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Originally published Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 7:03 PM

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Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) takes steps toward establishing a Pioneer Square location

Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) takes steps toward establishing a Pioneer Square location.

Seattle Times arts writer

The Center on Contemporary Art

Book release party for "Kate Vrijmoet: Essential Gestures," 5-9 p.m. Thursday, CoCA, near 101 S. Main St., Seattle; free (206-728-1980 or www.cocaseattle.org).

It's not a done deal yet. But it's certainly a hopeful sign.

The Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) held an inaugural shindig on Aug. 5 in Pioneer Square's Globe Building, the former home of the Elliott Bay Book Company, and it's hosting two more events there this month and next. The gallery is angling to lease the space more permanently.

Tonight, there's a book-release party for "Kate Vrijmoet: Essential Gestures," a catalog of the Seattle artist's February exhibit at CoCA Ballard. New work by Vrijmoet will be on display. (Full disclosure: The catalog contains a review written by me, reprinted with the permission of The Seattle Times.) The second event is CoCA's annual Art Marathon and Auction, to be held Oct. 7 and 8 in the old Elliott Bay Book Co. premises.

Ray C. Freeman III, the president of CoCA's board of directors, explained in an e-mail last week that Jones and Jones, the Globe's owners, are still renovating the building and are not yet ready to sign leases.

"If this deal works out," Freeman says, "we will have 3,000 square feet, which will be allocated to a small bookstore up front, gallery in the middle, and an artist's work space in the back, with alley access."

CoCA styles itself as "a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development and understanding of contemporary art." Since its founding in 1980, it has had homes in downtown, Belltown, Capitol Hill and South Lake Union. Most recently, it has been headquartered in Ballard in the Shilshole Bay Beach Club.

If the Pioneer Square deal goes through, Freeman says, the organization is likely to move its offices there, while keeping the Shilshole gallery and CoCA Belltown (a lineup of display windows on Clay Street, near First Avenue) as satellite sites. Two local parks, Carkeek Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlands Park, also serve as CoCA "galleries" with displays of outdoor art.

Michael Upchurch: mupchurch@seattletimes.com

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