Seattle Culture

Cornish Students Plan Sit-In to Protest Kerry Hall Sale

Organizers say the protest will be ‘peaceful’

By Rob Smith April 23, 2024

Spanish colonial style building with archways and tiled pillars, bright sunny day, site of a recent sit-in protest, residential area in background.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Students at Cornish College of the Arts are planning a sit-in in to “bring awareness” to the pending sale of historic Kerry Hall.

The event is set from noon to 3 p.m. Monday, April 29. Organizers say it will be “peaceful,” and it is open to the public.

Two weeks ago, officials at Seattle-based Cornish announced that they would sell the building, at 710 E. Roy St. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, as they finish their decades-long unification of their campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Most Cornish classes are now held in the college’s Main Campus Center and other buildings in the Denny Way and Boren Avenue areas.

The 31,900-square-foot building includes classrooms, studios, rehearsal space, and a large performance venue. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The 103-year-old building was the home of Cornish founder Nellie Cornish, who launched the college in 1914 and ran it for 25 years. Kerry Hall is named after Nellie Cornish’s mother.

Sit-in organizers say, at the very least, that they would prefer that the building continue as a creative hub for up-and-coming artists.

“If the building cannot continue under Cornish, students hope it can continue as a creative space for emerging artists under the direction of someone who shares the same vision,” according to a press release. They say their biggest fear is “that the building will be sold for commercial use, wiping out the entire history and legacy of where Cornish began.”

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