Although organizers do occasionally bring in bigger acts from out of town, too, the venue places a very large – and positive – emphasis on homegrown singers, dancers, artists, poets and other creative souls. In their own words, "Abbey Arts focuses on local music, contemporary dance, visual art, spoken word and storytelling."
Regardless of who's wowing the audience, show formats here include multi-arts collaborative performances like The Round, a unique monthly showcase during which three songwriters share the stage with other musicians, a slam poet and a live painter.
Damien Jurado captivates crowds at Fremont Abbey Arts Center — Photo courtesy of Jumay Photography / Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Other performances that grace the Abbey's intimate space – a stunning 100-year-old brick church building, originally St. Paul’s Lutheran Church – include close-up concerts; new dance performances set to live music; community gatherings like The Moth storytelling event (a must-see, in our humble opinion); dance classes; and a variety of workshops and "artistic life celebrations."
Most of Fremont Abbey Arts Center's "listener concerts and creative arts experiences" happen at the home venue in Upper Fremont, but the organization also presents events in unusual venues around town like St. Mark's on Capitol Hill and, as of this March, the brand new Ballard Homestead on 65th.
At the Fremont Abbey, consider grabbing a meal before the show (or a drink after) at one of the neighborhood's many gems. For a quick bite complemented by local beer, try Uneeda Burger, or grab a quick Mexican meal (across the street from the Abbey) at Pecado Bueno.
For tasty Cajun fare in a warm and friendly space, head down the road to Roux. Find casual, flavorful comfort food at Ha!, savor pizza and wine at Via Tribunali, or gather at RockCreek, where seafood and spirits get rave reviews from loyal patrons.
Upcoming events at Fremont Abbey Arts Center include a performance by Honey Noble on Feb. 19 and a Moth show on Feb. 20 at Bloedel Hall in St. Mark’s on Capitol Hill. Another Round gathering happens March 10. And there's always the regular and free third-Tuesday event of Open Arts Mic. Check out their online calendar for other upcoming happenings.
Also visit Fremont Abbey's website to learn more about classes offered and availability of renting out the memorable space for private events. Another bonus of frequenting this no-hassle destination? Free street parking is available in the streets surrounding the Abbey.
Here's to supporting local talent in a convenient locale with stunning acoustics and a laid-back, friendly vibe.