Carolyn Geise, Architect and
Community-Builder

Carolyn in a recent photo

A Queen Anne resident since 1980, architect Carolyn Geise has designed homes and housing in Seattle neighborhoods including Queen Anne. A professional activist since her UW architecture student days, when she staffed the American Institute of Architects (AIA Seattle) booth at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, she has taken an active role in neighborhood planning and community development, in and beyond Seattle’s Belltown community.

Born in Olympia as Carolyn Lee Deuter, by age 27 she had climbed Mount Rainier three times, and had worked as a popular cook at Snoqualmie Lodge and as a ski instructor with climbing legend Jim Whittaker. She married and later divorced Jonn Geise, father of their son Matt Geise. …Continue reading “Carolyn Geise, Architect and
Community-Builder”

Alice Rooney, Arts Advocate

Long-time Queen Anne resident Alice Rooney has made major contributions to Seattle-area arts and culture, as administrator of Allied Arts of Seattle and of Pilchuck Glass School.

A graduate of Ballard High School (1943) and the University of Washington, Alice began her career in New York City, where she spent three years working for Mutual Broadcasting (a radio network) as a writer of radio commercials and newsletters. She returned to Seattle to take a job with Wallace V. MacKay Advertising Co., located in Seattle’s Globe Building, and in 1950 began part-time employment as Executive Secretary with the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter — a MacKay client. At AIA she worked with activist architects including Fred Bassetti, Ibsen Nelsen, and Victor Steinbrueck.

In 1960, Alice began nearly two decades of work with Allied Arts of Seattle, again with activists engaged in Seattle’s artistic and cultural scene.   With a Board of Directors that in the 1960s included Robert Jackson (“Bob”) Block, Mary Coney, Peggy Golberg, Anne Gould Hauberg, Janice Niemi, Paul Schell, Jerry Thonn, and Rae Tufts (among others), Allied Arts successfully and prominently promoted public funding for the arts, keeping billboards off the freeways, and the long-term campaign to save the Pike Place Market — and significant historic buildings — from proposed demolition.

Alice Rooney with Paul Schell at the Allied Arts annual meeting, 1979. Photo by Roger Schreiber, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections

In 1976, Alice took a leave from her Allied Arts job for a year in Washington, DC to edit the Artists/Craftsmen Information Bulletin (4000 addresses, every 2 weeks), returning to Seattle and Allied Arts for another three years. In 1980, she became Director of the Pilchuck Glass School, founded by Dave Chihuly, with locations in Seattle and the Skagit Valley. In 1990 she left Pilchuck for work as Director of the Glass Art Society then in Corning, New York, relocating its headquarters to Seattle.

Her colleagues often cite Alice Rooney’s supportive leadership skills as a primary factor in the cultural achievements of the organizations she has worked with over the years. R. M. Campbell’s 2014 book Stirring Up Seattle: Allied Arts in the Civic Landscape begins with its first chapter “Alice Rooney.”

Alice and her husband Bob Rooney, with their children Robin and Scott, lived on Queen Anne from 1967 to 2014 at 2602 Queen Anne Ave N, before moving to a place on the Counterbalance.

Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist

Betty Bowen with Seattle Art Museum founder Dr. Richard Fuller

Queen Anne resident Betty Bowen (1918-1977) played a major role in Seattle cultural life — as assistant director of the Seattle Art Museum, as a civic activist on behalf of the arts and historic preservation, and a promoter of Seattle artists.

Born Betty Cornelius in Kent, Washington to a family tracing its roots to Western Washington’s early settlers, she earned an English degree from the University of Washington.  She worked briefly as a reporter for The Seattle Times, then as women’s editor for the Seattle Star. She married John Bowen, captain of ships that laid undersea cables.

During the 1950s, Bowen divided her time between volunteering and public relations work. Dr. Richard Fuller, founder of the Seattle Art Museum, hired her as publicist, then promoted her to assistant director – and she continued in that role until Fuller retired in 1973.  She came to know many of the city’s artists.

Betty Bowen played an active part in civic affairs, helping organize support for the arts and for historic preservation.  An original member of the Seattle Arts Commission (established 1971), a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Center, and a founding member and chair of the Allied Arts Historic Preservation Committee, she helped organize one of the successful efforts to preserve the Pike Place Market as a designated historic district, and served on the board of Friends of the Market. …Continue reading “Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist”