Dionne & Jay

The Sev Shoon Artist Residency is an upcoming residency program operated by a Seattle-based couple with a passion first for community and art, and then for camping and motorcycling: Dionne Haroutunian and Jay Lazerwitz. Dionne and Jay are both working artists, and between the two of them, own and operate several art-related enterprises.


In 1991, I founded the Sev Shoon Arts Center which I ran for 21 years. Sev Shoon came about because I wanted a community of artists to share with me the beautiful studio space I had on Ballard Avenue, the presses and all related equipment. I didn’t write a business plan or a budget — in fact, I didn’t know I was starting a business, I just wanted a community. In 2004, while visiting my family in Switzerland, I told my brother that many people are scared of art, and that the world would be a better place if everybody could explore their creative side. Sandro simply said “Just do it”. So I went home and designed a class named “Boot camp for Art” which I advertised as “fear and inhibition welcome”.  After this humble beginning, Sev Shoon grew to offer many classes and bring in thousands of students and renters. The Sev Shoon Art Center will close in June 2012 and be transformed instead into this residency program in Sequim.

I am a full-time artist, and my work is represented at Art Expressions Gallery, in San Diego. My work is print-focused and combines intaglio, monotype, collagraph, lithography, silkscreen, viscosity, chine-colle, and sometimes acrylic. Layers are very important to me as they symbolize the fact the an infinity of events, feelings and exchanges are taking place simultaneously everywhere.


I am both a practicing architect and visual artist, and place these two paradigms, in juxtaposition, in order to see the differences in purpose and pattern, explore responses, and question the balance. I have been drawn to working in encaustic because it has parallels to the design process in architecture. My work has been a confluence of architectural, spatial referencing, and organic constructs. The built environment is central to my current work, intermingled with referents to landscape surroundings.

I have my own architecture business “Art and Architecture” specializing in residential design and sustainable building practices. In addition to designing BallardWorks I also run it with Dionne and our friends Joan Stuart Ross and John Gleason. BallardWorks is a large artist studio building located in Ballard, a quaint neighborhood of Seattle. There are 20 individual artist studios and two art-related businesses. We are open from April through November for the Ballard ARTwalk which takes place on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Hope to see you there sometime!