At one time, Ballard was a sleepy little fisherman's town rich in it's Scandinavian heritage, today Ballard, while still holding onto its roots, is carving a new niche for itself as one of Seattle's hip neighborhoods for which art, music, and entertainment are thriving. One such place where this is evident is the Sev Shoon Arts Center. Located steps away from the Ballard Locks, Sev Shoon Arts Center is a place that is completely dedicated to the art of printmaking.
The Sev Shoon Arts Center was started in 1991 by Dionne Haroutunian a Swiss artist who created a space for other artist to create freely and openly and also have a place to showcase their work. The Sev Shoon Arts Center whose name means "Black Dog" in Armenian, offers studios for rent, hosts demonstrations of printmaking, and has monthly art exhibits. One artist that taught at the Sev Shoon Arts Center is Nate Stottrup who grew up in a farming town in Minnesota, but nurtured his artistic abilities through reading comic books. He found inspiration in the format with how images could come to life in such exaggerated ways with the simple stoke of a pen or the highlight of a certain color.
Besides teaching and creating print images, Stottrup was the mastermind behind a game based on the Dilbert comic called Dilbert: Escape from Cubeville that the company Screenlife made a reality. Screenlife, located in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood, is popular for the Scene It? games, that provide a socially interactive formatting of DVD games with titles from movies, music, and TV shows such as Friends, Seinfeld, and The Simpson's.