Arts Walk, Olympia’s twice-yearly celebration of community and creativity, is back to something like the event South Sound remembers, with a street closure at the center of the action. Washington Street between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way will be closed from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, to create space for children’s activities, street performers and people watching.
“We’ll have a giant light bright,” said Angel Nava of the City of Olympia’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “We’re bringing out our giant chess set and a pop-up skate park.” Also in the works: an opportunity to conduct musicians of the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia, outdoor pianos passers-by can play and a silent disco so people can dance together at a safe distance.
Masks are, of course, required indoors, regardless of vaccination status. And though the street closure will be the focal point, the city is also highlighting art happening throughout the Olympia area all month long. “Not everybody is ready to come to public spaces,” Nava told OLY ARTS. “Not everybody is ready to come out in a large crowd. We want to meet folks where they are.”
Much of the art being shown in galleries and other businesses will be up throughout the month, so those looking for more space can choose to visit at uncrowded times. “Decades,” a retrospective of the work of Tom Anderson at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, is on view through Nov. 5. The opening reception, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, is open only to vaccinated people and those with recent negative COVID test results.
Though the Arts Walk website is still evolving, word is out about a number of other shows and events that bring to mind highlights of Arts Walks past.
Exhibit A is a Heavy Metal Knitting Competition at Our Local Yarn Shop, 1912 State Ave. NE, Olympia. The competition challenges knitters and crocheters to combine fiber art and performance art as they rock out to the music of death-metal band Primordial Atrocity. The competition, the first of its kind in Olympia, will happen from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, outside the shop.
Also on tap for Saturday is an open house at the Olympia Armory, slated to be transferred to the city for use as a long-anticipated arts center. The Art Deco building at 515 Eastside St., Olympia, will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Consultants working on plans for use of the building as a creative campus will be on hand to talk with the community.
The Armory will remain in the spotlight after dark. Its exterior will glow with colored lights installed by Dave Sederberg of Pacific Stage, who also illuminated the building in March.
Arts Walk poster artist Chiyo Sanada, whose work combines traditional Japanese calligraphy with expressive colors and textures, will be demonstrating her art at Aikido Olympia, 506 Columbia St. SW, Olympia. Sanada, who turns calligraphy into performance art, will be there from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, and her work will be on display from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday as well.
Childhood’s End Gallery is kicking off its 50th anniversary celebration with a group art shows from Oct. 1 to Nov. 14. Among the artists in the spotlight at the gallery, 222 Fourth Ave. W., Olympia, are such well-known names as Anderson, Susan Christian, Marilyn Frasca and Mimi Williams.
Olympia Arts Walk
Throughout Olympia, with a downtown focus on Oct. 2