About LizWas

I love writing, wine, dance, design, and Oxford commas. See also: ballet and architecture.


Uh oh. It looks like one of our super hopscotchers lost their keys along 18th Avenue between Yesler and Jefferson. Call or text Liz at 206.240.6994 and describe them and we’ll make sure you’re reunited.

Happy CD Hopscotch Day, everyone!

Central District Map Table Seeks New Home

This pegboard map of Seattle features the Central District

A unique pegboard map table is looking for a new place to reside and inspire. Boxwood [an integrated design studio] is relocating our office and won’t have space in our new suite to take this custom designed piece with us. We are hoping to donate it to a nonprofit community group in the Central District that can give it a new home and use it in community projects.

The map was part of a four table exhibit used at the Seattle Design Festival in 2011. The four tables fit together into a larger map of Seattle, with streets labeled and neighborhoods identified in big bold letters. Metal flag poles allowed visitors to identify their favorite restaurants, parks, or community spaces across the city. When the exhibit ended the four tables went their separate ways, and Boxwood received this one because one of our principals constructed it while working on the SDF committee.

Interestingly, two-thirds of the firm’s personnel live in the Central District (the author – that’s me! – included). Much of the firm’s recent work has been in Capitol Hill, which also appears on the map table. In Boxwood’s studio it was used as a fun way to identify our projects, homes, our favorite restaurants, and more. We thought the map table would work well at community meetings, allowing citizens to mark with flags some of their favorite Central District businesses, where they would like to see a new park, to highlight areas they are concerned with, or identify some hidden gems in the neighborhood. Continue reading

UPDATED: FOUND DOG at 21st & Union

This afternoon a cute little dog wandered up to our yard when we were playing with our dog – no tags. Another neighbor told us the dog had been wandering around in E. Union Street. Please see the attached photo. Give us a call at 206.240.6994, describe the dog’s collar and let us know where it belongs! Please! Thank you. 

UPDATE: We still have this little dog! He’s black and white, perhaps some kind of terrier. He’s getting a little too comfortable with our female dog, and while he’s really cute, we need to find his home! We will be putting up signs and taking him in to be checked for a micro-chip, but in the meantime, please let us know I’d you’re missing a dog or have any info about his home.

Please call 206.240.6994 or 206.240.5590. Thanks!

Alpha Martial Arts kicks into full gear on Madison

Traveling along Madison in the late afternoons and evenings, you may have noticed new activity in some of the storefronts – specifically, some jabbing, kicking, punching, and bowing. Alpha Martial Arts moved their second school to 1912 E Madison at the start of 2012.

This branch of Alpha Martial Arts started offering American Kempo Karate, kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu classes two years ago, sharing space with the Aikido Seattle dojo at 23rd Avenue and E Turner, near Aloha. Silas Ness, head instructor at the new location, said that sharing space with the Aikido school allowed Alpha Martial Arts to build their student base and assess the demand for a dojo like theirs in the Capitol Hill and Central District area. Holding classes at the Aikido school two days a week, then growing to four, Mr. Ness also reached out into the community, teaching classes at Miller and Montlake Community Centers. Before long AMA had too many students to accommodate in the shared Aikido dojo, and it was time for Alpha Martial Arts to open their second school.

The spacious new location, just east of Trader Joe’s on Madison, offers classes Mondays through Thursdays. Classes for young children run 30 minutes long and are held twice a week. Ness, who began teaching martial arts in 2005, said this is because of the typical short attention span of 4-7 year olds. While one hour long class could dissolve into “chaos,” he said that two, 30 minute classes give the kids the same amount of instruction time, but it is much more productive because the children can stay engaged and hold their focus for those shorter classes without getting too overwhelmed or overtired. Shorter classes for little ones keep the focus where it should be – on having fun!

Teen and adult classes run 45 minutes to an hour long. In particular, the adult kickboxing classes are designed around fitness and a work out, whereas the karate, Krav Maga and Jiu-Jitsu classes focus on developing the students into martial artists.

All karate students have the opportunity to test for belts on a quarterly schedule and both Alpha Martial Arts school locations gather for belt ceremonies three times a year.

The school’s original location — in Bryant near University Village — is run by Master Instructor Chris Herrman, who founded AMA in 2001. AMA instructors put a lot of emphasis on the relationship between martial arts and an individual’s interactions with the outside world and treatment of others. Their website lists, “courtesy, friendship, responsibility, integrity, courage, perseverance, fitness and respect,” as the characteristics they strive to help build in their students.

To emphasize this connection, AMA focuses on a “Word of the Month” and instructors write about it on the school’s blog. February’s word was “Loyalty,” and even the youngest students talked about what it meant to be loyal to their friends, families, and themselves. Optional homework for children gives the students an opportunity to discuss these values at home with their families, and students earn stars to put on their uniform for completing homework assignments.

