A major art and music center is nearing its opening

A major art and music center is nearing its opening

Photo by Jacob Kerst

John Carswell stands in front of a piece of his graffiti collection. The collection will be on display at his museum, which opens this fall in Everett. The artwork depicts what Carswell called “mobbing” where a group of graffiti artists would rush towards a bus at one of its stops and spray graffiti on the side until it left the stop .

EVERET — A new graffiti museum and music venue is coming to Everett this fall on Everett and Wetmore Avenues in the former Club Broadway building.
The building, named The Apex, is currently undergoing a major renovation by new owner John Carswell, who is also the sole owner of the graffiti collection that will be housed in the building. He plans to use the building as a community center, cocktail bar, official event venue and business meeting venue.
The building was built in the 1920s and still has many of the original fixtures and furnishings, which may appeal to those who appreciate the vintage aesthetic of that era. Carswell hopes to retain and reuse as much of the original 1920s story as possible.
The museum will be a non-profit organization called Apex Art and Culture Center, opening up more opportunities for community outreach and volunteerism.
Carswell expects the museum to be open by October, even if that means opening while the renovation is still underway. Carswell said the building doesn’t necessarily need to be 100% complete before the museum can be viewed by the public. The optimistic idea, however, would be to open the museum and the concert hall in the fall.
The museum will be the first and most comprehensive graffiti collection museum featuring artists from the West Coast, East Coast, Dogtown, New York and more.
Carswell has spent nearly two decades collecting the art, which is almost all original commissions, in hopes of introducing graffiti art to the public. Graffiti is only an art form about 50 years old and people still don’t quite understand it according to Carswell.
He says graffiti is more than vandalism, it’s a professional art form in its own right with talented artists.
“I always knew the purpose of the collection was to preserve an art form that is being erased,” Carswell said. “Something like that doesn’t belong to just one person.
The main music stage section of the building consists of an 850-capacity front room, with plans for an extension further into another room. There is also balcony level seating above the main stage level and several bars. There is also a green room for performers in a large secluded room above the main stage level.
Carswell hopes to host high-profile musical performances, drawing attention away from Seattle and bringing the big music scene to Everett. With artists and musicians moving to Everett from Seattle to do their jobs more profitably, the timing of the venue could be perfect.
The building also has a grand ballroom that Carswell plans to use for formal events, business space that can be rented out for meetings, and a large bar that he plans to turn into a bar. upscale 1970s punk rock themed cocktail set.
Carswell describes himself as a “collector, not an artist” and said the relationships he has built with artists over time are valued and appreciated. He plans to teach graffiti art through classes and events, saying the city of Everett has been very supportive of the building’s transformation so far.
“The museum, I believe, will have international appeal and provide many opportunities for the community,” Carswell said.

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