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

Living Voices Performances

Museum of History and Industry
8/1/2015 through 9/26/2015

Living Voices presents dynamic solo performances combined with archival film that turns history into a moving journey.

Details Event Website

Labor Day Weekend Steam Trains

Northwest Railway Museum
9/5/2015 through 9/7/2015

Step up to the Snoqualmie ticket window where travelers have purchased tickets since 1890 for a historic train …

Details Event Website

Bug Blast

Burke Museum
9/20/2015 through 9/20/2015

Bug out as thousands of specimens, dead and alive, fly, buzz, or crawl to the Burke Museum for …

Details Event Website

Star Trek: The Exhibition

Washington State Fair Events Center
9/11/2015 through 9/17/2015

Star Trek fans at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup can look forward to re-living their favorite memories …

Details Event Website

Pierr Morgan: Imagine

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
6/27/2015 through 9/20/2015

The work of award-winning children’s book illustrator Pierr Morgan (The Squiggle, Dragon Dancing) is featured in this diverse …

Details Event Website

Every Soil Bears Not Everything

Museum of Glass
9/23/2015 through 5/15/2016

The Studio Glass movement accelerated in the 1970s at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. This pivotal time …

Details Event Website

Arts & Culture Partners

Showbox SODO

  • Address 1700 First Ave S, Seattle WA 98134
  • Phone (206) 652-0997
  • Website

The Paramount Theatre

  • Address 911 Pine St, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 467-5510
  • Website

Seattle Events, producers of Seattle Hempfest

  • Address Hempfest Central-12351 Lake City Way NE, Ste 102, Seattle WA 98125
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 364-4367
  • Website

Seattle Opera

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



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.

Book a Hotel

Partner Advertisements