The Contractor: Sellen Construction
Vashon Allied Arts selected Seattle’s Sellen Construction as general contractor for Vashon Center for the Arts building project from 10 firms that responded to VAA’s request for proposals. Founded in 1944, Sellen is one of the oldest and most established contractors in the Northwest. They offer extensive experience in building theater and gallery facilities including Seattle Art Museum renovation expansion, Paramount Theater renovation and Bellevue Art Museum.
“Sellen has consistently produced high quality buildings that are completed on time and within budget,” says Project Manager Kirk Robinson. Committed and active in arts organizations throughout the region, a recent conversation with President Scott Redman (grandson of founder John Sellen) reinforced the company’s philosophy and his personal philosophy with the goals of VAA.
Seattle native, Redman studied political science at University of Washington and UC San Diego and soon found himself immersed in the world of government and politics. Working in both state and national government affairs, including a stint working with the U.S Senate in Washington D.C., Redman’s route to the family business took a circuitous route, but one he feels has served the company well for the last twenty years. “The company is part of my history,” He says. “It’s amazing to me how many of my skills are applicable. We tried to build a company that is committed to quality and community.” Sellen’s ownership is now a private corporation held by 50 employees and the common thread for their projects clearly runs toward non profit projects. Redman has served as Principal on many of these projects, both small and large, from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Jewish Family Services to the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Children’s Hospital expansion and Cornish College of the Arts to name a few.
Redman is quick to acknowledge that the Arts are his personal passion. Long time arts patron and advocate, Redman has served on boards for Seattle Art Museum and ArtsFund Foundation among others. He also serves on the advisory board for KEXP radio.
But for Redman, his passion for the arts goes beyond the boardroom. “I grew up as a patron of the arts; it was a family value. The arts inspire me.” His daughters, ages 16 and 18 are both artists, one a dancer, the other a singer/songwriter. “I’ve had the chance to see my kids fall in love with art and have observed firsthand how early arts education has shaped and inspired their lives. The opportunity to perform in beautiful spaces is paramount. We’ve seen how having the right facility can be transformative in so many ways for performers, audience and the community. I’ve had the benefit of being involved in some great projects. Some of my favorites are The Triple Door, The Paramount, The Lee Center for the Arts,Edmonds Center for the Arts and the technical pavilion for Seattle Children’s Theater.”
Redman adds that while these projects have been great, “The people are the best part of every project—helping them fulfill their mission; it’s very positive. We can’t wait to get started on the Vashon Center for the Arts.”