Other Events

  • What Lies ‘Within’: Clever creations fill SPSCC postcard show
    The Leonor R. Fuller Gallery at The Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College features 13th edition of their annual creative postcard show.
  • Visit Community Print During Artswalk
    by Molly Walsh Each year, Fall Arts Walk lights up Olympia’s downtown corridors, drawing thousands of people to shops, street attractions and to organizations that call downtown Olympia home. And amongst displays of paintings, music and theater performances, the exhibition from Community Print is slated to include more introspective themes, reflecting on local history, while …

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  • Airbound Arts
    by James O’Barr If you want to learn airborne arts, there are a number of skydiving venues around the state, or you can join the Army and go to the Jump School at Fort Benning, Georgia. But if it’s aerial skills and circus arts instruction you want, then you need go no further than downtown …

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  • Sandra Bocas and Toni Lawrence Fine Art Show (with a side of Hot Babe Hotsauce)
    by Lynette Charters Serembe Sandra Bocas has traveled extensively and lived in many different parts of the world from her country of birth, Venezuela, to Trinidad, where she moved to at the age of five and where her family lives.  She went to boarding school in Wales in the UK, moved to and worked in …

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  • Danse Macabre
    by Christian Carvajal “Those who dream by day,” wrote Edgar Allan Poe, “are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” If that’s true, we all have much to learn from the inveterate daydreamers of Theater Artists Olympia. TAO normally performs in a Capital Mall storefront a few doors down the …

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  • OLY ARTS Is Now Non-Profit!
    For release: August 22, 2023 OLY ARTS, the eight-year-old multiplatform publication focused on arts and cultural events in the South Sound, is excited to announce a transition to non-profit status, with federal 501(c)(3) tax exemption and certification by the State of Washington. The publication will still be based in Olympia but will now expand coverage …

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  • Arts Walk Cover Artist Jennifer Kuhns Has Come a Long Way
    by Molly Gilmore Spring Arts Walk cover artist Jennifer Kuhns has been there before — and she’s come a long way. Kuhns, well known for her glass mosaics, first had her work on the cover of the Arts Walk map back in spring 2007. This fall, she’s done it again with Olympia Reflections, an intricately …

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  • CaTMA Gallery’s Group Exhibition Explores Intimate Conversation Through a Unique Creative Process
    by Molly Walsh Described as a “response to the concept of intimate conversation,” CaTMA (Contemporary and Transmodern Arts) Gallery’s group exhibition, Pillow Talk, will explore this theme not only through paintings on display, but also through elements of mystery that shroud the creative process. And few in the public will know all that is contained …

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  • Our Cover Artist Mikaela Shafer — Recent and Past Work
    by Lynette Charters Serembe Mikaela Shafer is our OLY ARTS cover artist. Her beautiful and meaningful artworks will be showing recent and past works at Dog Bog Studios with her studio companions Daniel Overstreet and David Overstreet, also other Knitting Mills artists J. Hukee, Evan Clayton Horback and the ACE program artists, and guest artists …

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  • Fall Again – Arts and Entertainment
    by Alec Clayton Fall is a time for rebirth, for rejuvenation, especially when coming in the wake of a scorching dry summer and a pandemic that refuses to go away. Children return to school, and there will be football — Friday Night Lights at area high schools and U-Dub and Seahawks on the telly. Fall …

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  • Your Guide to Capital Lakefair!
    by Lakefair President Karen Adams-Griggs Welcome! I have the honor of representing Capital Lakefair as the 2023 President. I look forward to celebrating our community, and our theme this year is “Rooted in Tradition.” I grew up in the Olympia area, and have been a part of Lakefair my whole life. It has always been …

