Following the Capitol Hill Block Party by a week, it’s easy to draw comparisons with this weekend’s first ever 11th Avenue Street Fair but the focus should be on the diverse artistic community the street fosters, organizers say.
“[Capitol Hill] has its unique parts of being free and open, being able to create whatever type of art you want to create,” said Natalie Curtis, president of the Capitol Hill Community Council, one of the sponsor’s of the event. “We’re just hoping that people living in the area, working in the area, will come on a Sunday and hang out.”
The fair will take place on 11th Ave between Pike and Pine from 1 to 9 PM Sunday, July 29. Curtis said you can expect a “nice, artsy flow of creatives” and “beautiful spaces with beautiful people.”
It’s a street stuffed with change. The development project that will preserve the facade of the auto row-era Kelly Springfield building and create an office and retail project remains under construction as a backdrop to the street’s bars, shops, and arts activities. Meanwhile, 11th Ave’s artistic core will regain its heart with the return of Hugo House later this year to across from Cal Anderson where its writing center is under construction as part of a new apartment building across from the park.
11th Ave’s Sunday celebration will include live music, performances, DJs, food trucks and, of course, artwork. The event is sponsored by the Capitol Hill Community Council, Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, Blue Cone Studios, Imminent Mode, John Criscitello Studios and Kwanchai Vodka. The street will be closed to traffic and parking between 10 AM and 10 PM on Sunday.
The event is part of a big year for Vermillion. Owner Diana Adams is celebrating 10 years of business at the art gallery and bar. “Art is a filter,” Adams told CHS about Vermillion’s survival in the neighborhood, “And it’s the kind of filter I want to have. It gets you to a place where you can deduce the truth—you can know where somebody stands or how they react. I don’t judge people or their art at all. I try to be incredibly neutral because it’s all subjective.”
Curtis says that the street fair this weekend is part of an ongoing effort to plan more events like it in the near future. She wants to collaborate with local businesses like Vermillion and Blue Cone Studios to draw attention to all the creative spaces in and around the neighborhood, and the artists in them.
“There’s a lot of hidden art spaces within the area that a lot of people don’t know about,” Curtis said. “Capitol Hill loves and embraces the self and owning your own truth, and I think this festival will allow people to do that.”
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