MFA Alum Eric Acosta and Amy Hirayama organize Altar/Alter Event in Seattle

MFA alumni Eric Acosta (MFA ‘20) and Amy Hirayama (MFA ‘22), in collaboration with experimental writer and poet Greg Bem and poet/artist/musician Denny Stern, recently co-curated the week-long community event Altar / Alter which took place June 8-16 at The Cherry Pit in Seattle’s Central District.

Altar / Alter was an installation and performance series that brought together artists, filmmakers, poets, writers, musicians, actors and other creative thinkers to reflect on the idea of altars and the role they play in our lives. The activities during the event included workshops, community discussions, a virtual tour of Kubota Garden, film screenings, a Butoh theater performance, participatory sound-making, experimental soundscapes and more.

The focal point of the performance space was a large community altar designed and built by Denny Stern. Throughout the week, participants were invited to bring offerings or make offerings from a communal table of art supplies, and leave them on the altar. A bird’s nest, strings of colorful beads, bells, poetry, paintings, flowers and figurines were some of the many and varied offerings placed upon the evolving altar.

The UW Bothell MFA Creative Writing Poetics program was well-represented in an evening of poetry that featured writers from five generations of the MFA program – Emily Mundy ’22, Lan Duncan ’23, Emma McVeigh ’24, Ashley Skartvedt ‘20, Korede Oseni ’24, and Eric Acosta ’20.

Altar / Altar was the second event the co-curators have organized under the name, Reflexive Assembly. The idea behind Reflexive Assembly is that the line between artist and viewer is blurred, and that the reactions, ideas and creativity the viewer brings to an event are as vital as the artists’ contributions. The next Reflexive Assembly is a lit crawl that passes through the Mt. Baker Tunnel which will take place on July 9th at 5 pm at Sam Smith Park.