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

Magic Man and The Griswolds

5/4/2016 through 5/4/2016

You don’t get this kind of immediacy in music much anymore, not in a band that can play …

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Comedy Bang! Bang! Live in Seattle

Moore Theatre
5/25/2016 through 5/25/2016

Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang! Bang! is a popular podcast and television show. This special LIVE performance features Scott …

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Out of Darkness

Benaroya Hall Music Center
5/22/2016 through 5/22/2016

In this compelling two-act opera, star composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer convey the vastness of the …

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Season Finale

First Free Methodist Church
5/21/2016 through 5/21/2016

While Mozart and Haydn infuse beautiful symphonic and operatic music with militaristic fervor, Carter contemplates the inner game …

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Robben Ford

The Triple Door
5/15/2016 through 5/16/2016

Robben Ford is one of the premier electric guitarists today, particularly known for his blues playing, as well …

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Meeting of Minds

Facere Jewelry Art Gallery
5/11/2016 through 5/31/2016

Facere presents a contemporary jewelry art exhibition celebrating artistic relationships, dialogue and cooperation. The show features the collaborative …

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Birch Pereira and The Gin Joints

The Triple Door
5/6/2016 through 5/6/2016

Birch Pereira and the Gin Joints is a unique project that revisits the music from the Tin Pan …

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Campout Cinema: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

EMP Museum
5/22/2016 through 5/22/2016

Boldly go where no one has gone before with this screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of …

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Native Art Market

Burke Museum
5/14/2016 through 5/14/2016

Join the Burke Museum for a celebration of Native art! Watch art demonstrations; talk to over a dozen …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Pacific Bonsai Museum

The Boeing Company

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

The Museum of Flight

  • Address 9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle WA 98108
  • Phone (206) 764-5700
  • Website

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

  • Address 719 S King St, Seattle WA 98104
  • Neighborhood International District
  • Phone (206) 623-5124
  • Website




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