Upisode 30: In celebration of Capitol Hill Art Walk, UpZones hosted its first ever live recording, with three of the key voices in the Seattle arts scene. Iconic muralist Ryan “Henry” Ward and Seattle emcee Messiah Jenkins join Randy Engstrom, Director of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, for a discussion about the state of public art in the city. This free-flowing panel discussion touches on the temporal nature of public art, the paradox of being an artist in a growing city, and “the artist’s hustle.”
Ryan Henry Ward, who signs his work simply as “Henry,” is a Seattle-based artist, specializing in large-scale murals, he also has a large body of gallery canvas work. In the past decade, he has painted almost 250 murals in the city of Seattle and around the United States and other countries. He has his studio in an old warehouse in Ballard’s industrial district, where the Puget Sound intersects with the freshwater lakes that interlace the city. He paints freely out of his imagination and also takes commissioned requests.
Born on a farm in Montana, later transplanted to the Pacific Northwest at the age of ten, Ward has lived in a variety of places in the region. As an artist, he began his craft at the age of three, drawing on the walls of his childhood home. He has a deep history of sharing his art with the world. In third grade, he had his own comic strip named Mr. Pib and Ernie, the first of many.
About Messiah Jenkins
Emcee, producer, and collective-organizer Messiah Jenkins is gaining fame as the lynchpin of the Coonami collective, one of Seattle’s hottest emerging hip-hop communities. A longtime Seattle native, Messiah has been at the cutting edge of defining the city’s new sound.
About Randy Engstrom
Randy, Director of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, has been a passionate advocate and organizer for cultural and community development for more than 10 years. Before coming to our office in October 2012, he ran Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community-based consulting services business. He served as chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving two years as vice-chair and was chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. Previously, he was the deputy director of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, interim director of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, founding director of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, founding CEO of Static Factory Media and the program coordinator of the Fremont Unconventional Center, a non-profit event space.
He is a founding member of the artist live/work project Stronghold Arts Collective. In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia and received his masters in public administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.