Classes are still open for enrollment, and special introduction lessons for new students are held by appointment Mondays through Thursdays. Please call 206-322-1433 or fill out their online contact form to learn more. 


Walking along Union this morning I found what appears to be a valid Washington State EBT Card. The card says to mail it to Texas if found, but I figured the rightful owner probably needs it sooner rather than later and decided to try to find my neighbor who lost it.

If you can tell me the name on the back of the card, show me valid ID, and your signature matches, I’m happy to return it to you. Please call or text me at 206.240.6994.

I’ll mail it back tomorrow if I don’t get any responses. 

New history in the making at 18th & Union

In August our community got a history lesson when the new owners of the Baker Building at 18th and East Union, Michael Cozzi and Karen Moskowitz, moved forward with an ambitious renovation. Traffic literally stopped when 1960’s era painted advertisements and a poster for Sam Smith’s run for Seattle City Council were revealed as layers of siding were peeled away in late July.

Today the most obvious parts of the exterior renovation are complete.  The dated store fronts were replaced with more period-appropriate windows, and the northern, brick portion of the building, which houses Gallery 1412, Tougo Coffee, and an expanded New City Theater, has a fresh coat of paint and some new foundation work. 

When the story about the purchase of their building and their transformation of it was covered on CDN two months ago, it was met with mixed reactions. While most of the community responses were positive, some residents voiced concerns about the business owners who had been displaced. When we met last week on the construction site to walk through and survey their progress, Moskowitz was eager to clear up misunderstandings. 

“Unfortunately the situation, when you’re buying a  building, you can’t spend a lot of time communicating with tenants until the sale is done and all that, so there is always some anxiety,” Moskowitz explained.

“We obviously need to take two spaces for ourselves, but otherwise want to maintain the spirit of the building. You know, having just been displaced ourselves, we understood the dynamics, so our approach was to try to get as much information out there as soon as possible,” she said. 

Cozzi and Moskowitz said that after the sale was final they were able to sit down and explain their long term plans for the building with the current tenants and discuss how they could work together as their leases came up for renewal. Cozzi and Moskowitz wanted two units in the building’s wooden south portion for their work spaces, both because of the natural light possible in the corner unit, which is to be Moskowitz’s commercial photography studio, and because of the flexibility that part of the building offered with wood construction.  The northern portion of the building is brick and thus offers fewer remodeling opportunities.

They offered the beauty parlor, which was located exactly where Cozzi envisioned his future music studio, a space in the brick portion of the building, as the tenants in 1406 were already planning to end their lease before the building was bought.  The hair salon business decided to go elsewhere, but New City Theater was happy to take the vacant space and sign a 10 year lease, allowing for an expansion for the first time in 30 years. 

In fact, all the current tenants of the Baker Building have now signed 10 year leases.  That means New City Theater, Tougo, and Gallery 1412 are going to remain as important parts of the Central District arts community in the coming decade, and hopefully much longer. 

Another concern in the community was the fate of the historic signs that were discovered on the south side of the building in late July. Despite the City’s requirement that the exterior billboard be removed because of the threat of lead poisoning, many in the community seemed hopeful that the piece of history would be able to be saved after all. Unfortunately, they were not able to keep the entire wall intact, but it was removed in pieces.

“We kept the part for ourselves that says ‘Hot Fresh To Go’.  And then a few other people took various parts of the sign. Our architect took the part that said, ‘Chinese Food and Grocery’…we saved as much as we could,” said Moskowitz. 

The sign from Sam Smith’s 1967 run for Seattle City Council also drew a lot of questions. Moskowitz reported that Mr. Smith’s son came and retrieved the sign. Thanks to word of mouth that piece of Seattle history is exactly where it belongs.

There is still interior work to be completed, but the outside looks nearly finished. There will be new, lit signage for the brick portion of the building, and awnings have been ordered for the storefronts in the wooden structure. The building has been affectionately nicknamed the Parr Building. 

“We needed to have a name for the building when we were starting our business entity,”  said Moskowitz. She and Cozzi and other artists had studios in the Coho Building in Capitol Hill for 20 years.  The Coho is a type of salmon and Parr is a name for a juvenile salmon.

“And so this is like the spawn of the Coho. We swam up the hill,” Moskowitz explained, laughing.  

You may view an online gallery of Karen Moskowitz’s photography, following the progress of the 18th & Union renovation, here.  

Seattle rocker and photographer rework historic building at 18th and Union

A piece of Central District history was uncovered Tuesday afternoon after being buried under decades of change.  The storefront at 18th Avenue and East Union had a building permit issued for renovation in mid-July, but from outside appearances it seemed not much was going on. That all changed on Tuesday.  

“And as we peeled the layers off, all of a sudden we saw the sign,” said Michael Cozzi, who co-owns the building with his wife, Karen Moskowitz. 

