There are so many creative minds in Seattle that have together fostered an incredibly full, productive and supportive arts community that practically every coffee shop, bar, restaurant, hotel and farmers market displays one of a kind pieces from local artists, not to mention all of the proper galleries-many of which are artist run.
One such artist-run gallery worth checking out is SOIL. Located in the Tashiro Kaplan Building in Pioneer Square, this nonprofit cooperative shows a wide range of mediums and is locally supported and operated. PUNCH is another venue aiming to present work that is honest, fearless and fresh, “free from the constraints of commercialism.” These are Seattle artists supporting their own and cutting out the middle man- a sign of the times if there ever was one. Catherine Person Gallery is also dedicated to representing Pacific Northwest artists, both emerging and established. Here you can find finely-rendered contemporary work representing a wide range of media. As a visitor, there’s no better way to tap into the mindset of a city than to take a peek at what the artists are doing. A great time to do this is during a First Thursday Art Walk in and around downtown’s Pioneer Square. Many other neighborhoods have their own art walks so be sure to keep an eye out for art walk posters wherever you go.
NuBe Green — Photo courtesy of NuBe Green
If purchasing something off a gallery wall is not exactly what you’re envisioning for your shopping trip, there are plenty of shops that focus on unique, locally crafted items. Venue in Ballard is home to artist originals including home accessories, jewelry, and creative gifts. Several artist studios are actually located on-site so there’s an opportunity to meet with them, attend a class, or even commission them to do a custom piece. Another gem of a shop offering customization is Bitters Co. in Fremont. Made To Order furniture built from reclaimed wood, as well as other handcrafted home furnishings, lighting, ceramics and textiles are all on display in this charming little rustic shop. Independent and family-run, NuBe Green Mercantile in the Capitol Hill neighborhood takes it to another level altogether. Committed to only stocking products made from sustainable materials and crafted in the United States, their unique and eclectic inventory includes sustainable home wares, crafty gifts, organic clothing, artisan furniture and handmade jewelry, giving the consumer an easy, fashion-forward way to support local and eco-friendly causes.
Bitters Co. — Photo courtesy of Bitters Co.
My feeling is that when you’re on vacation and looking to spend, why hit up the same stores you could find anywhere? Search for something a bit more meaningful and memorable than the J.Crew sweater you’ve been eyeing, and really dig into the city. Think locally (you chose to visit Seattle for a reason, right?) and try to discover what Seattle means to you-then commemorate it with a one-of-a-kind to take home. This holiday season, support small, independent businesses and bring a little art into your life.