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

The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford

Northwest African American Museum
10/31/2015 through 3/6/2016

In observance of the 70th anniversary year of the bombings of Japan during WWII, NAAM is partnering with …

Details Event Website

Philip Govedare: Sky Paintings

11/7/2015 through 12/19/2015

A solo show of new work by Philip Govedare, familiar to Seattle viewers as a painter who finds …

Details Event Website

Carol Summers – Woodcuts

Davidson Galleries
11/5/2015 through 11/28/2015

A major survey of woodcuts by Carol Summers, covering key works from six decades. This exhibition will include …

Details Event Website

Ben Beres – Horror Vacui

Davidson Galleries
11/5/2015 through 11/28/2015

Horror Vacui is a Latin phrase meaning “fear of empty space” and it is apt for Beres’ distinctive …

Details Event Website

36th Annual Box and Container Show

Northwest Woodworkers Gallery
11/29/2015 through 12/31/2015

Each year this highly anticipated show features some of the most creative work from artists throughout the nation …

Details Event Website

Vintage Motorcycle Festival

LeMay – America’s Car Museum
7/30/2016 through 7/30/2016

More than 2,500 classic motorcycle enthusiasts gather on America’s Car Museum’s Haub Family Field for this unique event …

Details Event Website

Arts & Culture Partners

Parlor Live Seattle

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

5th Avenue Theatre

  • Address 1326 Fifth Ave, Ste 735, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 625-1418 - Administration
  • Website

Seattle Children’s Theatre

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

Seattle Repertory Theatre

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