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  • Review: Falsettos at Harlequin
    Falsettos at Harlequin is a sung-through musical. It begins light-hearted and quirky, and soon becomes deadly serious.
  • Winners of the 2023 Washington Center Arts Awards
    Comedian Gabriel Rutledge and Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia founders Greg and Krina Allison are winners of The Washington Center for the Arts’ annual arts awards, and will be honored on June 29.
  • Capital City Pride: Embracing Sustainability, Diversity and Community Growth
    Capital City Pride 2023 – Embracing Sustainability, Diversity and Community Growth – invites individuals from all walks of life to gather at the Tivoli Fountain on the Capitol Campus at 9 a.m. July 1 for a day of solidarity and positive protest.
  • Entertainment Center
    “We’re going back to cabaret style. … There’s something about the community feel,” Center Salon organizer Bryan Willis explains. “You’re talking with other people at your table. … There’s just more rapport (between) the actors and the audience.”
  • A Closer Look at Some of the Olympia Nonprofits Participating in Spring Arts Walk
    Through participation in the spring Arts Walk, many Olympia nonprofits are opening their doors for attendees to explore unique exhibitions, displays and interactive activities.
  • The Art of Sound and Motion
    Dozens of performers promise to dazzle Olympians from stations all over the city’s downtown core during Arts Walk Spring 2023.
  • Arts Walk 2023 Film and Dance
    Indicative of the vast art and entertainment to be found at Arts Walk, check out the OlyFilm and OlyAct film demo where You’re the Star!
  • Arts Walk is Back
    Arts Walk is back! Covid never completely defeated Olympia’s Arts Walk, but this year it returns, full-blown — Arts Walk number 66. Artists and art lovers will swarm downtown Olympia, and shops, restaurants and businesses of all types will host artists and entertainers April 28-29.
  • The Armory Creative Campus: An Inclusive Collaborative Space for the Olympia Arts Community
    Olympia begins planning of city arts space.
  • REVIEW: 2022 Juried Show at South Puget Sound Community College
    By Alec Clayton A sense of joy washes over viewers as they enter the Southwest Washington Regional Juried Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery. Brightly colored paintings on suspended panels over the highly reflective black floors intensify the beauty of the space. Mostly paintings and a few sculptures in a …

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  • Washington Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2022 – 2023 Season
    By Molly Gilmore The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2022-2023 season marks both a return to pre-pandemic norms — it’s the first full season with subscription plans since theaters closed in March 2020 — and a fresh start. When the season launches Nov. 4 with “Stunt Dog Experience,” the center will have a new …

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  • A Proposition to Aid Olympia’s Art and Nonprofit Community
    By Molly Walsh Olympia’s art and nonprofit communities are banding together in support of a new ballot measure that could have a profound effect on art, culture, science and heritage programming within the city. If voted into law, Proposition 1 would increase sales taxes within the City of Olympia by a tenth of a percent …

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  • Olympia Artists Unite to Support Ukraine
    By Molly Walsh At 5 a.m. Eastern European Time, Olympia resident Hanna Ilchenko turned on the news. She couldn’t believe the events unfolding onscreen: Russia had launched a full-scale invasion on her home country of Ukraine. Initially, Ilchenko said the reports emerging of explosions and invading forces were difficult to process. “I couldn’t believe in …

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  • REVIEW: Murder for Two at Harlequin Productions
    Strap in for Murder for Two at Harlequin Productions, 90 minutes of mayhem and laughter — not to mention singing and a lot of amazing hijinks on the piano. Two actors, Jon Lutyens and Katherine Strohmaier, play more than 13 characters in a tour-de-force escapade for both.
  • The World Returns to Lacey’s Cultural Celebration
    Lacey’s Cultural Celebration returns to Saint Martin’s University this month after two years found solely online.
  • REVIEW: Black Love: Community Building Through Mentorship
    Five experienced artists have been asked to mentor younger artists and exhibit their own work alongside works by the artists they’ve mentored. The resulting exhibition, Black Love, is currently on display at SPSCC’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery.
  • Fully Vaxxed at Olympia Family Theater
    Olympia Family Theater’s Fully Vaxxed, opening March 18, is much more than a theatrical production. The trio of bilingual, one-act plays — which will tour throughout the state and be available for streaming — is part of a public health campaign harnessing the power of art to inspire people to get vaccinated.
  • REVIEW: Clue at Olympia Little Theatre
    By Alec Clayton Nobody, neither the audience nor any guest at Boddy Manor, has a clue who killed whom. Perhaps more accurately, everybody has a clue, but they’re all wrong. Based on the 1985 movie with an all-star cast including Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn and Michael McKean, with a setup based on the popular board …