“Thirty-odd people screeched to a halt out there, and pulled over,” said Cozzi. “One guy said, ‘I used to get my candy from there in the 60’s’. I said, ‘What was your favorite candy?’ ‘Red licorice, a penny a stick.’” 

Old advertisement revealed. Photo by @LizWas

Painted directly onto the building, the sign advertises “Regan’s Grocery and Chinese Food Center” in red and blue letters. “Pickup” and “Delivery” are offered, and the food is advertised as “Hot” and “Fresh.”

Cozzi, a musician and music producer, and Moskowitz, a photographer, purchased the building in March of 2010 after losing their artists work space on 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine in Capitol Hill.  

“That whole area kind of got Belltown-ized,” Cozzi said.  “We were there for 20 years.”   As the area was transformed with condos and new restaurants, rents tripled, said Cozzi, and artists left the area.  For Cozzi and Moskowitz, they didn’t have to go far to find a place where they wanted to settle.  The building on 18th Avenue already housed Tougo Coffee, Gallery 1412, and New City Theater, and for Cozzi and Moskowitz it had the potential to replace the art hub they had to leave behind on Capitol Hill. 

“It was of an age that if someone didn’t do something with it…it was going to be torn down. If a developer had gotten this they probably would have torn it down…but we were early enough to be able to renovate, and it made sense,” he explained.

What sparked this project, said Cozzi, was the discovery of historic pictures of the building during the feasibility study and property research.

“They have these pictures from 1937…we got one of this building and it looked so great.  So we’re kind of just going back to that.  It’s supposed to be a modern version of that.”

As he told me this, Cozzi was sitting in his new recording studio, which was a hair salon until a few months ago. Cozzi is a songwriter, lead guitarist, and producer of Sky Cries Mary, a globally recognized Seattle-based band that formed in the late 1980’s. The band regrouped in 2004 after five years apart.  His recording studio in the 1412 18th Avenue building will be used for his own musical projects, as well as available for other artists to rent on a project oriented basis.

The corner location, which most recently housed a yoga and dance studio, is being reworked to be Moskowitz’s photography studio.  Cozzi said it will be a “nice, daylit studio,” to be used for her photography business, and likely available to be rented by other photographers. 

The sudden appearance of the historic painted sign was in stark contrast to the most recent facade of the building, which was nondescript, with a lot of the character of the 1910 building covered up by various remodels over the decades. 

“It will be a lot more visible once we’ve done the place up,” Cozzi said of the building. 

Unfortunately, code regulations are going to require that the Regan’s Grocery sign be removed from the building because the paint contains lead. Additionally, Cozzi said the siding is too far rotted in most of the areas to save it all, though they are hoping to find a way to restore and keep at least part of it. On the left side of the wall he pointed out an older sign that had been partially painted over. At first glance it appears to say “room” and “lies”.

“I think that used to say ‘dark room supplies,'” he said, pointing out half of the letter ‘K’ barely visible next to “room.” Fitting advertisement for the exterior wall of his wife’s new photography studio.  

Ian Jones of Treebird Construction is General Contractor on the project. Parr Building LLC is listed as the building owner on the permit documents. New City Theater’s director is John Kazanjian. 


**UPDATE** At 3:40 pm Nina was reunited with me, alive and well inside 20/20 Cycle!  THANK YOU to the kind stranger who found her wandering in Union Street and took her inside where she would be safe.  Who knew such an old dog could be such an escape artist!  THANK YOU!!! 


As a CDNews contributor, I can’t believe it’s my turn to post about a missing pet, but it is!!!

Our very elderly pug Nina wandered out of our back yard near 21st & Union on 07/01. She is deaf and has one eye and is not completely aware of her surroundings. She walks slowly so she could not have gotten far and must have been picked up by a concerned neighbor. She was wearing a black leather collar with blue stones and a tag with the letter N on it.

Please call if you have seen her!  206.240.6994 or email [email protected]

Winner of Mayor’s Award, the Pratt Fine Arts Center makes creating art accessible

Earlier this month Mayor McGinn announced the recipients of the ninth annual Mayor’s Arts Awards, as selected by the Seattle Arts Commission.  What stands out about this year’s winners is their commitment to making a difference in our community through the arts.  “They engage our youth, connect different cultures, give artists a place to grow and create access for all people to participate in the arts and tap their own creativity,” said Mayor McGinn.

While the above description was intended to encompass all the Arts Awards winners, the qualities McGinn mentioned could be used solely to describe Pratt Fine Arts Center, which was one of six artists or arts organizations selected from a pool of 300 as this year’s winners. Many Central District residents recognize the Pratt Fine Arts Center logo and walk or drive by the organization’s studios near Pratt Park on a daily basis, but how familiar is our neighborhood with this groundbreaking arts organization sitting in its own back yard?

