“Diamond Of Everett” Ready To Shine Again With Opening Events Next Friday & Saturday

John Carswell

John Carswell at an artist reception in August 2022.

The building at 1611 Everett Avenue is on the Historic Register.

Apex Art & Culture Center

Opening events are set for Friday August 11th and Saturday August 12th.

Artwork is displayed amongst the classic and historical treasures throughout the building.

A year ago we introduced you to Johnny and Abigail Carswell during one of our “Meet the Owner” stories. At that time they had offered a peek into their plans to refurbish what had once been called the “Diamond of Everett”, the Masonic Temple/Knights of Columbus building at 1611 Everett Avenue in downtown Everett, Washington.

The building is three stories and a “high basement”. At the time it was built in 1921 it was known as the diamond of Everett. It had a gym and swimming pool, a dance floor, billiard hall and theatre. Originally built by the Knights of Columbus as a memorial to the patriotism of 41 Knights of Columbus members who served in World War I the building was sold to the Masonic Order in the late 1920s. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

“I want to make the diamond of Everett back into the diamond of Everett,” Johnny Carswell stated. “For the first three months we did nothing with the building but just let it sit and talk to us, to make sure we understood the emotion and personality to the building.”

This Friday and Saturday the Carswell’s are inviting the public to come to 1611 Everett Avenue in downtown Everett and see the first rotating exhibit of the artwork to be displayed inside as well check out 16Eleven, the upscale restaurant that fills the first floor of the building. Headed by Chef Joel Childs, formerly of “Chef Behind The Curtain” in Snohomish, the restaurant is now accepting reservations for its official opening on Monday August 14th. Here’s more on both of the events set for this Friday and Saturday.

After a year of remodeling the grand Masonic Temple in Everett, Wash., the APEX Art & Culture Center team is officially opening their doors Aug. 11-12 with Preserve the Kulture Jam 23, a celebration they are hoping to continue annually.

PTK JAM 23 is a celebration of the hip-hop graffiti culture, the culture that is the inspiration behind APEX – Aerosol Paint Expressionism. APEX founder Johnny Carswell has been commissioning and curating original graffiti pieces on canvas for more than two decades and has amassed the world’s largest collection of graffiti and urban art on canvas, known as the DogTown Collection.

Carswell needed a home for the art and chose Everett’s historic Masonic Temple as the perfect venue to share the collection with visitors to APEX. Since May 2022, the APEX vision has grown. Not only will the DogTown Collection be on rotational display on the third floor, APEX is now home to the popular music and entertainment venue Kings Hall. Before the official opening, music hit the stage with bands such as Hell’s Belles, The Little Lies and mainstage bands for Fisherman’s Village Music Festival. APEX continues to host dance nights with Seattle DJs and sanctioned kickboxing nights.

The much-awaiting 16Eleven, an upscale steak and seafood restaurant, is slated to open Aug. 14, and is hosting an Open House Party Aug. 12 from 5-8 p.m. The Party will include appetizers, bubbly toasts and a chance to meet the restaurant management team. 16Eleven is located on APEX’s first floor, which was the original gymnasium when the Knights of Columbus built Everett’s civic center in 1921.

Today, the building is a maze of exploration. Carswell and interior designers Ruthie and Travis Nicholson, of Revival Designs in Snohomish, made sure to honor the history and beauty of the building. Light fixtures, velvet booths and wood work were restored and put to use for the building’s next chapter. The grand chandelier in the Gatsby Room, on the third floor, still twinkles with the opulence of the Roaring 1920s.

“I knew that this was the right building as soon as I stepped into it back in May [2022],” said Carswell. “Not only was it the perfect building with so much potential, Everett is the right place for the Collection.”

There are more plans ahead with an upscale cocktail lounge – El Sid – next up for remodel, and a speakeasy “Walter’s,” planned for later this year. Four of the five floors will be in use when the remodel is finished.

In the meantime, PTK23 will be the first time the public can tour the building and meet the team. The event is also a gathering of West Coast graffiti kings, who will be painting live in the lot behind the building located at 1611 Everett Ave. Visitors can watch painting on canvas, and also on the wall to the north of the APEX parking lot. There will be a car show on Wetmore Avenue, and a kids art tent sponsored by The Schack Art Center. The Schack also donated glass art for the four paint battle awards.

Friday night kicks off the opening celebration at 5 p.m. with DJ Swan from Los Angeles and a beer garden. Paint battles begin at 6 p.m. Saturday’s festivities begin at 10 a.m. and run through 11 p.m. There will be tours of the American Graffiti & Urban Art Conservation Project – AMGRAF – Museum, led by art curator Baby G Carswell. The beer garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Johnny Slaws BBQ will provide food.

For more details, visit apexeverett.com or APEX’s Facebook or Instagram (@apexartandculturecenter). For information on 16Eleven, please visit @1611_everett on Instagram or 1611everett.com on the web.

APEX Art & Culture Center is the home of the DogTown Collection, the world’s largest collection of graffiti and urban art on canvas. Originally built in 1921, the APEX building is also home to the American Graffiti & Urban Art Conservation Project Museum (AMGRAF); Kings Hall, a vibrant music and entertainment venue; 16Eleven, an upscale steak and seafood restaurant; and myriad event spaces. Slated for opening in 2023 are El Sid, a high-end cocktail lounge, and a fourth-floor speakeasy. For more information, visit apexeverett.com or find us on social media @apexartandculturecenter.

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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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