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  • Olympia YWCA to Celebrate 2022 Womxn of Achievement
    By Alec Clayton Ti’eri Lino and Elizabeth Satiacum will be honored February 19 as Womxn of Achievement in the 27th-annual event at Olympia’s YWCA. Lino is the program director for homeless services for Interfaith Works. She strives to ensure our most vulnerable, marginalized neighbors have a place of shelter, safety and acceptance. Along with securing …

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  • 2022 Powerful Advocate Award Presented to Washington Workforce Association’s Marie Kurose
    By Molly Gilmore Marie Kurose, chief executive officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, has won the Washington Workforce Association’s Powerful Advocate Award, the association’s 2021 chair recognition award. “Since Marie began her tenure as the Seattle-King Workforce Development Council CEO, she has shared the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Tiffany …

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  • The Big-Little Show: Evan Horback and Jimmy Ulvenes at Bar Francis
    By Alec Clayton There’s a new, big-little art exhibit in a tiny coffee shop. It’s Evan Horback and Jimmy Ulvenes at Bar Francis. Local art lovers will remember Horback from his big gorgeous show at Salon Refu (Now LGM Studio) almost a decade ago. Not long after, he moved away from Olympia, but now he’s …

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  • Ensemble Mik Nawooj: A Contemporary Renaissance
    As rap music continues to evolve and diversify, it only makes sense that talented artists raised on hip hop and armed with music degrees seek to sample from the greatest discoveries of every musical era. That’s absolutely the case with Ensemble Mik Nawooj, the hip-hop orchestra coming soon to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
  • COVID-19 Forces Delays for Harlequin Productions; Others May Follow
    Harlequin Productions appears to be the first theater in Western Washington to implement COVID cancellations in 2022 – a move that other organizations may soon follow.
  • Experience Oly on Ice This Holiday Season
    Oly on Ice, the portable ice-skating rink in that location every year about this time, is a joint venture of the City of Olympia and Ice Rink Events. It runs through Jan. 17, 2022.
  • REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at Harlequin Productions
    By Alec Clayton Following decades of the popular Stardust shows at Harlequin Productions, the company embarks on a new holiday tradition with a production of A Christmas Carol adapted and directed by Aaron Lamb, who is also in the cast. “The great majority of the text is directly from the page,” Lamb says. “We’re as …

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  • Fridays at the First: Advent Concerts Celebrate the Season
    By Molly Gilmore Jazz musicians are playing and swinging and getting merry like Christmas this month at Olympia’s First Christian Church. Fridays at the First, the church’s annual series of free noontime Advent concerts, continues through Dec. 17, offering a mix of tunes including a few seasonal ones. “Liturgically, Advent is a time of waiting,” …

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  • REVIEW: Childhood’s End 50th-Anniversary Exhibition, Part 2
    By Alec Clayton For half a century, Childhood’s End Gallery has been Olympia’s paramount art gallery. Bill and Richenda Richardson opened the gallery and gift shop in 1971. Since then, they’ve introduced many of the region’s best painters, sculptors and craftspersons to our town. Today, they continue to display works, not only by outstanding local …

