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

Romeo et Juliette

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
2/5/2016 through 2/14/2016

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s brilliant take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet garnered classic status when PNB became the first American …

Details Event Website

Jersey Boys

Paramount Theatre
3/8/2016 through 3/13/2016

The 2006 Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four …

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ACT Theatre
2/27/2016 through 5/8/2016

In this tawdry carnival’s shooting gallery, you’ll find yourself in the company of some of the most notorious …

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A Night with Janis Joplin

The 5th Avenue Theatre
3/25/2016 through 4/17/2016

A musical journey celebrating one of rock’n’roll’s legends, and the voices that inspired her — icons like Aretha …

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Titus Andronicus

Center House Theatre
1/12/2016 through 2/17/2016

Savage and sublime, brutal and beautiful, this blackly comic revenge story is told in extremes. General Titus Andronicus …

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Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Center House Theatre
3/15/2016 through 4/10/2016

Confronting the truth locks two strong, unconventional women in an elemental battle peppered with Shaw’s wicked humor. With …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Teatro ZinZanni

  • Address 222 Mercer St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 802-0015
  • Website


  • Address 305 Harrison St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 464-5830
  • Website

Seattle Children’s Theatre

  • Address 201 Thomas St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 441-3322
  • Website

Chihuly Garden and Glass

  • Address 305 Harrison St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 905-2180
  • Website




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