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Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Asian Art Museum Reboot

29 Sep

Moi was one of local media invited to attend a press conference which described the current status of the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) reboot of the Asian Art Museum. Bryan Cohen   of the Capital Hill Blog provides context in In 2017, Volunteer Park’s Asian Art Museum to close for 18 months for $45M overhaul:

The art museum at the heart of Volunteer Park is preparing for its first major upgrade since it opened its doors 83 years ago. Seattle Art Museum has begun soliciting contractors for an overhaul to its Asian Art Museum that will include adding at least 7,500-square-feet of new gallery and event space, as well as an education studio and art storage space.

SAM plans to close the museum in the spring of 2017 for about 18 months until work is complete. Plans also call for replacing the heating and A/C systems, remodeling the bathrooms, accessibility upgrades, and seismic improvements.

The $28 million project was initially slated to start in 2008 but was delayed due to the financial crisis and collapse of Washington Mutual, which resulted in a “substantial” loss of revenue for the museum. A 2014 agreement approved by the City Council reactivated $11 million of city funds for the project — funds first set aside as part of the 2008 parks levy.

UPDATE: CHS asked for the budget on the project — the $28 million covers only construction. The total planned cost for the overhaul is $45 million, SAM now tells CHS.

“SAM is in the preliminary planning phase of the Asian Art Museum renovation,” a SAM spokesperson writes. “The anticipated total cost for the project is currently estimated to be in the neighborhood of $45 million, but is dependent on the final design to be revealed later this year.”

The building’s Art Deco facade will remain in tact, but some exterior work will be part of the overhaul. The landmarks protected building will also require the approval of the city’s Architectural Review Committee. A spokesperson for SAM said the museum did not have additional details as it is still working with LMN Architects on the designs….                                   http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2016/06/in-2017-volunteer-parks-asian-art-museum-to-close-for-18-months-for-28m-overhaul/

The project has funds already committed from King County and SAM is hopeful that it will receive funds from Seattle and the State of Washington.

Moi asked two questions during the press conference and after the press conference more questions came to mind. During the press conference moi asked:

  1. Does the update mean that more artifacts now in storage will be permanently displayed?
  2. Since the education space in the proposed building is expanded, does that mean there will be more education programs open to the public?

The questions which moi had after the presentation are:

  1. Given that the expansion is a public-private partnership, why did the public members agree to provide the funds? What is the accountability for the dispersal of the funds, are there benchmarks, and what is the public benefit. This question should probably be addressed to the public bodies.
  2. Does this project fit into the general purpose of the question what is a museum?

A representative of SAM was unsure, at this point, about the amount of new exhibit space and the plan is toward more education programs.

SAM Asian Museum is interesting for a number of reasons including the building and the fact that it is sited at Volunteer Park   http://volunteerparktrust.org/history/  Both the Asian Art Museum and park are on the National Historic Registry and Seattle Landmark Registry. Both the building and park have vocal supporters who are protective of each venue and that loyalty presents challenges to any update or change. Eugene Dillenburg in What, if Anything, Is a Museum?

The Heart of the Matter

Exhibits, I will argue, are the defining feature of the museum. They are what make us different from every other type of public service organization. Exhibits are how we educate. Exhibits are what we do with our collections. Yes, we do other things as well, and those things—research, publication, outreach, programming—are very important. But those things are not unique to the museum. Only the museum uses exhibits as its primary means of fulfilling its public service mission.

Thus, a more robust definition of a museum might be: an institution whose core function

includes the presentation of public exhibits for the public good.A museum can do many things, but to merit that title it must do exhibits….                                                                                      http://name-aam.org/uploads/downloadables/EXH.spg_11/5%20EXH_spg11_What,%20if%20Anything,%20Is%20a%20Museum__Dillenburg.pdf

Dillenburg provides the rationale for the current reboot.

SAM makes the following points at the SAM site:


From its cherished Art Deco façade to the lush urban greenspace that surrounds it, the Asian Art Museum is one of the most beloved treasures in our creative, cultured, and curious city. As SAM’s original home and the heart of beautiful Volunteer Park, the museum is an invaluable anchor in our city’s rapidly changing landscape.

But did you know that our historic museum hasn’t been substantially restored or renovated since its inception in 1933? Join us in this long-overdue initiative to renovate a beloved cultural landmark and preserve a quintessential Seattle experience forever.

