Capitol Hill’s art walk celebrates an anniversary Thursday with a new look and feel for the monthly event dedicated to boosting neighborhood artists and small businesses dedicated to creativity and performance.
Some of the change is straight up branding. With more discussion about the possibilities of a cultural district, the “Blitz Capitol Art Walk” has been simplified to the “Capitol Hill Art Walk” to keep the focus on the neighborhood.
“It’s not like Pioneer Square where it’s consolidated,” says Michelle Hippler of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, the organization that has backed the monthly event for the past five years. “We want people to know they can experience different things on art walk night,” she said.
Some changes go beyond marketing. The chamber plans to introduce a Capitol Hill Arts Hero Award, a a new honor that will celebrate art and artists on the Hill.
“With talks of a cultural district happening, we wanted to start recognizing community members who contribute to the arts on the Hill,” Hippler said. “Artists and art venues are so much a part of our neighborhood, we plan to make it an annual thing,” she said.
The first recipient of the inaugural award will go to artist Ellen Forney, an illustrator and Chamber member whose efforts rejuvenated the art walk in 2009. Her work helped expand the art walk to more than 40 venues all over Capitol Hill.
In 2009, Forney worked with the chamber to create the Blitz community inspired art program. Previous to Blitz, the event consisted of a monthly Tuesday walk that had been kind of plodding along without much growth or excitement. The chamber revamped and re-branded the even with a renewed effort to engage the business community of the Hill.
Now it’s time to simplify. Along with the new focus, June’s walk will celebrate five years of the chamber-backed renewal of effort to celebrate the arts around the Hill. Thursday night, there will a starting point at the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House where walkers can meet up at the before party and pick up maps at anytime during the art walk.
Guided tours led by members of the Capitol Hill arts community will also help art walkers to discover the many art venues in the neighborhood.
“I’m excited to highlight work in galleries not only in our neighborhood, but in the immediate surroundings of Photo Center NW, where I work and the hub for photography in our region,” said Rafael Soldi, who will be leading a guided tour.
More independent types can take their own tour:
- Blindfold Gallery on East Olive has been a part of the walk since the beginning. This space usually focuses on local artists but this month internationally known L.A. painter Rachid Bouhamidi shares his solo show “Fanfare for the Area Man.” This series of paintings are wildly inventive and intoxicatingly colorful– celebrating life and carrying an air of musicality and playfulness. Rachid will be at the opening, most likely reciting poetry in French or telling stories of his world travels.
- Closer to the central Pike/Pine corridor is the veteran favorite Cloud Gallery at Frame Central. Three local artists are featured in this cozy gallery located in the loft above the frame shop. Photographer Nate Gowdy gives us a colorful and diverse collection of images from the nearly 800 LGBTQ events he has attended. Aubry Kae shows off some “Illustrious Characters” from her new series and a few pieces from the 2014 Seattle Erotic Arts Festival. Painter Adream fills out the show with a mix of fabric, threading, beads, and crystals.
- Just around the corner on 12th Avenue, Northwest Film Forum, makes its Capitol Hill Art Walk debut with a happy hour + video art program that spans new films from Seattle, Guangzhou, Toronto, Brooklyn, Turku and more. This independent film arts center has been a Pike/Pine staple for more than a decade, and is a proud Capitol Hill hub for independent filmmakers and film lovers from across the region. During Art Walk, you can start off at the Film Forum lobby bar at 6pm (it’s opening night of COMING OUT ALL OVER: QUEER FILM STYLE) and soak in the venue’s industrial chic and fabulous film-loving conversation. Continue in the cinema: the Film Forum will be looping an on-screen video art program (6pm-7:30pm), specially built for Art Walk by guest curator Vera Petukhova, that uncovers a beautiful world of Bart Simpson, emojis, chess games, culture collisions and visual music. Dip in and out of the cinema with your drink and friends before you hit your next Art Walk stop.
- Another Art Walk newcomer and the latest happening art and event space on the Hill, 10 Degrees, also breaks the mold by offering video art of dancers. Drop by the 13th and Union space at 7:00PM where they’ll be hosting RADAR, a 45-minute series of short dance films curated by artists in residence Shannon Stewart and Adam Sekuler. Enjoy a cash bar featuring two Capitol Hill favorites: craft booze from OOLA Distillery and treats from Feed Co Catering.
Tours will wrap up around 8 PM. Vermillion will host a 21+ after-party and presentation of the Capitol Hill Arts Hero Award. A live performance by Hibou and How Things Work will follow, along with a raffle. Walkers can enter to win prizes by bringing their stamped art-walk passports.
- 5:00 to 6:30ish
- DJ Nick Fenton will be spinning tunes
- Tea and Tarot readings
- George Wasington living statue
- Films by Eri Ostrowski
Tour Guides and Start Times
- 5:30 Michael Seiwerath – Inside the 12th Ave Arts
- 6:00 Michelle Dunne Marsh & Rafael Soldi – Through the Lens
- 6:30 Tova Elise Cubert – Tova’s Favorites
- 6:45 Amanda Manitach and DK Pan – Park Art and More
Vermillion After Party
- 8:00 to 10ish
- 8:00 FREE cat caricatures of you
- 8:30 Raffle Give-away Begins (see below for prizes)
- 8:45 Capitol Hill Arts Hero Award Presentation to Ellen Forney
- 9:00 pm – Hibou
- 9:30 pm – How Things Work