Tacoma Urbanist

Jun. 11, 2009 at 12:29am

The Ghost of "The Helm" Gallery To Sponsor Frost Park Chalk Off With Artistic Artifact

State of Affairs in Tacoma

It is a bit sad really.  So many things seem to be dying in Tacoma. 

Tacoma Booster Dan Voelpel has left the Tribune.  RR Anderson's Tacomic has been ejected from the downsized Volcano. Even a Starbucks in Tacoma has closed.

Thus, I suppose it is only fitting that an out of business art gallery should be chosen as the sponsor for this week's chalk off.

This Week's Sponsor : The Defunct "The Helm" Art Gallery

The ritualistic papering of the windows before a big show,

The Prize : Perhaps the Last Remaining "Save the Helm" Poster

These posters were created to save The Helm art gallery. See last years episode.  Frost Park Chalk Offs helped promote the sale of the posters last year to save the helm, but the money eventually ran out and The Helm closed.  The Chalkies did what they could.  (Dawn won the episode BTW)

The posters originally sold for $50.  With the The Helm's closure, however, the posters have become a Tacoma cultural artifact which have the potential of significantly increasing their value.

comments [4]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 6/11/2009 @ 12:55am
The Helm still has its web site up:


Thanks Peter and Sean!

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 6/11/2009 @ 12:56am
Well, the good news is there is now more room for another mortgage brokerage on that part of Broadway. You just can't have too many mortgage offices. Maybe it can go from Antique Row to Mortgage Mall or something.

by Erik on 6/11/2009 @ 12:57am
Helm pictures from the archive:


Good times.

by Erik on 6/11/2009 @ 1:15am
Here is The Helm's discussion of the poster last year which kept The Helm afloat for awhile:

Poster/mural project

The Helm has run completely out of funds (we made it this far due to the generous donations artists provided us with for our first show and fundraiser, The Kindness of Strangers). Another fundraiser is upon us. The Tacoma poster/mural project. Sean has drawn up a picture of the Tacoma dome laid into several patterned domes under a bursting sky. The poster is 18″ x 24″ and is limited to 300 signed prints. Surely these great looking posters will make a fine addition to the walls of any household. They are $50 a piece.

Here�s the good part. As if that wasn�t already a steal, each buyer will have their name or business�s name included on a new mural in the downtown area. Roughly 1/3 of the money raised during the fundraiser will be used to build the mural and commission an artist for the project (the other 2/3 going toward The Helm�s operating cost). The Helm will select seven artists as candidates for the project and leave it up to the poster buyers to vote on the artist who will get the project. If all the posters sell, we will be able to afford a high caliber piece of public art to benefit the city and all its people.

We should also point out that as owners of The Helm, Peter and Sean have not made a dime this year and have actually accrued a small amount of debt, so your money is not going into anyone�s pocket. All funds raised will be used to maintain The Helm and cover costs. Acquiring non-profit status is the next step that we plan on taking.

Please consider purchasing a poster. It will keep a locally-focused small arts venue around for another year, beautify our city, and gain you public recognition as a vital supporter of grass roots art in Tacoma. The posters are available here on our website, at the Blackwater Cafe, Tacoma Art Supply, or at The Helm.