Restoring an icon

Think about the first time you saw the Asian Art Museum’s magnificent Art Deco exterior. Or when you played atop the famed camels flanking the front doors—then crossed the threshold to experience exceptional art from around the globe.

These are the experiences that shape Seattle’s visual fabric. The Asian Art Museum has been a part of this shared history since 1933, when Paris-trained architect Carl Gould put the final touches on the museum’s stunning design. In the same year, museum founder Dr. Richard E. Fuller donated to the museum to the city as the first home of SAM, which would eventually be named to the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places.

In a city where change is as constant as rain in the forecast, our renovation plan ensures the museum’s future.

Protecting our collection

From majestic Buddha sculptures to our iconic early 17th-century Japanese Crows screens to the recently acquired Colored Vases by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, our collection has been imaginatively curated and expanded for 80 years.

Our renovation plan will help us safeguard these precious works through significant improvements in our heating and cooling systems, art storage, and conservation space. These necessary renovations will help us preserve our treasured collection so that it may be enjoyed for generations to come.

Connecting with Asia

The rich programming of the Asian Art Museum has long explored fascinating, diverse perspectives on Asian history and culture and Asia’s presence in the world. With special exhibitions like Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur and Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World, the popular Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas Saturday University lecture series, and our lively Free First Saturday events for families, our mission is to provide a deep, multi-faceted understanding of Asia, one of the most significant cultural and economic regions in the world.

Our exciting renovation plans include expanding our already exhilarating programming and exhibition and educational spaces, allowing all of us to connect with the continent’s cultures as never before.


After the proposed expansion, doors in the Fuller Garden Court will lead to a brilliant new glass addition, providing views to Volunteer Park, a welcoming green space in our increasingly dense city, and long one of Seattle’s favorite Olmsted Parks. The modest addition will create a new gallery and more space for our community to gather around art and culture, enjoy public programs, and host events. It will also improve circulation to meeting rooms, education spaces, library, and auditorium.


The architect renderings are impressive and the primary issue in moi’s analysis is what this project would do to impact future exhibit. Clearly, the mechanical updates are needed and necessary to upgrade the types of exhibits which come from other museums and collectors worried about the delicate nature of some artifacts. An huge unanswered question is whether more items in the permanent collection will see the light of day.

Dr. Wilda gives a cautious thumbs up to the renovation.

Here is the 2007 Fiscal Note:

Form revised October 26, 2007



Department: Contact Person/Phone: DOF Analyst/Phone:
Department of Parks and Recreation Kevin Stoops / 684-7053  Jan Oscherwitz / 684-8510


Legislation Title:
 AN ORDINANCE related to the Seattle Art Museum, authorizing the execution of an agreement  between the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Art Museum, concerning their roles in the planning and design of the restoration of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, modifying the City’s obligations under the Construction and Finance Agreement between the said parties for work on public park property associated with Olympic Sculpture Park, and amending the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation 2007 Adopted Budget, including the 2007-2012 Capital Improvement Program, by modifying appropriations to various budget control levels.


Summary and background of the Legislation:


This proposed legislation authorizes the Superintendent of the Department of Parks and Recreation to execute an agreement between the City of Seattle (City) and the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) for designing the restoration of the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) in Volunteer Park.  This agreement allows SAM to serve as the City’s agent in restoration of SAAM through the permitting process.  It also modifies the City’s obligations under the Construction and Finance Agreement between the City and SAM for work on public park property associated with Olympic Sculpture Park (OSP), and transfers appropriations from the OSP Projects to the SAAM Restoration project. 

The City and SAM have had a long-term relationship and operating agreement regarding the museum building in Volunteer Park currently known at the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM). As part of a 1931 agreement authorized by Ordinance 61998, SAM (formerly the Art Institute of Seattle) agreed to provide funds to build and operate the museum and the City agreed to fund utility costs and janitorial services and keep the facility in good repair.  The building was completed in 1933 at a cost of more than $250,000.  Additions were constructed at City and SAM expense in 1947, 1954, 1959, and again in 1969.  The agreement between the City and SAM was most recently amended in 1981 through Ordinance 109767.  In that agreement, the parties agreed to cooperate in assessing the need for capital improvements and in seeking City funding as well as public and private grants for those improvements.  In the last 20 years, the City has spent about $3.2 million on capital repairs and improvements to SAAM.


