A Letter from the Editor

Dear ARCADE Community,

It is with a heavy heart that after over 18 years I prepare to take my leave from ARCADE. This spring, I will be concluding my role as the organization’s executive director/editor and embarking on a new adventure in our rich, Pacific Northwest design community.

I joined the organization as its first employee in mid-2000; Victoria Reed was the managing editor (with less than a year left in that role), and friends like Liz Dunn, Tom Bosworth, Barbara Slack, and Ron van der Veen were members of the ARCADE Board of Trustees. Thanks to Barbara’s and Ron’s affiliations with Mithun, the firm offered to host ARCADE’s one-woman operation. Nearly two decades later we are still ensconced on the waterfront in their beautiful office and now boast a whopping staff of three employees, including myself, Erin Kendig, and Michael Schuler. Mithun has been such a generous patron and partner; I am eternally grateful for their kindness and generosity to ARCADE and to me for so many years.

I came to ARCADE with a background in ballet and art history, and a bachelor and master of architecture; I brought my conviction that architecture, design, and their allied disciplines comprise the world as we know it, and that if we limit our understanding of these professions—these art forms—to their most common components, we do ourselves a profound disservice. Therefore, over the last 18 years we have featured stories on architecture, urbanism, art, identity, policy/politics, photography, landscape (agrarian, pastoral, digital, etc.), graphic design, cinema, graphic novels, food, fashion, furniture, waste, science, water, air, communication, education, STEAM, data, modernism, social innovation, leadership, authenticity, creativity, influence, migration, environmentalism, the Anthropocene, and everything in between. We have worked to create accessible editorial (although, as with any magazine, not every article has appealed to every reader) that tells stories that reveal something new or that corroborate our readers’ own convictions.

A collection of Kelly Rodriguez's favorite ARCADE covers.

A few more of Kelly’s favorite covers and issues: 26.1, autumn 2007, The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent, feature edited by Gary Lawrence, designed by Jim Nesbitt and Stephanie Cooper; 28.4, summer 2010, Fire, Start Me Up, feature edited by Kelly Rodriguez, designed by Somelab; 32.3, winter 2014, Living By Design in the Pacific Northwest, feature edited by Kelly Rodriguez, designed by Tom Eykemans.

I want to express how much of a privilege and luxury it has been to collaborate with so many talented professionals—a cadre of writers, artists, photographers, a rotating board of trustees, editorial committee members, volunteers, event venue hosts, general contractors (who have helped with many events), staff, and designers. Speaking of designers, because we engage a new designer for each volume of ARCADE, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with many talented artists—and, it’s not lost on me that the first one I collaborated with, Karen Cheng, is a strict modernist, as are the last two I will work with, Sean Wolcott and Andre Meca of Rationale Design. Every designer has taught me so much about the graphic arts, with each playing a significant role in my continuing education.

ARCADE has benefited from a fairly unchanging staff for most of my tenure. After my daughter was born in May 2002, the board and I decided to split the roles of editor and business manager (I previously performed both), and I assumed the editorial lead. For the next several years a few colleagues came and went, but one consistent player has been Erin Kendig. During her 13 years with ARCADE, Erin has done just about everything involved with running the organization and has been our longtime managing editor. During this period Erin also graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English literature, from Seattle Central with a degree in graphic design, and is now pursuing her passion and talents as an artist and illustrator (take a look at erinkendig.com). In 2011, when I assumed the new role of executive director, Erin joined me full-time and together—along with many many many generous supporters—we transformed ARCADE; I can’t name everyone here but Brian Boram; Boaz Ashkenazy; Ricky Castro, Jim Catel, and Andi Rusu (If/Then); and Scott Thiessen played significant roles. It is inconceivable that I could have done my job, that ARCADE would be where it is today, without Erin’s involvement; I am so grateful that she has been my partner these many years.

The ARCADE Board of Trustees has played a tireless role in ARCADE’s existence—as fundraisers, donors, party planners/hosts, and so much more, and they have helped ARCADE weather innumerable financial storms, including the 2008 financial crisis. Since there have been so many members over the years, I regretfully am unable to thank each individually here, but suffice it to say that like ARCADE’s staff, the organization would not be alive and well without their time, energy, and generous support.

The first issue of ARCADE produced by Kelly Rodriguez.

Where it all began—Kelly’s first issue of ARCADE: 20.1, autumn 2001, The Idea of Regionalism, featured edited by John Cava, designed by Karen Cheng.

ARCADE is a labor of love for many; running a small arts nonprofit organization is not for the faint of heart, and ARCADE would simply not exist without the patronage of our loyal donor and advertiser communities who have stuck with us through thin and thick. To these allies, my gratitude to you is deep.

ARCADE’s future leaders have yet to be named, but I am certain that with the continuing support of its vast community, including you, dear reader, it will thrive beautifully—oh, and look for ARCADE’s first book publication in July: Gordon Walker: A Poetic Architecture, by Grant Hildebrand, handsomely designed by Lucia|Marquand.

Today, my daughter Gemma is closing in on 17 and looking to college; for her entire life she’s only known me as ARCADE, which has been a wonderful and privileged identity to own. And now, for my next chapter …

With much love and optimism,

A handwritten signature

Kelly Rodriguez
Executive Director/Editor