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

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s Immortal Ephemera

Krab Jab Studio
6/13/2015 through 7/3/2015

Illustrator and watercolorist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law joins with her brand new series of watercolors, inviting viewers into her …

Details Event Website

Maker Day: Toy Boat Building with the Center for Wooden Boats

Museum of History and Industry
9/26/2015 through 9/26/2015

Come to a monthly Maker Day to tinker and experiment alongside some of Seattle’s most innovative makers.

Details Event Website

Halloween Train

Northwest Railway Museum
10/24/2015 through 10/31/2015

Gather the family, suit up in your costumes and take part in the fall festivities at the Snoqualmie …

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Leo Saul Berk: The Uncertainty of Enclosure

Frye Art Museum
5/30/2015 through 9/6/2015

Sculptural work by Seattle artist Leo Saul Berk exploring the impact of his childhood home, the iconic Ford …

Details Event Website


6/27/2015 through 8/22/2015

Norman Lundin presents Canopies, new work by Kimberly Clark, Eric Elliott, Tamblyn Gawley, and Evelyn Woods.

Details Event Website

Debra Moore: Glass Orchidarium

Northwest African American Museum
5/16/2015 through 11/8/2015

Debora Moore creates sculpted glass orchids that are inspired by her distant travels and immersion in nature. She …

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Arts & Culture Partners

Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council

  • Address 221 Winslow Way W, Bainbridge Island WA 98110
  • Neighborhood Bainbridge/Bremerton
  • Phone (206) 842-7901
  • Website

Seattle Events, producers of Seattle Hempfest

  • Address Hempfest Central-12351 Lake City Way NE, Ste 102, Seattle WA 98125
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 364-4367
  • Website

The Triple Door

  • Address 216 Union St, Seattle WA 98101
  • Neighborhood Downtown Seattle
  • Phone (206) 838-4333
  • Website

Seattle Repertory Theatre

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



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