In 2006, SAM commissioned a study by LMN Architects, McKinstry Essention, Inc., and Sellen Construction that recommended replacing SAAM’s original 1933 boiler and related ductwork, adding a chiller plant and humidification and air handling systems to reduce energy costs, and making significant structural improvements to the building to address seismic concerns at an estimated cost of $23.2 million.  The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) anticipates hiring a consultant to critique this work with funds provided through the 4th Quarter Supplemental Ordinance.


With the approval of this legislation and after completion of DPR’s technical review, SAM will continue design work on mutually agreed upon renovations and act as the City’s agent to secure permits and other regulatory approvals.  Funds from the work will come from a transfer of City money originally pledged to OSP.  SAM has recently been awarded $2 million of additional funds from the Kreielsheimer Remainder Foundation, freeing up City funds for use at SAAM.  The Board of Trustees of SAM has agreed to reduce the amount of City financial obligation for OSP by $2 million, conditioned on the City re-appropriating those funds for exclusive use in planning and pre-construction activities associated with the SAAM restoration project (see Attachment 1 – letter from SAM Board Chair, Jon Shirley).


This legislation does not commit the City or SAM to the construction of improvements at SAAM.  These will be negotiated in a future agreement and will be considered in future legislation or as part of a future budget process.



Seattle Residents Protest Asian Art Museum’s $45 Million Expansion Project                           http://artforum.com/news/id=63170

A brief history of the Seattle Art Museum                                                                                     http://www.seattlepi.com/ae/article/A-brief-history-of-the-Seattle-Art-Museum-1235822.php

Seattle Asian Art Museum Improvements                                                                               http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/seattle-asian-art-museum-improvements

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: QDOBA Mexican restaurant

27 Mar

Moi received a complimentary meal and swag bag in consideration of her attendance at an event scheduled for food reviewers and bloggers in the recently opened QDOBA restaurant in Seattle, WA. The invitation was accepted because:

  1. The new QDOBA now occupies the site of the former Azteca restaurant which was a neighborhood hangout in the University Village area of Seattle. The Azteca chain is now defunct.
  2. A competitor in the casual dining segment was and is facing severe fallout from issues related to norovirus and E. Coli. See,  Chipotle Faces No-Win Scenario as Crisis Taints Every Move    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-16/chipotle-faces-no-win-scenario-as-crisis-taints-its-every-move
  3. Moi wanted to review the menu, construction and decoration of the new restaurant.

The reviewer’s event was promoted as an opportunity to meet the district manager, marketing staff and local staff of the new restaurant.  Moi sent the following email:

Hi Kaitlin,

i will review for Dr. Wilda Reviews so interested in food sourcing, calorie content and steps your chain is taking to prevent E Coli and Norovirus. Also interested in any menu changes and why

University Village serves an interesting demographic which includes the University of Washington and University Village, an upscale shopping center.  https://uvillage.com/directory/  The University Village QDOBA site is one of the premium locations for the chain:

University Plaza                                                                                                                                         5025 25th Ave Ne                                                                                                                                          Ste 101                                                                                                                                                   Seattle, WA 98105

QDOBA is testing wine and beer service at the University Village Location.  The basic menu can be found at https://www.qdoba.com/menu-nutrition

QDOBA is owned by Jack in the Box:

This chain can trace it origins to the opening of the Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill in 1995 by Colorado native Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser at Grant Street and Sixth Avenue in Denver.[7][8]

As of 2013, Qdoba operates over 600 fast casual restaurant locations throughout the United States.[21] In 2003, San Diego-based Jack in the Box company acquired the chain from ACI Capital, a private equity management firm that was the outgrowth of commodity-trader A.C. Israel Enterprises in the 19th century.[4]                                                                                                                                                                                               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qdoba_Mexican_Eats

Jack in the Box the box changed food handling protocols as a result of its E.coli problems.  Phaedra Cook of the Houston Press wrote in 10 Lessons Chipotle Must Learn From Jack In The Box and Taco Bell http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/10-lessons-chipotle-must-learn-from-jack-in-the-box-and-taco-bell-8075499  The QDOBA staff said that their response is that everything is made fresh every day and that they don’t have a big walk-in-freezer because they aim for local sourcing. Their canned wine comes from Colorado and the beer which is served on tap is local:

Manny’s Pale Ale

Kolsch dru Bru

Hillard’s Boombox IPA

Schwarzbier Dru Bru

Moi asked whether they thought there might be an issue with Colorado wine, but the reply was it paired well with the food and it did. The Schwarzbier was really good and moi is not a beer drinker.

