What’s the best way to address empty storefront space in downtown Olympia? Fill it with art. The Olympia Artspace Alliance (OAA) has proposed an ambitious new project to do just that.
Beginning this May, the alliance will set out to create a series of three temporary installations that will show local artists in vacant, downtown-Olympia spaces. As of this article’s printing, the first installation has tentatively been scheduled for mid-May at the former Ken Schoenfeld Furniture at Capitol Way and Fourth Avenue.
The project, named “Art in Olympia Storefronts,” is a concept that grew out of conversations between OAA, members of the Olympia City Council and the Olympia Downtown Alliance. It is based on similar projects in San Francisco, Seattle and Tacoma.
“Art in Olympia Storefronts will provide artists with short-term access to otherwise-empty commercial space,” said Kris Tucker, board chair for OAA. She went on to explain the benefits of the project, which include “providing quality exhibition opportunities for local artists and increasing public access to professional art.”
Olivia Burlingame, project coordinator for Art in Olympia Storefronts, stated the goal of the project was clear: “We want to draw people downtown.” She said an added benefit to the pop-up galleries will be “increased light-shed and a more welcoming downtown environment.”
Each temporary installation will begin through a juried proposal to ensure suitability and sustainability for each localtion. Then the selected pieces will be installed by the alliance and selected artist for six to eight weeks. “What that sounds like to me,” Burlingame said, “is Arts Walk all year.”
Pop-up art galleries
Three installations during 2019;
Spring, summer and fall