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

Every Movie Is A Musical

Jet City Improv
1/9/2016 through 2/13/2016

An improvised attempt to find the next film-to-stage sensation before Broadway does. A talented team of improv comedians …

Details Event Website

Titus Andronicus

Center House Theatre
1/12/2016 through 2/17/2016

Savage and sublime, brutal and beautiful, this blackly comic revenge story is told in extremes. General Titus Andronicus …

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Crimes of the Heart

Francis J. Gaudette Theatre
1/21/2016 through 2/28/2016

Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this Southern gothic comedy tells the plight of three sisters …

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Really Really

ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery
1/21/2016 through 2/14/2016

A contemporary drama that pushes the edges and embraces the harsh reality of today’s youth. At an elite …

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Seattle Repertory Theatre
1/22/2016 through 2/21/2016

Can one word alter the course of your life? Through a dizzying fugue of vignettes, audiences watch as …

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Ring of Fire

Knutzen Family Theatre
1/22/2016 through 2/14/2016

Centerstage Theatre Arts Conservatory Presents Ring of Fire: The Musical Story of Johnny Cash at Knutzen Family Theatre.

Details Event Website

Arts & Culture Partners

The Museum of Flight

  • Address 9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle WA 98108
  • Phone (206) 764-5700
  • Website

Teatro ZinZanni

  • Address 222 Mercer St, Seattle WA 98109
  • Neighborhood Queen Anne
  • Phone (206) 802-0015
  • Website

Flying Heritage Collection

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

Town Hall Seattle

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




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