The décor is typical casual dining with a couple of issues. The first is there is a set of utility meters on a wall on the way to the restroom with a little fence around it, this seemed odd. The restrooms were clean. Next, there were cushions on the chairs and moi asked how they would be kept clean. The reply was they were considering whether to keep the cushions.

The food was casual Mexican fare with the following items:


Burritos and Bowls

Our large Mission-style burritos offer endless combinations of only the freshest, most flavorful ingredients. Have yours made just the way you like it. (340 – 1175 cal)

Loaded Tortilla Soup

Warm up with Loaded Tortilla Soup. Piping hot with your choice of savory meats and all the toppings you can handle like sour cream, Queso, and of course guac. All loaded into a crunchy tortilla bowl. (430 – 845 cal)

3-Cheese Nachos

If you’re planning on sharing, don’t. Order two. Because you’ll want these 3-Cheese-Queso-smothered-chips all to yourself. (860 – 1215 cal)

Grilled Quesadillas

Lightly grilled and with the cheese melted to perfection, it’s no surprise they’re so satisfying. (700 – 970 cal)

Taco Salads

Dig into crisp lettuce, seasoned black bean corn salsa and a fat free Picante Ranch Dressing. Finish up by eating the bowl. You read right. Eat the bowl. (150 – 835 cal)

Chips & Dip

Handcut and made in-house daily, our chips make the perfect addition to any meal and yet are flavorful enough to enjoy on their own. (290 – 950 cal)                                                                    https://www.qdoba.com/menu-nutrition

Of course there is guacamole which was a bit too bland for moi’s taste, but the Diablo quesa had just the right amount of spiciness for moi and the habanera was wonderful. The marketing is aiming to make this QDOBA a neighborhood hangout with $2 craft brew Thursdays and Friday Happy Hour where all drinks are a $1 off after 3 p.m.

Overall, moi enjoyed the food, beer and wine. Her favorites were the loaded tortilla soup, Diablo quesa and beer which pairs well. Since protein can be added or deleted, a group which includes vegetarians can be accommodated. This is a moderately priced casual restaurant where one could choose to linger or get take-out. Dr. Wilda recommends this QDOBA for those in the University District or who want moderately priced casual dining after a hard day of shopping at University Village.

Dr. Wilda gives University Village QDOBA a thumbs up.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: ‘Luke and Linda Learn What a Bank Can Do’

7 Aug

Moi received a complimentary copy of Luke and Linda Learn What a Bank Can Do. Here is the information about the book:

Title What a Bank Can Do: Luke and Linda Learn
Author John Tuzee
Publisher Kids Life Press, 2012
ISBN 0975534882, 9780975534885

Financial literacy is not only an issue for adults, but is a topic that children should be taught. Investopedia defines financial literacy in the article, Teaching Financial Literacy To Kids: Introduction:

Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to make effective and informed money management decisions. Personal financial literacy encompasses a range of money topics, from everyday skills such as balancing a checkbook to long-term planning for retirement. While literacy – the ability to read and write – is a fundamental part of the education system, financial literacy is often left out of the equation. In the United States, fewer than half of states have any financial literacy requirements for their K-12 education systems, and only four states require high school students to take personal finance classes.

While there is a movement to include more finance-related coursework in elementary, middle and high school settings, parents and guardians are the primary educators when it comes to teaching children the skills they need to develop a strong foundation for life-long financial competence. Many adults, however, avoid talking to kids about money, because they lack confidence in how they’ve handled their own finances. This is unfortunate, because adults have two things that children do not when it comes to finances: experience and perspective. You do not have to be a financial rock star with a perfect track record to teach your child personal finance basics and get the money conversation started. If your finances are currently in a mess, you can work to get them in order and be a positive role model.

Tuzee’s book is a good basic primer about the financial system. The themes of the book are financial literacy and teaching an understanding of the banking system. It is basic knowledge, but Tuzee does a great job.

Moi liked the book because the illustrations were colorful and sure to catch a child’s eye. The graphics and pictures were good. Concepts were explained clearly and the text flowed.

The age range for the book could be from about five years on. Yes, even some older children could benefit from the book because the level of financial literacy in the country is low among many populations. The cover is great because it lets the reader know exactly what the book is about. There is also good and concise biography information about the author and the illustrator on the cover.

