North by (Pacific) Northwest
This past summer, Ariel Greene left the New York art world for the fresh air and relaxed vibes of Seattle. A yoga instructor and wellness enthusiast, she sought a community that took full advantage of all the city had to offer and a place where she could quickly make her own mark. Now working as the Director of Communications and Membership for Gather Seattle, an inclusive group of local designers, foodies, entrepreneurs (and more), Greene is settling into her milieu and helping to promote creative events around the city. Below, she discusses her transition and what she loves about her new organization.
You’re relatively new to Seattle. What are the biggest surprises about the city?
Seattleites like to talk about the “Seattle freeze” and claim that Seattle can be a difficult city to form connections, especially if you’re new in town. Regardless of whether the stereotype is true, it’s always challenging to arrive without friends in a new place. The biggest surprise about the city has been the number of rewarding connections I’ve made—beginning with attending my first Gather Seattle event in July. Despite the stereotype, or maybe because of it, I’ve been touched by people’s willingness to go out of their way to be welcoming and inclusive.
If the Seattle freeze is real, Gather Seattle events and membership provide the perfect antidote. We create opportunities for Seattleites and newcomers alike to find a home among other creatives, designers, makers, foodies, entrepreneurs, and storytellers of the Pacific Northwest.
Describe your role with Gather Seattle and what drew you to the organization to begin with.
When I was still living in New York City, I started dreaming of moving to Seattle and wanted to find exciting people and projects with which to connect. Like many of our members, I first found Gather Seattle through the idyllic Instagram page, and it was pretty much love at first sight. The account is managed by Gather Seattle Founder, Owner, and Creative Director Chloe Csadenyi-Benson, but most of the photographs are provided by local photographers. (Like many initiatives at Gather, this is an organic opportunity for Seattle creatives to develop their portfolios and connect with new clients.) I was lucky enough to attend my first Gather event in July—days after arriving in the city. There I met Chloe, who was looking for support in preparation for the membership launch, and we instantly clicked.
Chloe launched Gather Seattle in January 2017 with a desire to create a platform where creatives and foodies could find connection, inspiration, and ultimately, make new relationships around the table.
Alexandra Katz, Director of Design and Business Development, joined the team in February 2017, also having discovered Gather Seattle on Instagram. Together, the two have hosted numerous exceptional monthly events and provided a much-needed incubator for foodies, designers, and other creatives at various venues and locations in and around the city. With the help of social media, the women have connected with and reached out to many influential women and men from the food and design communities, including Jenn Elliott Blake, Ashley Rodriguez, and Chef Micah Mowrey to speak at events. Gatherings have been hosted at a variety of venues including Aran Goyoaga’s studio, Matthews Winery, Melrose Market, and local calligraphers, floral designers, prop stylists, and photographers consistently reach out to get involved.
My role with Gather Seattle is Director of Communications and Membership. As a team, our mission is to highlight the amazing people and inspiring projects that are happening throughout Seattle and foster relationships that will enhance the vibrancy of the city for years to come. We launched our Membership Program on October 1 and are eager to begin introducing our members on our website and on Instagram. With three options for membership (Community Membership, New to the City Membership, and Business Membership), there’s an opportunity for everyone to build meaningful connections through Gather. Starting this month, we’ll also be distributing a members-only monthly newsletter, which features upcoming events, new venues, and happenings in the city that resonate with Gather Seattle’s mission of connection and creativity.
In thinking about the future of Gather, we actively ask, “what can we do as a community of creatives to make a difference in the fabric of the city? How do we pull our resources together to have a positive impact on Seattle, accomplishing individual and community-wide goals?”
Name some fall events you’re excited about in Seattle—both with Gather Seattle and in the city in general.
At Gather Seattle, we can’t wait for our upcoming weekend getaway retreat, taking place October 28–29. A quick ferry ride away from the city, guests can cozy up by the fire with a glass of local cider or whiskey, soak up the rustic-chic decor, and come around the table for a seasonal, plant-based meal with the Gather community. We’re also excited about our very first members-only dinner—an intimate gathering at one of our members’ homes (December 2), as well as our one-year Anniversary Event (Jan 6)!
Outside of Gather, I always look forward to events at The Riveter, a women-focused co-work and collaborative space, and their Co-Storm Mashup for entrepreneurs sounds particularly intriguing (October 19). Ritual House of Yoga, a community-rooted yoga studio, hosts dreamy events, including the upcoming October Ambient Bliss (October 20). I’m also looking forward to the opening of Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect at Seattle Art Museum (October 19–January 15) and the Fall Open House at Henry Art Gallery (November 3).
You’re particularly interested in clean eating. Name a few of your favorite spots in the city for healthy, unique meals.
I generally try to eat vegan, and one of the best things about living on the West Coast is the access to delicious produce. At Gather Seattle events, meals are always plant-based, nourishing, and hearty, with an emphasis on locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients.
I’m currently obsessed with the eggplant fries at Poppy, sightseeing and tasting at the Ballard Farmers Market on Sunday mornings, and the vegan Salty Caramel Ash ice cream (made with activated charcoal) at Frankie & Jo’s. I’d also recommend The London Plane, Cafe Flora, and Eve Fremont. On my list to try next are Harvest Beat and No Bones Beach Club.