Christine Malek

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Gallery Boom, opening Oct. 1 in downtown Olympia, has come a long way.

Geographically, it’s moved only four miles from its first home in the Fred Meyer parking lot in Tumwater, where it began two years ago as part of the city’s business incubator program.

The big change: The gallery has grown to more than 20 times its former size. Owned by artist Christine Malek, Gallery Boom now occupies a 5,200-square-foot space that includes a main gallery, two rentable galleries, four pop-up shops and a classroom and is also home to AntiMatter Gallery, the successor to Matter Gallery, and palm reader Amelia Romoff.

Currently, Boom is home to about 30 artists, and Malek is looking for more.



How did Boom explode?

“Chutzpah mostly,” she said, laughing. “I would say a little bit of hubris and a lot of hope is really what it is.”

She answered a Craigslist ad, not expecting much, and discovered that the Kolb family, the building’s owners, really wanted artists in the space.

“I told them I could fill all 5,000 square feet with artists, but I don’t have any money,” she said. “We’re doing this on a shoestring.”

The space is still in progress, but Boom will host an Arts Walk show, and Malek plans a grand opening masquerade for Oct. 28.

She’s beyond excited to be downtown, where big wooden cutouts of the gallery’s signature bunnies, created by comic artist P. Calavara, have been attracting plenty of attention.

“There’s a lot of good buzz,” she said. “People love the bunnies.”

What: Gallery Boom grand opening masquerade

Where: Gallery Boom,
520 Adams St. SE, Olympia

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28

How much: free

Buy tickets: 360-584-9091 | Gallery Boom