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  • A Downstairs Christmas at Pemberley
    In OLT’s “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley,” Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are hosting a Christmas party. That creates endless work for the servants downstairs, but the real hitch is the impending arrival of Mr. Darcy’s sworn enemy, Mr. Wickham.
  • REVIEW: Until the Flood: Brutal, Angry, Heartbreaking, Astonishing
    By Alec Clayton Content warning: This article includes language directly quoted from the performance that some readers may find disturbing. Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood — now playing at Harlequin Productions, in repertory with Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill — is brutal, angry, heartbreaking …

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  • Olympia Family Theater Welcomes New Artistic Director Lily Raabe
    By Molly Gilmore Lily Raabe, Olympia Family Theater’s new artistic director, loves fantasy, adventure — and community. The company plans to resume producing shows in the spring; meanwhile, Raabe is focused on connecting with and learning about the people who surround and support the theater. She’ll host a series of online and in-person meetings beginning …

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  • A Virtual Campfire With Wild Grief
    By Alec Clayton Local nonprofit Wild Grief invites the community to gather around a virtual campfire on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Wild Grief uses peer support and the healing power of nature to help people work through the feeling their grief is too heavy to endure. “By offering free, outdoor …

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  • REVIEW: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
    By Alec Clayton Billie Holiday was the heart and soul of jazz from the 1930s through the 1950s. She put that period’s violent racism front and center in some of her songs — undeniably and often uncomfortably, as demonstrated by her signature song’s effect on audiences. “Strange Fruit” is Abel Meeropol’s heartbreaking and powerful ballad …

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  • A Wild Hunt for Christmas
    By Christian Carvajal As far back as the heyday of Norse mythology, northern Europeans have cherished and embellished the legend of the Wild Hunt. In some versions, Odin or one of his chief minions led a party of the dead on a rampage through nighttime woods. The legend inspired creations from a Liszt étude to …

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  • REVIEW: Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical
    By Alec Clayton Harlequin Productions’ Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical is much more than a musical revue. Yes, Meg McLynn as Clooney performs all the legendary singer’s greatest hits — “Hey There,” “Tenderly,” “Sisters,” “Come On-a My House” and more, often in unexpected ways — and costar Bruce Haasl as “The Doctor” sings as exquisitely as Harlequin …

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  • Three Plays in Repertory at Olympia’s Harlequin Productions
    By Alec Clayton Opening a new theatrical season after almost two years of being closed, Harlequin Productions is trying something it’s never before attempted: three plays in repertory, with overlapping schedules and each play to open one week apart and run concurrently for five weeks each.  Marketing and communications director — and frequent Harlequin actor …

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  • “Decades” at The Washington Center Gallery
    by Alec Clayton Tom Anderson is an iconic presence on Olympia’s art scene. The Park of the Seven Oaks by the roundabout on Harrison Avenue — That’s a Tom Anderson creation. The large, metal art pieces that fill the walls in the emergency room and chapel at Providence St. Peter Hospital — Those are also …

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  • Olympia Arts Walk Returns This Fall
    By Molly Gilmore 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 …

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  • Ensemble of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture at SPSCC Faculty & Staff Exhibition
    by Alec Clayton This year’s annual faculty and staff exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College is an eclectic mix of drawing, painting, sculpture and hybrids of those. It is work that is conceptually complex while maintaining aesthetic joy by artists who are more than talented — They are intelligent and in touch with the …

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  • Matthew Melendez: the Great Director at Great Bend Creating Unity Through Song
    By Molly Gilmore Matthew Melendez, executive director of the Great Bend Center for Music in Union, is best known as a celebrated choral conductor. The center’s Great Bend Chorale, which is open to everyone with no audition required, has performed at Carnegie Hall and taken second place in a prestigious national competition. But what Melendez …

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  • The Theater That Refused to Die
    By Alec Clayton From Reefer Madness and Cannibal the Musical to lots and lots of Shakespeare, and performing in such diverse spaces as Olympia Little Theatre, the basement of the Elks Hall and the Midnight Sun in downtown Olympia, Theater Artists Olympia had its genesis in the early 2000s; and every time it looks like …

