Along with her deep liaisons in the neighborhood, Office Manager Nikki Somers brings organization and order to our team. Nikki manages our data, information, and financial systems. She’s part of our outreach to businesses, assists with events, and generally rolls up her sleeves and pitches in. Have a question? Chances are Nikki will have the answer.
Nord Alley between 1st Ave. S. and Occidental Ave. S., serves as a community space that hosts public art, screenings, community gatherings, and more. Nord Alley saw a major renovation beginning in 2008. A tenant in the adjacent Nord Building was the non-profit International Sustainability Institute (ISI), whose Executive Director envisioned taking the alley cleanup a step further to a more active use. Those efforts led to the first public Nord Alley event in October 2008, when several hundred people enjoyed an evening of food, art, and music. In 2010, the group received a grant to install metal arts panels onto which other artists could then install their own art. A bicycle repair shop also opened (which remains open today), further activating Nord Alley. A contest, co-sponsored by SDOT, asked people what they would like to see in Nord Alley, which led to the showing of a number of the 2010 World Cup soccer matches. Showings of the Tour de France followed, along with numerous musical performances and artist displays (many in conjunction with Pioneer Square’s First Thursday Art Walks). Nord Alley remains a unique location in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, and connects several streets as part of a fine grain grid of pedestrian walkways. Learn more about Pioneer Square’s Alley Network project on the Alliance for Pioneer Square website.
What Is Nikki Excited About This Week?
This week, Nikki is excited about the Seventh Annual Pioneer Square Howlidays. The holidays are upon us, and Pioneer Square has so much to offer during these festive times for pups and people alike, including Howlidays. Howlidays is the furriest fun of the year- including free entertainment, activities, treats- plus an all-day urban pop-up dog park in Occidental Square. This year, Howlidays features a holiday inspired photo booth, caricature drawings by local artist Sam Day, along with treats from the neighborhood.
The Seventh Annual Pioneer Square Howlidays is in many ways a return to the early years of the event. Below is a timeline of the event’s evolution over the past seven years:
2012 – The first Howlidays is hosted on the first Thursday in 2012 by ISI, who seeks to further activate Nord Alley. While the Alliance for Pioneer Square does not have a direct role in the event production of Howlidays, the then-Executive Director of our organization (Leslie Smith) serves as a judge of the events dog costume contest.
2013 – The following year, the Alliance for Pioneer Square officially partners with ISI to produce Howlidays.
2014 – The Alliance for Pioneer Square manages the Howlidays for the first time independently from ISI. The event is held on a weekend, instead of on the first Thursday of December. The event is also held in Occidental Mall instead of Nord Alley.
2015 – Nikki joins the Alliance for Pioneer Square, and Howlidays is produced in partnership between the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Downtown Seattle Association. The event takes place in Occidental Square and features a holiday dog-centric market (a “barket”).
2016-2018 – The Downtown Seattle Association produces Howlidays independently of the Alliance for Pioneer Square.
As Nikki reflects on the history of Howlidays in Pioneer Square she states, “the event is a favorite among the neighborhood- everyone wants to be a part of it.” Nikki’s sentiments are affirmed as a familiar face passes by and relays their excitement for the event. The Alliance for Pioneer Square staff is excited to have Howlidays return to Nord Alley once again to reactivate the space with four-legged friends. Nikki says her “love of dogs makes me want to continue Howlidays for the neighborhood. This year, I am calling it Howlidays 1.0 because we are going back to the event’s roots.”