What do you think of Art Walk?

So, for the second month, we were somewhat underwhelmed by Wallingford Art Walk. Not many people out, not many businesses seeming to participate, few artists actually with their work. What up, Wallingford?

Dick's - Instax WindowsWe checked in with Art Walk organizer Tara Shuttleworth, who said she’d welcome some feedback from the community. So, we turn it to, Walliingford, how do you think it’s going?

For our piece, we love the idea of a Wallingford Art Walk, neighbors mingling with each other amidst cutting edge and intellectually challenging objets d’art, but that just doesn’t seem like what’s been happening. We’ve had conversations with a variety of people around the neighborhood, and here are some of what we’ve heard:

  • The artists are almost never present with their art, which is one of the things that can make an art walk engaging: the opportunity to talk with the artist about their work and learn more about it.
  • The art and artists often seem duplicated month to month. Sure, it may be hard to get new artists every month for so many venues, but perhaps that’s a reason to scale back the number of venues.
  • It’s often not clear which businesses are participating (versus businesses that just happen to have art on the wall all year and hang a balloon).
  • Participating businesses are spread out. Alone, this wouldn’t be a big problem, but combined with the above issues, it means you can walk a long way just to find out that there is no art, or something you’d seen elsewhere previously.
Really, though, the biggest problem we see is the low attendance. Call it a symptom or a call it a cause, but the whole fun of Art Walk is being out amidst a crowd. Without the crowd, what’s the point?
That’s just one opinionated bloggers opinion, though. What do you think Wallingford?
(Photo by Shawn McClung, and was part of Greenwood’s May Art Walk, but totally should have been a part of ours.)
  1. Chris said,

    Well, I personally think all of the neighborhood art walks are pretty lame compared to Pioneer Square which hosts them in actual galleries and artists’ working spaces. The whole atmosphere is different and truly about art, not getting people to stop in your store to buy/eat something else. I’d much rather be immersed in the experience, in venues wreaking of oil paints rather than somebody’s pad thai.

    Also, if you shop/eat in the neighborhood, most of the art walk is repetitive for you and/or you will see it again.

    Lastly, getting your own “show” in say, the lobby of the tanning place is sort of a dubious honor imho and doesn’t create a draw like even being part of a smaller show in an actual gallery.

    Thu, September 8 at 2:31 pm
  2. w said,

    I’d like to get my own show in the lobby of the tanning place if you know what I’m sayin…

    Thu, September 8 at 3:52 pm
  3. sew said,

    here are my thoughts:
    1.) the art walks do not seem ‘special ‘ enough.. how about having them once every 2 months instead of every Wed
    2.) Not A Number used to put a great show on.. with food and music.. now they are in a smaller space and less able to do so.. someone step up!
    3.) they used to be in conjunction with the farmers market.. which is gone.. there was always space on Wallingford Ave, in Lincoln parking lot and manu other alternatives, bu tthose were shut down
    4.) we used to have ” A Taste of Wallingford” .. special eventsliek this brought out everyone.. what happened?
    5.) Wallingford Cente rused to have incredible art in an unused space, anda very intelligent fun artist rep.. what happened?
    6.) I like the art in Starbucks, I am like a few who no longer shop on 45th due to need of work and no funds for anything but food and rent.
    7.) It seems like there is less neighborhood unity than a year or so ago. many stories in this blog which were begun with follow-ups promised.. never had their followups.
    8.) I am less interested in touring 30 hair cutting salons to see art.. than Iwas when there were more stores.

    Thu, September 8 at 4:28 pm
  4. Neighbor said,

    I’m with w

    Thu, September 8 at 5:45 pm
  5. Rollin Thomas said,

    Art walks were initially devised to promote new shows at art galleries. The day before, patrons of the galleries would come to buy from the fresh supply. Which is why red sale dots were on some works when you arrived early to view.

    They were not just an element of advertising to get customers to visit a shop or cafe. So I think the attitude maybe wrong. Consider making it more special for the artist/s to be there so people can talk to the creators. Consider a percent off to artists (Privided they brind images of their work or a business card or something.) on food or drinks service to encourage other artist in the greater Puget Sound area to come to visit.

    Once a month for the opening is a good pace with shows staying up for most of the month, allowing time for a change over.

    A call to exhibiting artists outside of our area is a good idea.

    Consider, and this may already be in place, having someone coordinate the aquiring of artists to show (a curator?) and selecting appropriate venues for them, Some works are tiny and some very large–the wrong space can kill their effect and affect, and some might need special lighting) arranging schedules months in advance so artists can prepare fresh new works and signing contracts to insure participation. This could tie in with the schools such as Pratt, Cornish, UW Extension, Seattle Pacific, etc. and give a venue for student artists (here is hwere a good curator could limit the number of artists and also see that the work is showing a level of maturity; the intent is not to exclude but to be sure the work is the best the artist can provide).

    I’d be happy to show my work someplace but to date, I’ve always had work things to do on art walk night so I have yet to get to one and after the date it seems intrusive to go to a cafe just to look at the art on the wall. Perhaps something could be worked out to accomidate people who just come to see what is there, and that might be have an every Wednesday night as please come to see the art night.

    Just saying. Good Luck!

    Thu, September 8 at 6:18 pm
  6. Mike Draper said,

    Back in the day, art receptions were once a month, had free wine, and were true art events with real art. Now they are just advertizing promotions for every “day spa” and hair salon.

