The Genesis of +=Studio Blu=+

+=studio blu=+ / artist’s studio in unit #205: an integral aspect of the Fix/Madore Building, downtown waterfront Seattle, Washington

Upon their marriage in 1979 artists Kathleen Rabel and Stephen Hazel sought a method to fuse their diverse studio/living requirements into one effective operation.  At the behest of the developers they were recruited into designated artist’s studio #205 of the Fix/Madore Building at 1507 Western Avenue which was under rehabilitation at that time.

Elliot Bay Partnership #1 (Paul Schell & Jim Youngren) was engaged in the gentrification of the Western Avenue corridor and sought artists of reputation to bring qualities to this project through methods of patronage not easily acquired otherwise, and to stem the flight of people from a decaying city core.  The successful outcome can be measured by the growth of importance of the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s waterfront and new condominiums, and the choice of siting galleries and the downtown Seattle Art Museum in this revived townscape.

For seventeen years unit #205 was leased to Hazel and Rabel via payment in kind from their oeuvre of original works of art chosen at annual reckoning by these patrons.  It was during this period that the artists added unit #504 as gallery and exhibition space to the integrated fabric of their operation. 

In 1996 Stephen Hazel and Kathleen Rabel purchased #205 which corresponds to the first workshop given by +=studio blu=+, and the publication of “Portfolio No.1”.  This marks the introduction to the public of our mission, which is to make Seattle a center for works of art on paper, and young, and emerging artists the focus of this effort.

Coupled with the exhibition space in #504, which has shown work by New York artist Steven Yamin, San Francisco artist Kimetha Vanderveen, and Seattle artist Eric Lindgren, more than seventy artists have benefited from the advantages provided by this endeavor.