Arts Walk, Olympia’s beloved twice-yearly creative celebration, is still on hold for COVID-19, so as it did in the fall, the city of Olympia is keeping the event’s spirit alive by putting the spotlight on art all April long.
The city has a new Arts Walk website designed to make both current and future events more flexible and spontaneous — and to allow for virtual events and include businesses outside of downtown.
“The website gives us the ability to innovate,” said Angel Nava of the city’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “The goal is to help people connect with these really amazing things that are happening throughout Olympia.”
Although there is no printed map for Arts Month, the tradition of spotlighting one artist has resumed. “Fluttering,” a carved and painted block by Laurel Henn, appears on posters for the event.
“Fluttering,” which shows quilts waving in the breeze, is part of Henn’s series of cloud-shaped blocks, which she carves, uses to make prints and then paints.
“Quilts … hold a special place in my life,” she wrote in an artist’s statement. “Every quilt in my house was made by my mother, so no matter the distance, I always feel close to her creativeness.”
The featured piece and more of Henn’s work can be seen at Splash Gallery and online. The cooperative gallery, at 501 Columbia St. NW, Suite C, reopens to the public Friday, April 2.
Among the other events happening during Arts Month:
• A celebration of “Guardians,” a pair of sculptures recently installed at 1515 West Bay Drive. The city will be taking photos of visitors with the sculptures, by Lin McJunkin and Milo White, from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2. The photos will be part of an online dedication of the pieces at 5:30 p.m. April 13.
• “Quilting for Climate,” an installation of more than 100 painted paper “quilt blocks” expressing the ways people can lower their carbon footprint. Stream Team coordinated the project, which will be on display in the front windows of Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia.
• Story Trails created by the Olympia Timberland Library. The library is continuing to take literacy outdoors with its Story Trails project. This month, there are pages from picture books posted at the Olympia Farmers Market, 700 Capitol Way N., Olympia; Kettle View Park, 1250 Eagle Bend Drive SE, Olympia; and Sunrise Park, 505 Birch St. NW, Olympia. Each location has a different story.
• Participatory art projects at the library. For those who’d rather make art than just look at it, the Olympia Timberland Library has an array of options for Arts Month. In addition to its traditional Peeps diorama contest, the library is inviting people to contribute to a community zine, make a leaf for “Tree of Life” that will grow in the library window, and draw with chalk on the sidewalks around the building at 313 Eighth Ave. SE, Olympia,
No live performances have been announced for Arts Month.
“Our community is still cautiously easing into some of the limited in-person stuff that we can do,” Nava said. “The cool thing for this Arts Month is that there is more capacity to see artwork in person than there was in October.”
Among the visual art happenings highlighted on the new site are “Picturing the Pandemic” at Childhood’s End, 222 Fourth Ave. W., Olympia; themed shows throughout the month at Gallery Boom, 201 Wilson St. NE, Olympia; and a show of the work of 16 members of The Artists’ Gallery, a cooperative gallery at 2505 Fourth Ave. W, Suite 105, Olympia.
Arts Month was launched in response to the pandemic but might become a yearly tradition in Olympia, Nava said.
October is National Arts and Humanities Month, a national event created by the nonprofit Americans for the Arts, and the city is considering joining that celebration in October and reserving the festivities of weekend Arts Walk for late April.
Olympia Arts Month
- What: As it did in the fall, the city of Olympia is adapting Arts Walk into a socially distanced and virtual Arts Month.
- When: Through April 30
- Where: Throughout Olympia and online
- More information: https://www.artswalkoly.com