As, I walked around the Capitol Hill Arts Walk I thought to myself: “This has the potential to be a lot better.” It was great to see some local artists and people that supported them. However, there are plenty of things that could make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved. I am going to identify the five biggest problems and then give five easy, cheap solutions that could be in place by the second Thursday of March.
Here’s what doesn’t work:
- There was very little advertising. Some venues had a Capitol Hill Arts Walk sign in their window, some didn’t. It was not obvious that the Art Walk was going on.
- It was unclear where the exhibitions were and the different venues were not in touch with the one another. I went into three different stores that were hosting the Arts Walk before I found a map.
- Half the time the artists were not at the place that had their work. People are much less likely to care about going in and seeing the work if the artist is not there.
- There’s not enough free wine.
- The Arts Walk is way too far apart from each other. There were 34 different places hosting art and they are spread out from 14th Avenue and E. Pine Street to Broadway and E. Roy Street. It’s unreasonable to think that people are going to walk around that much when it’s cold and potentially rainy.
Here’s some easy and cheap ways to make it better:
- Advertising- Everybody on Capitol Hill from residents to tourists need to know that the Arts Walk is going on. Every venue that is hosting art needs to have a big Arts Walk sign in the window so, people know right way. For clarity, it’s best for everyone to have the same Capitol Hill Arts Walk logo. Additionally, the self-standing chalk boards that restaurants and bars use to show off their drink or food specials, should say something to the effect of, “Arts Walk-come in and see local art and have a glass of wine.” Making the entire experience inviting should be the top priority.
- Have a few volunteers stand in high volume areas (From 12th Avenue and E. Pike/Pine Street to Broadway) handing out flyers for the Arts Walk with a map of the locations. This creates awareness of the event and makes it easy for people to participate.
- Encourage the artists to be at the venue that has their work. It should have an exhibit feel so a long time fan or new one can interact with the artist. Creating that human connection both with the artists and other patrons is what makes an art walk fun and cool.
- At the Pioneer Square Art Walk, there is plenty of wine and snacks, when people are drunk and happy they are more likely to hang around, have a good time and potentially buy some art. I know artists don’t have a lot of money, but putting out donation jar with a sign suggesting “$1 donation” should cover most of the cost for wine and snacks.
- If it’s possible, making the Art Walk more concentrated would really boost interest and participation. I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but the promoters of the Arts Walk should try to lobby as many places from 12th Avenue and E. Pike/Pine Street to Bauhaus on E. Pine and Melrose Street to be a venue for art. If the previous four suggestions were taken up and more interest and participation happened, it would be easier to convince business owners. It’s beneficial for them because people are more likely to buy what’s in their store/restaurant or cafe and its beneficial for the community because people get to see and buy work for local artists.
I would like to see the Capitol Hill Arts Walk be a premiere event that people from all over Seattle come to check out. We need to work as a community to make that happen.
Here are some pictures of nice artists I met and their work: