Beacon Arts began as ROCKiT Space, a community art studio with recording and band practice space in the basement. It was founded July 2009 by Jessie McKenna and her mom, Marti McKenna. They opened the doors of the little storefront on Beacon Ave and soon became it a hub of community creative activity. Jessie, the Director, was an active partner with Beacon Hill Music, a new neighborhood group, that was organizing a new outdoor concert series at the recently completed Roberto Maestas Festival Street. They called it "Beacon Rocks", which usually got a laugh!
After a year and a half of pouring her time, money and heart bringing this organization into being, a family emergency called Jessie away and she told us she would have to close ROCKiT Space. All of us who had become regulars were sad to hear the news and held a few community meetings to discuss what was important to us, and what we were willing to do to keep things going. We volunteered to man the studio and help with fund-raising to keep the doors open at least until the lease was up in February 2011.
Betty Jean Williamson became Acting Director. Robert Hinrix used his old time music connections to hold a benefit concert, others manned the studio through the end of the year. It became clear that the overhead on the storefront was not sustainable, so Betty Jean did a community survey to identify other spaces in the community where key programs could continue. "Tots Jam", a toddler music class, found a new home in a classroom at El Centro de le Raza. The "Open Mic" was welcomed by Jun Velencio into Kusina Filipina and the gear for Beacon Rocks was stored in the back. We began a new relationship with the Washington State Federated Garden Club, owners of the beautiful historic victorian they call "Headquarters House". This graceful venue is rented out for weddings and events to pay for the maintenance, and little used by the Garden Club itself.
A new board of directors was formed as we moved out of the storefront and into a tiny office upstairs in Headquarters House. We changed the name to ROCKiT Community Arts (as we had no "Space" of our own) and focused on building community through the arts. Robert Hinrix began curating concerts there under the title "Folk Club" and continues today as "Garden House Concerts". We dubbed our new home "Garden House" and it stuck.
In 2012, Seattle Magazine’s Best of 2012, awarded Reader’s Choice to Garden House for Best Music Venue on Beacon Hill and Beacon Arts Director, Betty Jean Williamson, as our Neighborhood Hero.
Garden House is now home to 3 monthly programs; Beacon Hill Meaningful Movies and Early Bird Blues Dance, plus a quarterly square dance and other events proposed by local Artists.
June 2014, our board one last time changed our name to Beacon Arts to reflect more clearly where we are and what we do.
In 2015 we have scheduled 64 public events and the programs keep growing. We seek to preserve the flavor of our wonderfully diverse community while supporting emerging and established artists of all kinds.
Check out the Programs page for details on all we are doing. Thank you for being a part of it!