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

Studio Jazz Ensemble and Modern Band

Meany Hall for the Performing Arts
5/26/2016 through 5/26/2016

The Studio Jazz Ensemble performs big band arrangements and repertory selections. The Modern Band performs innovative arrangements of …

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Kris Allen

The Triple Door
5/25/2016 through 5/25/2016

Singer/songwriter Kris Allen sharpens his songcraft and brings a more boldly openhearted spirit to his soulful brand of …

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The White Buffalo

6/12/2016 through 6/12/2016

Working under the apt nameplate The White Buffalo, singer/songwriter Jake Smith has resolutely charted his own single-minded course …

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Missy Higgins

Columbia City Theater
6/3/2016 through 6/3/2016

Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins has enjoyed phenomenal success with her irresistible melodies and ‘arrow through the heart’ lyrics, …

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Season Encore Performance

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
6/12/2016 through 6/12/2016

Pacific Northwest Ballet reprises its 43rd season via some of PNB’s greatest hits. An evening of thrilling selections …

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Tina Dico

The Triple Door
5/29/2016 through 5/29/2016

In a career that’s taken her to the top of the album charts five times in her native …

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David Bazan

The Neptune Theatre
6/10/2016 through 6/10/2016

David Bazan was, for many years, the songwriter and driving force behind the acclaimed indie band Pedro the …

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Al Di Meola Elegant Gypsy Meets Romantic Warrior Electric Tour

Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
6/9/2016 through 6/12/2016

A bona fide guitar hero and perennial poll-winner, Al Di Meola has been recognized internationally over the past …

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Percussion Ensemle: World Percussion Bash

Meany Hall for the Performing Arts
5/25/2016 through 5/25/2016

The UW Percussion Ensemble and the UW Steel Drum Ensemble present music from a variety of musical traditions.

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Arts & Culture Partners

Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall

  • Address 200 University St, Seattle WA 98111
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 215-4700
  • Website

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

  • Address 550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island WA 98110
  • Neighborhood Bainbridge/Bremerton
  • Phone (206) 842-4451
  • Website

Flying Heritage Collection

  • Address 3407 109th St SW, Everett WA 98204
  • Phone (206) 342-4242
  • Website

Seattle Chamber Music Society

  • Address 10 Harrison St, Ste 306, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood South Lake Union
  • Phone (206) 283-8710
  • Website




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