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

Elisha Cooper

Elliott Bay Book Company
8/11/2016 through 8/11/2016

Writer and illustrator Elisha Cooper, whose books for children include much beloved titles such as Train, 8: An …

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Wavves

The Crocodile
8/6/2016 through 8/6/2016

Inspired by their personal experiences with agoraphobia, sleepwalking, teeth grinding, time wasting, night terrors, toxic relationships, Web MD, …

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Jazz Port Townsend

McCurdy Pavilion
7/29/2016 through 7/30/2016

Jazz Port Townsend is the perfect opportunity to experience excellent musicians, soak up a weekend of jazz in …

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Jamfest

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
8/18/2016 through 8/18/2016

JamFest is a summer music series in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The festive, joyous air energizes you. The savory …

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The Man Who Built the Sierra Club

Seattle Public Library: Central Branch
8/2/2016 through 8/2/2016

Join Robert Wyss as he reads from and discusses his latest book, about Sierra Club legend David Brower. …

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Seattle Secrets

Market Theatre
7/29/2016 through 7/30/2016

There is a movement afoot…a movement that celebrates the power of everyday lives, and which proclaims that the …

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Kacy and Clayton

The Triple Door
8/4/2016 through 8/4/2016

Fantastic Canadian duo whose music recalls the glory days of British folk-rock. Performing tonight with Lydia Ramsey.

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Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick

White River Amphitheatre
8/26/2016 through 8/26/2016

Three of rock music’s most iconic bands hit the road together on The Rock Hall Three For All …

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Seattle Secrets

Market Theatre
8/19/2016 through 8/20/2016

There is a movement afoot…a movement that celebrates the power of everyday lives, and which proclaims that the …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Brown Paper Tickets

  • Address 220 Nickerson St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Fremont
  • Phone (800) 838-3006
  • Website brownpapertickets.com

The Center for Wooden Boats

  • Address 1010 Valley St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood South Lake Union
  • Phone (206) 382-2628
  • Website cwb.org

ACT Theatre

  • Address 700 Union St, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 292-7660
  • Website acttheatre.org

The Steamer Virginia V Foundation

  • Address 901 Fairview Ave N, Ste A110, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood South Lake Union
  • Phone (206) 624-9119
  • Website virginiav.org

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