“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know about us,” said Jeanne Ferraro, who has practiced and taught art at Pratt since the mid-1990’s.

Pratt Park and community center were named after Edwin T. Pratt, a Central District community leader and director of the Seattle Urban League during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.  In 1969 Pratt was assassinated in his home, a crushing blow to the Central District community.  Pratt Fine Arts Center was founded in 1976 by the City of Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Department to provide visual arts training to residents of the Central District. In 1982 the arts organization was established as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit.  Besides offering art classes to the community, Pratt also rents out its numerous studios and allows students and artists to use specialized art equipment and machinery they might not have access to otherwise.

Today the Pratt Fine Arts Center mission is clear – to make art approachable and accessible to everyone. And they mean everyone. Scholarships, work study and tuition assistance programs are all in place to keep the studio doors open to students and artists of every background, experience level and financial situation.

Julie Custer, Development and Marketing Associate at Pratt, said that about 50 percent of the organization’s working budget comes from tuition paid for classes and studio rentals.  Besides renting out studios to artists who need a dedicated space and equipment to hone their craft, Pratt also rents out their studios for team building events for businesses or art-inspired social events for other organizations and individuals. The rest of Pratt’s budget is pieced together through grant writing and individual donors called members, contributing annually at different levels.

“In some ways it’s better to be supported by a larger pool of people, rather than be dependent on one or two big donors or grants,” Custer explained. Over 3,500 students attended Pratt last year, taking dozens of classes, including drawing and painting, printmaking, sculpture, hot and warm glass, and jewelry and metalsmithing. There are also mixed media classes involving all of the above.

Pratt offers youth and teen workshops and classes throughout the year, and through Pratt’s special ARTSpark Program students in grades K-12 are able to experiment with a variety of media through a partnership with The Seattle Urban League, Chinese Information and Service Center, and neighboring Washington Middle School.

“They do drawing and [screen] printing, and they also end up doing some glass too,” said Custer. “It’s been a really great way to get kids from the community here but also to give something back to them because a lot of times they don’t have the chance to just focus and be creative.”

In the metal sculpting and forgery studio, Matthew Nelson was noisily hammering a pointed rod of red-hot metal against an anvil.

In the drawing and painting studio Laura Camp was smoothing the clay face of her latest sculpture.  After decades of telling herself she couldn’t draw, Camp “stumbled on Pratt,” she said, and started taking classes; she is now taking her fifth sculpture class taught by Jeanne Ferraro.  Camp says she has taken classes at other Seattle arts organizations, but her experience at Pratt has been that the teachers truly encourage each student to discover and develop their own style.

Outside the studio under a covered work area, Ferraro peels layers of plastic to reveal her unfinished version of the same model that Camp was sculpting inside.

“I try to do a piece to demo it and I also work on it because I have this philosophy of keeping my hands off their work so it doesn’t end up being mine, so I hardly ever get my work finished,” she admitted.

“Too often the teachers get their hands on it,” she explained, and then the work loses the original artist’s touch, and the student loses a chance to develop his or her own skills. By creating her own version of the assignment, Ferraro can show her students different techniques on her own sculpture rather than adjusting the students’ work.

“It’s a tricky bit to be able to let them develop on their own and have their own voice and not take it away, because then, what’s the point?” Ferraro asks.

For Ferraro, a Central District resident, the importance of arts education is as simple as Pratt’s mission statement: bring art to the community and make it accessible and approachable. For some what makes it accessible is financial aid or scholarships; for others it’s wheelchair accessibility and special accommodations for disabled artists or students with special needs.

Pratt Fine Arts Center has special events running year round.  On July 15th a special exhibit of garden art created by Pratt artists will be unveiled at Swanson’s Nursery.  An event is being held that evening and tickets are available on the Pratt website. November 12th is their annual Open House, which serves as an opportunity for the surrounding community to come inside the studios and see and experience metal working, sculpture, pouring bronze into a crucible, glass blowing, screenprinting and much more.  Families are welcome and there will be special activities for children. More information about special events and summer classes can be found on their website, www.pratt.org.

“Where else could an artist who is a beginner, taking his first class, work side by side in a studio with a professional artist, someone who’s won a Fulbright to go study abroad?” Ferraro challenged.  Thankfully for Central District residents, we don’t have to look beyond our own neighborhood.

Three Kings taco truck sets up at 21st & Union

Los Tres Reyes, or The Three Kings, have set up shop in the E Z Auto Repair shop parking lot at 21st & Union.  Mayra Ordonez owns Los Tres Reyes with her husband, and Mareceo Cesekros is their cook.  Cesekros said the taco truck will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm for the foreseeable future. The bright yellow and chrome truck is tough to miss!  Stop by, buy a taco, and welcome them to the neighborhood.