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

History Cafe

Museum of History and Industry
9/17/2015 through 9/17/2015

Join in on the 3rd Thursday of the month at the MOHAI Cafe for a lively discussion about …

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Opening Family Day

Museum of History and Industry
9/19/2015 through 9/19/2015

Celebrate the opening of The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop with fun, family-friendly activities. Enjoy music, dancing, art and …

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Graced in Glass: Trade Beads and Native

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
7/25/2015 through 11/15/2015

Hudson’s Bay Company traders and outposts throughout North America stocked beads among their wares. The beads were traded …

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Martin Creed: Work No. 360: Half the air in a given

Henry Art Gallery
6/27/2015 through 9/27/2015

Internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Martin Creed invites visitors to consider the locality of art and where it can …

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American Portraits 1880-1915

Frye Art Museum
5/30/2015 through 9/27/2015

A selection of portraits by American artists from the Frye Collections that demonstrate links to developments in German …

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Free Play

Living Computer Museum
8/15/2015 through 8/15/2015

The Living Computer Museum, where vintage computers come to life, is proud to announce Free Play, a day-long …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Northwest Folklife

  • Address 158 Thomas St, Ste 32, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 684-7300
  • Website

Town Hall Seattle

  • Address 1119 Eighth Ave, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 652-4255
  • Website

Broadway at the Paramount

  • Address 911 Pine St, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 622-2733
  • Website

Pacific Northwest Ballet

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



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