    Thu, September 8 at 6:28 pm
  7. Catherine M. Condeff said,

    Catherine, here. I am one of the artists featured last night at the Kerf Gallery in Wallingford Center. Our show is new, innovative and very “cutting edge”–even if I do say so myself! And seven of us artists were there last night. And we did serve wine and sparkling cider and some finger food, and although we weren’t overwhelmed with visitors, we proceeded to have a great time. These are REAL works of art, about 2/3’s of which are 3-dimensional: all about sustainability and making artistic use of things that others seem to have no purpose for…You really should come and check us out…For all of you that were disappointed, I am truly sorry to hear that. I was under the wrong impression, apparently, that the Art Walk was only once a month…Personally, I think that would be best. And why couldn’t I get a comprehensive map off the site here? Maybe that was my fault. Suffice it to say, alot of work and love and energy went into our exhibit, and I think that to do this once a week is overkill, and somehow cheapens the event. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to see the other exhibits since we were all showing our works at the same time, and I needed to be on hand to answer questions, etc., about my creations. It sort of ended up that us artists got a big kick out each other, and although we didn’t sell anything (too bad…) it was worth it to us to be there and to be available to all who came by. We will be at the gallery until the 23rd of this month, so if you missed out on seeing our one-of-a-kind show, I highly encourage you to stop in and see what we have to offer before we have to close up shop.

    Thu, September 8 at 8:44 pm
  8. Kristin said,

    To clarify, the Art Walk is on the first Wednesday of the month – once a month. I like the live music, but have felt a little awkward about going into cages and salons to browse at the art when no one else is browsing.

    Thu, September 8 at 10:20 pm
  9. WaltZ said,

    I’ve got to say though, Dandelion Salon does do it right – there’s always been wine and snacks when I go there, and the art is interesting. It’s a nice space too. Just sayin.

    But I agree with many of these comments. Most of the places feel like a promotion now and there’s not a lot of energy put into it – either from the businesses and the patrons (I’m a bit burned out as well).

    Thu, September 8 at 10:58 pm
  10. sew said,

    interesting re DS. I felt unsettled when I went in for hair cutting prices a year ago and was informed so vehemently that their 70.00 hair cuts with style etc.. were the least expensive option because ti was sooo worth it!

    Fri, September 9 at 7:21 am
  11. Eric said,

    My 2 bits- move it to the third or fourth Friday of each month, and have a center of operations with food and drink, ideally in the Wallingford Center. I think that is what separates us from the hugely successful Phinney art walk. Phinney is on the second Friday of the month, they have the PNA as a center of operations, and they attract droves of people (the sidewalks are clogged with people).

    I can’t imagine a worse day to have the art walk than the first Wednesday of the month. There’s the conflicts with the community council meeting and the farmers market, plus it’s the middle of the work week and people are not available to wander about looking at art. I’m very admiring of the people who are sticking with this and continuing to try and make it work, but they need to change the date.

    Fri, September 9 at 8:48 am
  12. Nancy M said,

    As an exhibiting artist/participant, I understand having longer – quarterly – exhibitions instead of the old change-monthly model. That said, if artwalkers grouped up at the outset and headed into several venues together where the artists were sure to be there to talk about their work and watch a piece or two sell (check with individual venues prior). . . it might be more fun for everyone. Or arrange for a time most convenient for all and create your own gathering that includes an artist of interest in a less-crowded and more conversation-fostering atmosphere.

    Blue Law strategy: BYOB (airplane container size) and an opaque container and mix with the no-test beverages galleries and businesses can legally serve (how that issue is navigated at several local music camps), or patronize a local bar/restaurant en route; hop on the bus if your walk ends up being longer than anticipated.

    The next Wallingford ArtWalk is Wednesday, October 5 . . .

    Fri, September 9 at 8:53 am
  13. Chris W. said,

    I loved the art walk in my neighborhood in another down. They shut down a few lanes of traffic, put up tents for food vendors & live music, and all the art/artists were within a 4 block radius, outdoors. THAT felt like an Art Walk. The businesses behind the tents/vendors opened their doors too & people walked in and out, but the art itself was not placed on walls in commercial establishments (other than a few galleries). I liked that atmosphere a lot & attended often.

    Fri, September 9 at 11:38 am
  14. DOUG. said,

    Gasworks Gallery is the best art gallery in Wallingford, yet is not part of the Wallingford Art Walk.

    Sun, September 11 at 8:39 pm
  15. Joe said,

    Speaking as a former employee of a business that hosted artists during art walks, it was very unclear how we needed to present the artwork. We were not told anything about the artists, we did not know what to say about the art, and occasionally it was unclear what the art was. I worked during at least nine art walks, and still have a very undefined idea about what they are.

    Wed, September 21 at 1:05 am
  16. colleen said,

    The Art Walk committee is meeting tonight and will address all comments. If you like to help meet us at Chocolati at 6:30

    Thu, September 22 at 5:54 pm
  17. colleen said,

    By the way it’s against the law to serve wine or any other spirit at any Art Walk in Seattle. A 19 year old got a DUI leaving the Pioneer Sq. Art Walk last year.

    Thu, September 22 at 5:58 pm
  18. Eric said,

    Thanks for doing this Colleen, sorry I can’t make it.

    Thu, September 22 at 6:21 pm
  19. zero said,

    many businesses who did partake in artwalk, showed the same artist over and over and were antisocial about showing artists from another zipcode!
    -free alcohol was the main draw at some businesses, not the artwork.
    -many businesses were not showing the art for the sake of the artist, promoting their work so that they may continue to be an artist.
    -one particular business, which isnt in business any more, had been selling works by local makers and not paying them or informing them of their demise.
    -one or two businesses bad mouthing out in public of artists’works and other business owners.
    –but, artwalk should stay alive– for the sake of the holidays and artists’ livelihoods
    -MAKE the Artwalk the same day as the FREMONT artwalk, cuz they REALLY do GREAT advertising, and there’s more people out looking for art to purchase, not a nother window shopper…
    thats all. the most successfull neighborhood artwalk is West Seattle.

    Sun, October 9 at 8:30 pm
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