Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Crystal Pite’s Emergence. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.
Sky Church at EMP.

Arts & Culture

Seattle: The intersection of culture and fun.

True, people buy tickets many months in advance to see Seattle Opera perform signature masterworks such as Wagner’s “Ring.” Yes, the city’s numerous theatres such as ACT and Seattle Rep produce great work on par with any in the country. And there’s no doubt that the expanded Seattle Art Museum contributes to Seattle’s reputation as a great arts city. But while Seattle can boast sophistication with the best of them, the city’s arts scene also reveals its unconventional side.

More than 400 permanently sited works in the City of Seattle’s public art collection enliven parks, bridges, streets libraries and even transfer stations.  Storefronts bloom with temporary art installations.

Art is integrated almost everywhere you look. Supported by award-winning public art programs, artists design everything from building components to manhole covers. And art is found all around you in daily life.

“It seems like more spaces than ever are showing art,” says comic artist David Lasky, quoted in The Artists’ Guide to Seattle, Second Edition. “I’ve had countless shows in cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. Shows like that create a social opportunity in which to see art.”

Seattle’s love for innovation isn’t limited to visual art. After all, this was the home of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, trailblazers of the grunge rock era whose influences spread to nearly every music genre. Even the 112-year-old Seattle Symphony Orchestra stays on trend. In addition to performing the classics, SSO is known for adventurous programming of contemporary works.

For those who think ballet is “old school,” consider Pacific Northwest Ballet. Long acclaimed for its outstanding Balanchine repertoire, PNB is equally noted for its embrace of current choreographers and regularly electrifies audiences with premieres of new work.

Theater on both a large and small scale is an integral part of Seattle’s arts scene. Local theater service group Theatre Puget Sound counts more than 140 producing theater companies in its membership.

Overall, Seattle’s arts scene mirrors its inhabitants. For every traditionalist, there’s a non-traditionalist; for every serious piece of art, there’s something to make you laugh. What inspires us? Some say it’s the coffee culture. Others say it’s the weather. It could just be that Seattle is the cultural center of the Northwest, and its citizens are happy to celebrate. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that things are fun and a little quirky, too.

The Artists’ View of Seattle, 3rd Edition

See Seattle from a whole new perspective!

Discover Seattle and the Puget Sound region through the eyes of some of the musicians, writers, painters, sculptors, directors and other creative artists who live here. Download the Artists’ View of Seattle, 3rd Edition. (3.5mb)

Upcoming Arts & Culture Events

Boris Performing Pink

Neumos
8/22/2016 through 8/22/2016

In 2006, Pink was Boris’ 10th album and a major breakthrough that earned new fans outside of the …

Details Event Website

Reed Turchi and The Caterwauls

Barboza
8/23/2016 through 8/23/2016

Raised in the Swannanoa Valley just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Reed Turchi grew up playing piano, focusing …

Details Event Website

Throwing Shade

Neumos
8/11/2016 through 8/11/2016

Throwing Shade is a smart, hilarious and irreverent weekly podcast and web series, hosted by homosensual Bryan Safi …

Details Event Website

Monolord

Barboza
8/5/2016 through 8/5/2016

Formed in 2013, this band is made up of Swedish rockers Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems, and Mika Häkki. …

Details Event Website

Summer Visual Arts Exhibition

Path with Art
8/4/2016 through 8/4/2016

Join in for First Thursday Art Walk to celebrate the students’ creativity during the Summer Exhibition hosted at …

Details Event Website

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2

Northwest Film Forum
7/30/2016 through 7/30/2016

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2 is the latest installment in a series that celebrates the vastness of the Chicago …

Details Event Website

O’Connor Band featuring Mark O’Connor

Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
8/18/2016 through 8/21/2016

The O’Connor Band isn’t your typical family band. Three of the four members — including American music legend …

Details Event Website

Earth, Wind and Fire

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
8/5/2016 through 8/6/2016

Earth, Wind and Fire is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, …

Details Event Website

Vans

White River Amphitheatre
8/12/2016 through 8/12/2016

With a lineup that in many ways signals a return to the tour’s roots, the 22nd edition of …

Details Event Website

Arts & Culture Partners

Northwest African American Museum

  • Address 2300 S Massachusetts St, Seattle WA 98144
  • Phone (206) 518-6000
  • Website naamnw.org

The Center for Wooden Boats

  • Address 1010 Valley St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood South Lake Union
  • Phone (206) 382-2628
  • Website cwb.org

The Boeing Company

  • Address Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Seattle WA 98124
  • Phone (206) 766-2907
  • Website boeing.com

Seattle Men’s Chorus & Seattle Women’s Chorus

  • Address Flying House Productions, Seattle WA 98122
  • Neighborhood Capitol Hill
  • Phone (206) 323-0750
  • Website flyinghouse.org

Instagram

Twitter

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SEATTLE LOCALIST

Explore the City Like a Local

We'll deliver you the best that Seattle has to offer to your inbox, and you'll be the Seattle insider you always wanted to be!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.