need to do a DANCE PARTY in our group soon.
BA: How can people find your work and learn about your classes?
AS: The best way is to email me at or check out my FB page. Soon they can check out my website (not online right now)
BA: We also added your on-line classes to our website calendar at the bottom of our home page
BA: You have been a big volunteer for Beacon Arts and are helping to explore the idea of creating an Artist Guild to support working artists. Thanks for all you do to make opportunities for artists in art markets and meet ups! We can chat more with folks about that if they join our free Friday Art Making Meet ups. Email or fill out the survey. Check out some of Ashlee's online events on the Beacon Arts calendar.
Meet Crick Lont AKA Dozer
First Published December 2019
Beacon Arts has been supporting the work of local artists for 10 years! Crick Lont, aka Dozer, is a gifted artist and muralist. You have seen his work around Beacon Hill for years. His sunflowers adorn the warehouse Beacon Arts opened to the public in 2017, and in the bus shelter at Red Apple Market. Crick has done a number of projects as commissions from both Beacon Business Alliance and Beacon Arts.
Beacon Arts selected Crick as the curator of murals inside the warehouse that has become Dozer’s Warehouse and Gallery. The building is still slated for demolition, but the date keeps slipping into the future, now expected at the end of summer 2020.
We chatted with Crick...
Beacon Arts: Crick, why did you decide to work with Beacon Arts?
Crick Lont: We met at the Station. Working with the Merchants and Beacon Arts, painting live at the Station Block Party and Beacon Hill Festival, then the warehouse. It was a perfect match! It was organic. Beacon Arts made the warehouse possible and I continued to work with the owner.
BA: What’s happening now at the space?
CL: A New Year's Party! Tickets are at https://www.otowgang.com/#home-section
I try to have a new art show in the gallery each month, but can only open the doors during the opening. The next show will be in February. I expect to be here until the building comes down. We still are open to private rentals on a limited basis.
BA: How can people reach you to learn more or arrange to see and use the warehouse and gallery?
CL: They can follow me @dozer_art, and I post about the warehouse @dozers_warehouse_and_gallery. I focus mostly on local artists. I’m still working on the dates and events in 2020.
BA: Are those links the best place to keep up with you?
CL: Yes and for events we also post QR codes in the Gallery window and at the Station Coffee Shop for more.
BA: How can the Beacon Hill community support you and your work?
CL: Follow us on social media and come out to events!
BA: Thanks, Crick, I am so happy that you and the other artists you show are keeping the warehouse alive to the bitter end! Happy New Year!
Meet Tess LeNoir of Day Moon Press
First published December 2019
Beacon Arts is our continuing 10th anniversary conversations with local artists. In this edition, we visit Day Moon Press. Maura Shapley and Jack Lenoir have maintained this legendary letter press business on Beacon Ave for over 30 years, while raising their 2 daughters in the apartment above. The shop has supported Beacon Arts' efforts from the start, sharing paper and equipment. Jack designed almost every poster and community calendar for the first 8 years. Today the shop is slowly being transferred to their youngest daughter, Tess.
Beacon Arts: How long have you lived on Beacon Hill?
Tess LeNoirL: 26 years.
BA: What’s up at Day Moon Press?
TL: We are planning to reshape the shop space for the future. There are a lot of resources here that I want to use and make available to other artists. Right now we’re pretty busy, but during slow times I am working to clean up space to make it available to others. It’s always been a working shop that fit my mom, Maura. She knows how to use it and she has taught me. I am thinking about how to organize the time and ensure the safety of both other people and the equipment.
BA: What kind of business is Day Moon Press?
TL: Custom letterpress: business cards, invitations, cards and broadsides. We do have a small retail area for our work and also artists who we have collaborated with or who made work here. That’s our “retail corner”.
BA: I know you are busy with the business and also an artist. What’s your current project?
TL: I am doing prep work to put letterpress into narrative form. Book arts can be long, labor intensive, expensive projects. I am figuring out how to make that work more accessible. If I am writing something that only 6 people will get to read, then who am I doing this for?
BA: What do you need from the community?
TL: I wonder what people want from our space? We have an open door policy. Anyone can come in, see the equipment in use and how they work. We are happy to show what they can accomplish.
BA: How can Beacon Arts help?
TL: Structure. How to accomplish. I don’t know how to start teaching. Safety, administration, get people to come. Smart way to start that. I dream of making the art and craft of letterpress available for others to learn. I don’t know what appeals to the public. How to start? Is this achievable?
Meet Lorelei Amato of 1403 Artspace
First published November 2019
Beacon Arts is celebrating our 10th Anniversary! We are revisiting our mission: "to create opportunity for Artists and Audiences on Beacon Hill" to include direct support of economic opportunities for artists. We aim to help artists remain in place to continue their work feeding the intellectual and spiritual essence of our community culture in all of its diverse beauty.
To that end we will be sharing interviews with past and current BA volunteers who continue to work here on Beacon.
Lorelei Amato is a teaching artist. She was instrumental in producing three Beacon Walkabout events, helped create the Kimball Elementary Art Walk and continues to teach at local schools and in the homeschool community. She is excited to share her new venture, 1403 Artspace, with the community.
Beacon Arts: What attracted you to volunteer with Beacon Arts six years ago?
Lorelei Amato: I wanted to connect with the local arts community and leverage my skills to be of service to Beacon HIll.
BA: What inspired you to create this new studio space?
LA: This is a 20-year dream. I’ve been a portable art teacher for a long time, and I wanted a place where students could go in different directions, have access to other mediums, not be limited by what I had in my travel bin. If I did try to teach in my old studio, kids were so crammed in everyone had to get up if one person wanted construction paper. It wasn’t sustainable. Now we can spread out and make a mess! It’s glorious.
BA: Are you happy with the results?
LA: OMG, Yes!
BA: So what’s happening at 1403 Artspace?
LA: There’s lots coming up…I am teaching a class based on DBT therapy, and hosting an art journaling class for people in grief. I’m planning a "kid art for grownups" evening, adapting some of my favorite kid art lessons for adults. I’m teaching a feminist art history class for the homeschool community. There’s a hand lettering class coming up in a couple weeks, and I’ve had a request for sewing and fiber art classes that I’m pursuing. Starting with "Subversive embroidery on Fridays. I will have details on the calendar.
BA: What do you need from the community to further your dream?
LA: I’d love to partner with more teaching artists, and to get more requests for classes. I want to be offering things my neighbors can get excited about. And of course I just want people to be here. It’s such a beautiful room, when I come in to make art, I feel cozy and happy.
BA: How can people take advantage of the space?
LA: They can check the class calendar, propose a project they want to do or ask for a class that interests them on the website. To come visit the space, email me. Teaching artists can also propose a class they would like to present here.
BA: How can BA Help?
LA: This interview is great! Being on the call for artists page to would help get the word out to other teaching artists
BA: Anything else?
LA: I want people to know this is a safe space for all ages and abilities. No Pressure to “be an artist”, just leave their troubles at the door and let creative energy flow for a while. I hear so many adults say “It sounds fun, but I’m not an artist.” Then come have fun! Too many people have this tight idea of who is allowed to make art. It’s restrictive. That’s why I wanted a space that feels nice and comfy. A pleasant space that is also a place to make art. Not intimidating, welcoming.