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  • Olympia Artist Continues Outdoor “Places” Installation This September
    By Alec Clayton OLY ARTS readers and art lovers throughout the Olympia area will remember Kathy Gore Fuss’s floral installation “A Place to Mourn.” Beginning Sept. 6, Gore Fuss will have another floral installation in place entitled “A Place to Reflect.” As with her first such installation, this one will be a place of beauty, …

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  • Artistic Director Jen Ryle Says Goodbye to Olympia Family Theater
    By Molly Gilmore There’s change coming to Olympia Family Theater: Though she’s as passionate as ever about children’s theater, co-founder Jen Ryle is stepping down from her role as artistic director to create space for new leadership. She’s involved with the search for her successor and will stay on to work with the new hire …

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  • The Washington Center Announces 2021-2022 In-Person Season
    By Molly Gilmore There’s big news for Olympia’s arts lovers: Though COVID-19 continues to require theaters to be prepared for all possibilities, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has unveiled a 2021-2022 season. The season, kicking off Sept 16, offers music, comedy, theater and even performing dogs. “I’m just so excited to have people …

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  • Local Author Teams up With Puppeteer Troupe for One-Night Outdoor Performance
    By Alec Clayton Update August 23, 2021: “Moss Covered Claws Live!” has been rescheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Sept 12. More details are below. A one-of-a-kind literary and performance event is happening one night only in Lions Park in the Eastside Olympia nieghborhood. Blue Cactus Press is set to present Olympia author Jonah …

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  • The Kinsey Collection: Celebrating Artistic Contributions of Black Americans
    By Alec Clayton Art lovers from Olympia to Portland to Seattle should travel to Tacoma Art Museum and see an historically important and one-of-a-kind collection of African American art and historic artifacts in The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection. The collection fills two of the Museum’s galleries, including more than 150 objects including …

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  • REVIEW: 2021 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition
    By Alec Clayton Guest juror Aisha Harrison chose a wide variety of art for the 2021 Southwest Washington Juried Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College: paintings, sculpture, textiles in many styles and wide-ranging content. It is great to see this show returning for in-person viewing, albeit at 50 percent capacity. Indicative of the eclectic …

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  • String and Shadow’s Fantastic Fauna Comes to Life at Lions Park
    By Molly Gilmore Near the big cherry tree in Lions Park, there are new trees and bushes — cardboard ones that look like illustrations from a storybook. Nestled against the park shelter, the foliage sets the scene for String and Shadow puppet theater’s Fauna Fantastique, a playful pageant running weekends through Aug. 1. Like the …

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  • Local Artists Celebrated at 2021 LoveOly Summerfest
    By Alec Clayton Artist Dave Sederberg who lit up the night for Winter Solstice with the astounding “Glowhenge” project is now at work with a group of local artists on an eight-week street-art project for the LoveOly Summerfest scheduled for eight Saturdays in July and August in downtown Olympia. Sederberg has pulled together a team …

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  • The Ultimate Summer Experience Is Here in Downtown Olympia
    Olympia Downtown Alliance partnered with SnowShoe, a Pacific Northwest customer loyalty company to launch the Go Downtown app, which turns downtown visits into a fun community game that supports local businesses.
  • The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Announces First Capital Campaign Since Creation
    By Molly Gilmore Open again after more than a year, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is embarking on an effort to make audiences and artists feel even more welcome. The not-for-profit theater is raising money to refresh and renew its public spaces. The project, set to be completed next summer, will include new …

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  • Thurston County Community Arts Organization Acquires Land to Build New Theater
    By Jonah Barrett Following the closure of Yelm’s Triad Theater in 2019, Thurston County’s community theaters were relegated to only Olympia. That will change soon with the opening of a new community theater just 30 minutes south of Washington’s capital. Tenino Young at Heart Theatre (TYT), the town’s oldest theater company, has recently acquired a …

