John Keatley photographs Louie Gong at Gong’s new Eighth Generation store in Pike Place Market.


I’m feeling pretty heartbroken. In less than a week’s time, I’ve learned that six of my favorite Seattle artists are moving away—people who’ve inspired me since long before I started working for City Arts, people whose extraordinary work has often graced these pages. Their impending absence from the community I love feels like loss, though I know their contributions will continue long after the Emerald City has disappeared from the rearview.

Some of these departures show the human cost of the changes unfolding in Seattle, where it’s more and more difficult to live on an artist’s income. Others are evidence of the career ceiling here—not only the limited amount of work available in many disciplines, but the lack of opportunity for professional growth once an artist maxes out on what they can do or learn here. These are real problems in our creative community and they make it painfully difficult for us to retain our best talent.

Thankfully, leaving isn’t a forgone conclusion for everyone. Some artists stay even after they hit the ceiling, if they can figure out a way to make the money and mechanics work (often by accumulating a lot of frequent flyer miles). And some leaders, organizers and educators are forever trying to build more infrastructure that supports excellence in the long-term. This issue has a little bit of both: Louie Gong and Clyde Petersen not only make exquisite art, they leave possibilities for others in their wake.

Being a beautiful, fertile incubator where people can experiment and find their voices is great. But can’t we also be expert, experienced, enduring?

See you out there,

Editor in Chief