Inopportune: Stage One by Cai Guo-Qiang at Seattle Art Museum. Photo: R Barnes

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

Mead Making

Nordic Heritage Museum
10/17/2015 through 10/17/2015

Make your own mead now—drink it for the holidays! Erik Newquist, founder of Everett’s ‘sir Meadery, leads this …

Details Event Website

Dan Friday

Museum of Glass
11/14/2015 through 11/15/2015

Featured Artist Dan Friday, who has had several residencies at Museum of Glass, credits his Pacific Northwest homeland …

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Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art

Seattle Art Museum
10/1/2015 through 1/3/2016

The Seattle Art Museum is proud to present Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, …

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Holiday Small Work Sale

Gage Academy of Art
11/23/2015 through 12/18/2015

Artists from the Gage community are invited to exhibit and sell small works throughout the holiday season. This …

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Keep Clam and Carry On: The Life of Ivar Haglund

Nordic Heritage Museum
8/13/2015 through 11/8/2015

The Life of Ivar Haglund consists of 3-dimensional objects, film, and photographs that document seafood magnate and global …

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The Museum of Fright: Special Halloween Programming

Museum of Flight
10/25/2015 through 10/25/2015

Come join in on the flightfully spooky fun! Bigger than a haunted castle, the Museum’s spacious galleries provide …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Seattle Opera

  • Address 321 Mercer St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 389-7676
  • Website

Parlor Live Seattle

  • Address 1522 Sixth Ave, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 602-1441
  • Website

Seattle Repertory Theatre

  • Address Seattle Center, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 443-2222
  • Website

Pacific Northwest Ballet

  • Address 301 Mercer St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 441-9411
  • Website



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