Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Art Walk Paints Image of a Collaborative Hill

    On the second Thursday of every month, local artists and small business owners come together around the Pine/Pike corridor to showcase their talents in the Capitol Hill Blitz Art Walk.

    The event offers many local artists and performers a chance to display their talents to a larger audience, and has helped to give Capitol Hill its now omnipresent sense of artistic creativity.

    All the events are run entirely by volunteers with help from 40 vendors, including Cupcake Royale and Essence Wine Shop.

    This festival is a trend that has been sweeping Seattle and has become popular among Seattle residents. Recently, art walks of a similar nature have been popping up in different neighborhoods around the city; Fremont, Ballard and Pioneer Square have recently opened smaller but similar monthly walks.

    Local animator, writer and sketch artist Joe Garber is one of many artists who has watched the Blitz develop in Capitol Hill over the past few years. “Capitol Hill is the best place in the world to watch new artists grow,” Garber mentioned in a recent
    phone interview.

    Along with the help of local artists like Garber, local businesses provide the kindling for the artistic fire that has began to swell upon Capitol Hill.

    Garber’s newest piece, a comic book entitled “Sandboy,” is currently for sale at Bluebird. Bluebird has also rented a studio above the parlor to Garber along with two other artists, Jared Stockdale and Prina Simmons.

    The shop has noticed that over the past four to five years the Hill has become a much more artist friendly and artist driven neighborhood; this trend, as Garber said, will quickly spread around the city.

    Bluebird once hosted intimate open mic/spoken word nights for local musicians; they also hosted occasional art shows for residents and regulars, which, according to employee Diana Baraba, were always well attended. She outlined that they have had numerous artists rent their studio who participated in the walk in previous years as well. “Blitz has always been entrenched in the culture of Capitol Hill,” she said.

    Other shops have hosted local artists’ work for smaller shows from time to time, as outlined by Nils Goodwin, an employee of Throwbacks Northwest, the shop directly adjacent to Bluebird’s Pike Street location.

    Goodwin discussed how the shop held smaller art shows for local residents over the past three years. “They were fun, they showcased lots of local art, but a few people definitely came for the free drinks,” he chuckled.

    Healeo, a local organic nutrition bar open since 2009, has also helped put local artists on the map in recent years. Owner Bobby Mahdari, a 2006 Seattle U graduate, stated that although Healeo has never personally been involved in the walk, they have displayed numerous local artists’ work around the store to help recognition.

    Mahdari and his business partner Justin Brotonan have been deeply involved in helping local artists since establishing their business; the work they have up for sale is usually purchased or rotated within a few months. They take no commission; all profits go right back to the artists. This type of support for local artists and business has been ravaging through Seattle recently and it is great to see the trend continue, according to both Mahdari and Brotonan.

    Looking forward, it seems the artistic wave will do nothing but swell in the greater Seattle area. This tide has been pushed by events like the CH Blitz Art Walk and help from local artists like Garber. This tsunami of local support creativity has swept up most Seattle vendors and shop owners and it shows few signs of letting up.

    The Blitz this month will be on Thursday, Nov. 14, beginning at 5 p.m. on the Hill.

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    Ian Firstenberg, Author

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