Events that let you visit include the Bemis Arts Spring Show, Open Studios at Inscape Arts, First Thursday at Tashiro Kaplan Lofts, Georgetown Art Attack at Equinox Studios and Ballard ARTWalk at BallardWorks.
It’s well-established that artists bring cultural and economic value to cities. The challenge, of course, is to find affordable live/work spaces in the very neighborhoods they help to uplift. This week’s list features just some of Seattle’s artistic communities that throw open their doors to let us see where the magic happens. Not only do these open houses allow us to participate in Seattle’s important creative ecosystems, they are a chance to wander around some cool old buildings. (Look for part 2 of this list in late spring/early summer.)
Bemis Arts Spring Art Show
The historic Bemis Building rises just south of Safeco Field, housing more than 45 artist lofts and professional studios on four floors. Originally a bag-making factory, the building was renovated in 1995 to become one of the largest artist developments in Seattle. This weekend, it welcomes the public with open studios, food, music and even an aerialist. The Bemis Arts Spring Art Show, April 1 and 2, at the Bemis Building, 55 S. Atlantic St., Seattle (bemisarts.com).
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Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts
The 1919 Tashiro Kaplan building in Pioneer Square reopened in 2004 to host galleries, studios, arts businesses and live/work housing for 50 artist families. Many artists open their studios every month for the First Thursday Artwalk when you can wander around to peruse and purchase original art. The TK building is also home to several artist-run galleries, including Method Gallery, SHIFT Gallery and SOIL, which you can visit throughout the month. The next First Thursday Artwalk in Pioneer Square is April 6, at the Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts, 115 Prefontaine Place S., Seattle (www.pioneersquare.org); Method Gallery, Fridays, Saturdays and First Thursdays, 106 Third Ave. S. (methodgallery.com); SHIFT Gallery, Fridays, Saturdays and First Thursdays, 312 S. Washington St. (shiftgallery.org); SOIL, Thursdays-Sundays, 112 Third Ave. S. (soilart.org).
Equinox Studios occupies a World War II-era factory in the thriving Georgetown neighborhood. Founded in 2006, Equinox Studios now contains 36 studios and shops with more than 50 tenants working in a variety of arts and crafts including blacksmithing, sculpture, painting, ceramics, woodwork, glass and photography. Equinox Studios participates in the Georgetown Art Attack on the second Saturday of every month, and, in fact, sponsors the Georgetown Art Ride, a free shuttle to Georgetown art venues. The next Art Attack is on April 8, Equinox Studios, 6555 Fifth Ave. S., Seattle (equinoxstudios.org).
This industrial-chic building near the Ballard Locks is home to 20 affordable studios for painters, printmakers, sculptors and mixed-media artists. Also in the building: Gallery 1/1, founded in 2015 by artist and collector Dan Shepherd. BallardWorks is always open for the Ballard ARTwalk on the third Thursday evening of every month; the next one is on April 29, at BallardWorks, 2856 N.W. Market St., Seattle (ballardworks.com); Gallery 1/1 is also open by appointment (gallery1of1.com).
Inscape Arts Center
Seattle’s former Immigration and Naturalization Service building was transformed into an artistic community in 2010 and now shelters more than 100 studios and office spaces for sculptors, photographers, performance artists and other culture workers. Committed to “culture, arts, preservation and engagement,” Inscape Arts holds regular Open Studios. The next one is on April 30 at Inscape Arts, 815 Seattle Blvd S., Seattle (inscapearts.org).