August is a major month for visual and performing art in Seattle—and the first week really kicks things off with a glitter bomb. With the arrival of the third annual Seattle Art Fair, Pioneer Square and the surrounding area transform into a treasure box of (officially unaffiliated) exhibition openings, special engagements, curtain unveilings of new collaborative projects, and parties, parties, parties.
This week, Culture Fiend zeroes in on some of these goings-on and what they mean to Seattle as a city of artists. We can't cover everything, but here's a good place to start.*
Seattle Art Fair
In its third year, the biggest single event for visual art in Seattle is bigger than ever. Ninety three galleries converge at CenturyLink Event Center, showcasing Seattle collectors and their featured artists alongside big names from New York to Tokyo. It's wall-to-wall art, and the experience walking the floor can be overwhelming. But there is not a better local opportunity to survey such a wide breadth of contemporary art. Also, it's a market. CenturyLink Event Center, $20–$150
Out of Sight
Think of Out of Sight as an unofficial spinoff of the larger fair, one that's purpose is to support and celebrate Northwest artists specifically. While Seattle galleries and artists do share the floor on at Paul Allen's extravaganza, Out of Sight remains the better place to experience the work of our regional artists in a much more intimate environment. With a new venue in Pioneer Square (don't worry, there's still stuff happening at King Street—more on that below), Out of Sight 2017 features over 100 visual and performing artists. Grand opening party on Aug 3. General admission starts Aug 4. 115 South Jackson Street, $10–$100
X Y Z Opening Party
Cold Cube Press, Gramma Poetry, Mount Analogue, and Specialist have joined forces under the same roof. The new gallery, event space, artist studio, and small press publishing office marks a moment of cross-discipline collaboration that is, frankly, lacking in Seattle. The opening party shows off a sampling of wares from each group, including a raucous installation, Women in the Style of Taco Bell, by Mary Anne Carter. 300 South Washington Street, Free
Aug 3–Oct 29
The former home of Out of Sight returns this year as a year-round public art space provided by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. This new slate of programming launches with BorderLands, a provocative and timely exhibition by a conglomerate of artists. The third floor of the King Street Station will house nearly fifty of Pedro Lasch's "flag fusions," or flags from all around the world fused together to form new banners. Works-in-response from artists—including Ries Niemi, Henry Luke, Anida Yoeu Ali, and Crystal Schenk—accompany Lasch's installation, along with special performances pieces to celebrate Art Fair Weekend. King Street Station, Free
Aug 5–Oct 9
Storme Webber: 'Casino: A Palimpsest'
In the early to mid-1900s, Pioneer Square teemed with immigrants, queer communities, and the displaced. Seattle artist Storme Webber spent her formative years around this tumultuous place, and in her new exhibition, Casino: A Palimpsest, she explores the neighborhood’s messy history as it informs her own family history and indigenous roots. Photographs (Webber’s grandmother), poetry, and historical records combine for a deeply personal experience. Frye Art Museum, Free
*And check back all week for deeper dives into some of these events.