Moi loved the book and would highly recommend the book to parents who are interested in teaching their children about the banking system.

Here is the press info about the book:

Union Bank Partners With Nationally Recognized Children’s Authors To Teach Kids About Money

Survey reveals more than three fourths of U.S. youth want to learn more about how to save money.

“We want to spread the word about What a Bank Can Do and the important story it tells,” says Leis. “The book is a great addition to John and Diane Tuzee’s collection and especially relevant for Union Bank and the financial industry at large.”  


In an effort to demonstrate its commitment to responsible banking and financial education, Union Bank, N.A., today unveiled a new, limited edition children’s book, What a Bank Can Do, by nationally recognized children’s authors John and Diane Tuzee. The bank also announced the results of its national YouthQuery survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive® from June 13-26, 2013, providing insight into the financial needs and desires of 8 to 18 year olds.

The survey of more than 1,200 U.S. youth reveals that 83 percent agree that they should spend less of their money in order to save more, and 76 percent want to learn more about how to save money. Eighty percent agree it is very important for someone their age to have a savings account, and the majority of U.S. youth also want to talk more with the adults in their life (e.g., parents, teachers) about how to save money (63 percent) and wish they had better sources of information about how to save money (61 percent).

“This study is eye opening, and confirms that our nation’s youth are hungry for knowledge, including learning and talking more about how to save with teachers, parents and other adults,” says Union Bank Executive Vice President George Leis, regional president for the bank’s Central Coast division, which is hosting a special book signing in San Luis Obispo with the Tuzees in July. “What a Bank Can Do tells a great story about the importance of saving and the role that banks have in our communities and our nation, and we hope it will be a fun learning tool for all adults to share with the youth in their lives. Educating and empowering youth using tools like this book will help build and sustain strong communities for the future.”    

Colorful and easy-to-read, What a Bank Can Do explores the fun and importance of saving money through its main characters Luke and Linda, who first learn with their toy banks and later with their own bank accounts. With rhyming verse-text, the book reminds children of “one thing that’s kind of simple…always save more than you spend…” To help tell its story, What a Bank Can Do also features bold, lively illustrations by Mike Kasun, a nationally recognized commercial artist.

“It was clear to us that there’s a great need for books like What a Bank Can Do and other learning materials,” says Leis. “We support financial education throughout the year at Union Bank, and it is one of our core areas of philanthropic giving – supporting this book is a natural continuation of our commitment.”

Union Bank provided underwriting support for the development and initial distribution of What a Bank Can Do, donating many copies to schools and youth groups. The Tuzees hope the story, a 30-page journey sure to please the young and young-at-heart, will generate interest from other underwriters to support additional copies. “We’re pleased that Union Bank stepped up to support our initial print of nearly 5,000 copies, and we want to create a demand for more books,” says John Tuzee.    

“We want to spread the word about What a Bank Can Do and the important story it tells,” says Leis. “The book is a great addition to John and Diane Tuzee’s collection and especially relevant for Union Bank and the financial industry at large.”

To preview What a Bank Can Do online, please click here: What_A_Bank_Can_Do.pdf.

Survey Methodology
Harris Interactive® conducted the survey online within the United States on behalf of Union Bank from June 13-26, 2013, among 1,211 8-18 year olds. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, parental education, education, urbanicity and region. All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. 8-18 year old population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $97 billion at March 31, 2013. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 443 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and New York as well as two international offices, on March 31, 2013. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world’s largest financial organizations. In July 2013, American Banker Magazine and the Reputation Institute ranked Union Bank #1 for reputation among its customers. Visit http://www.unionbank.com/ for more information.

# # #

Other Reviews:

Book Review: Luke and Linda Learn What A Bank Can Do

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpFOOTdl6Ec (Preview)


(Show link)

Book Review: Luke and Linda Learn What A Bank Can Do


Recorded on August 1, 2013 using a Flip Video camera.

(Show link)

This is a Dr. Wilda Reviews Best Pick with a definite thumbs up.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews

25 Sep

Moi has two other blogs, drwilda and COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART. Occasionally, moi reviews movies, books, and other things. Many times, there are requests for moi to write a review and sometimes those requests are based on a complimentary or uncompensated item. Moi will disclose that information. In any event, you get moi’s unique observations.

Here is the link to drwilda: http://drwilda.com/

Here is the link to COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART: http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/introduction-dr-wilda-as-an-old-fart/