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  • Harlequin Productions Announces 2021-22 In-Person Season
    By Molly Gilmore Audiences hungry for live theater will be treated to a bountiful buffet when Harlequin Productions reopens Oct. 22. Since Covid-19 brought “The Highest Tide” to an early end in March 2020, the company’s State Theater has “essentially been frozen in time,” artistic director Aaron Lamb said Saturday at the company’s virtual season …

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  • Ordinary Objects Transformed Into a Place to Mourn
    By Alec Clayton At a private residence in her Northeast Olympia neighborhood, artist Kathy Gore Fuss has transformed a carved stone into a memorial or place of worship, or “A Place to Mourn,” which she sees as a starting point for a series of floral memorials. “I have been thinking about this project ever since …

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  • ‘Hotel Olympian’ Playwright Among Those Celebrated with Heritage Awards
    By Alec Clayton The hour-long radio play “The Hotel Olympian 100th Anniversary Grand Gala Extravaganza,” by local playwright Bryan Willis, received a Heritage Award from the City of Olympia’s Heritage Commission in a celebration on May 20. Also celebrated with Heritage Awards were filmmaker Shane Anderson, Thurston County Historic Commission and Placemaker Alicia Elliott. Willis is …

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  • A Bright Future for Olympia’s Armory Building
    By Molly Gilmore Two months ago, the Olympia Armory underwent a creative transformation: The 1939 Art Deco building was illuminated with colored lights. Now, the armory is poised for a much bigger transformation — into an arts center, something that the City of Olympia and many in the community have been working toward for 30 …

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  • Sky Bear Media: Olympia’s Indigenous Film Company
    By Alec Clayton Olympia, the city of natural abundance, award-winning culture and celebrated diversity, is home to a video production that was founded by and is run by an indigenous filmmaker — Sky Bear Media. The company is housed in the Steamplant Building in the heart of downtown, described by company founder Jeff Barehand as …

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  • Native American Performers, Musicians, Storytellers Celebrated in Upcoming Ensemble
    By Molly Gilmore “Welcome to Indian Country,” which premieres Thursday, May 27, at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, is a song- and story-packed celebration of Native American life — and of the accomplishments of Native American performers. The show will tour across the country, but its genesis is right here: It’s produced and …

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  • Broadway Olympia Productions Previews West Olympia Black Box Space
    By Molly Gilmore Not far from the Century Olympia cinemas at Capital Mall is another theater: Broadway Olympia Productions’ new black box. The company showed off the improvements to the 2,500-square-foot space at an industry open house last week and plans to begin producing live entertainment there as soon as it’s safe to do so. …

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  • Local Artist Charters Path Which Gains Her International Recognition
    By Molly Gilmore A lifelong delight in art and a deep commitment to feminism have shaped of Lynette Charters’ way of seeing the world. Among the most recent recognitions of the Olympia painter’s talent: Two of her paintings will be included in Together, a national exhibition opening May 7 in Woodstock, Illinois. And she’s now …

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  • Four Artists Shine in 2021 Juror’s Invitational at Leonor R. Fuller Gallery
    By Alec Clayton Each year, award winners from South Puget Sound Community College’s juried exhibition are featured in the Juror’s Invitational. This year’s invited artists comprise a quartet of contrasting but equally excellent artists selected by juror June Sekiguchi. They are painters Marilyn Bedford and Hart James, sculptor Ron Hinton, and photographer John Korvell. Bedford …

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  • Olympia Arts Month Featured Artist: Laurel Henn
    By Alec Clayton This year’s Spring Arts Month cover art will be “Fluttering,” a hand-painted relief block by Laurel Henn, depicting quilts on a clothesline. The artist says this image is dear to her because of her mother’s life-long work as a quilter. “Quilts are a source of comfort and a symbol of family heirlooms,” …

