Harbor musicians and artists have a new space to show off their work, thanks to the nonprofit 98520 Music and Arts District Initiative.
The Garage Music and Arts Center officially opens Monday at the Shoppes at Riverside in Aberdeen, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon.
But first, a benefit concert will be held tonight to help support the space. Lisa Ramsauer and J.R. Lakey will kick off the evening at 6, followed by Donna Albert, Corey Morris and Geoffrey Hirschfield. There’s a $5 cover charge at the door, and all proceeds will go toward operation of the Garage.
The 98520 initiative’s mission is “to promote and facilitate the education, creation, development, display, performance and consumption of various art forms in Grays Harbor County,” said the group’s leader, Wil Russoul, a local singer, songwriter and promoter. “The Garage Music and Arts Center is here to fulfill and meet those needs.”
The Garage already houses the Youth Orchestra Unbound, the Grays Harbor Homeschool Orchestra and Homeschool Band Programs.
“Community-use instruments are available on our walls for use within the space, and consignment instruments will be available for purchase,” said Russoul. “Our ‘featured artist’ wall will be home to consignment amateur art pieces from the community for both display and purchase.”
The Garage also has practice rooms that students can use at no charge, plus a 16- by 24-foot rehearsal studio for local bands to rent.
“Our main space will be available for performances and rehearsals,” said Russoul. “We will also be providing music accessory retail to provide musicians with local access to much-needed items,” such as guitar strings, reeds and picks. “Our merchandise will be arriving throughout the next two weeks.”
The Garage represents an expansion of the music district Russoul is trying to create in Aberdeen, called the Alley. His vision is to build a music scene that connects local musicians and artists with businesses that welcome a musical element.
He says the ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere that will draw more traffic to Aberdeen businesses and bring attention to the talent that exists across Grays Harbor County.
Facebook is the best place to keep track of upcoming shows and venues, and is also a good place for artists who want to participate to get involved. Check it out at facebook.com/aberdeenalley.
“Come hang out or jam with us,” said Russoul.