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  • Olympia Lamplighters: Supporting and Uplifting Local Artists With Dedicated Community Workspace
    By Molly Walsh Nestled between the streetlights and tree lines of Olympia’s downtown, an innovative creative space is working to support and uplift local artists. Like a lantern illuminating a shaded walkway, the Olympia Lamplighters invites both visual and performing artists to compose, create and collaborate under one roof. Beyond the picture windows, the Lamplighters …

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  • College Music Department Reflects on Events of 2020 Through ‘Musical Encounters’
    By Molly Walsh Throughout this past year, many Americans have faced an uncertain future, continuing to wrestle with feelings of isolation, a need for social justice and a longing for connection. And for many musicians, this isolation has been compounded by empty theater seats and rehearsals restricted to a computer screen. Drawing from the experience …

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  • The Dynamic Duo That Is Lynette Charters Serembe and John Serembe
    By Alec Clayton Coming to Olympia from New York and England by way of Hollywood, John Serembe and Lynette Charters Serembe have built a life that is wrapped up in art and family and community. John is an actor and a graphic artist, greatly admired for his performances with Harlequin Productions, Theater Artists Olympia, Animal …

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  • After 40 Years in Olympia, Future Is Uncertain for The Artists’ Gallery
    By Molly Gilmore Although it’s a large space with big windows, The Artists’ Gallery in west Olympia is easy to overlook. It’s at the mall, but not in the mall, nestled in between Italia Pizzeria and Massage Envy in the Capital Mall Promenade. And over the past year, the cooperative gallery — featuring a wide …

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  • Picturing the Pandemic at Childhood’s End
    by Alec Clayton Despite the horrors depicted in her latest artworks — devastating fires, a murderous pandemic and the final year of the Trump administration — there is hope and sweetness, irony and humor in Marilyn Frasca’s art. She and four other local artists were asked to show works created over the past year in …

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  • Olympia Gears Up for Arts Month This April
    By Molly Gilmore Remember when Arts Walk, Olympia’s twice-yearly celebration of creations and community, filled the downtown shops and streets with performances, paintings and people? For the second year in a row, Arts Walk as it used to be is on hold. Even with the state poised to enter Phase 3 of the recovery plan, …

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  • Reptiles, Fairies and Gremlins, Oh My! Local Author Releases PNW Horror Collection
    By Molly Gilmore Jonah Barrett wouldn’t be insulted if anyone said their first book was monstrous. That’s because Barrett’s short-story collection “Moss Covered Claws,” dropping March 18, is all about monsters. Barrett of Olympia, a filmmaker, fantasy writer and OLY ARTS contributor, is launching the book with an online reading and talk at 7 p.m. …

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  • Visual Artists Bring Us “Closer” at the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery
    By Alec Clayton “It’s fabulous to be Black – celebrate it. It’s fabulous to be any color under the sun – again celebrate it. That’s what brings back dignity to each human being.” This was written by artist Sandra Bocas for the occasion of her inclusion of the exhibition “Closer” at the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery at South Puget Sound Community College. …

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  • Goldfinch Productions to Offer Historic Anti Racist Radio Play
    By Alec Clayton This is monumental — historic — a first for Olympia. Goldfinch Productions and KGY Radio will present “Rachel” by Angelina Weld Grimké, performed as a radio play. “Rachel” is the first play written by an African American and featuring an all-Black cast. First performed in 1920 at Myrtilla Miner Normal School (a …

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  • Olympia Searches for New Poet Laureate
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Poet laureates have a unique job of melding the ethereal magical art of poetry with the very real struggle of the world around them, the one we all inhabit. By definition, a poet laureate is “a poet appointed to, or regarded unofficially as holding, an honorary representative position in a particular …

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  • Date Set for Olympia YWCA’s Womxn of Achievement
    By Molly Gilmore The Olympia YWCA’s 2021 Womxn of Achievement awards honor three women working for racial justice. The awards ceremony and celebration, happening online Feb. 19, will also spotlight a national leader in the fight for racial equality: activist/author Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been nominated for …

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  • Olympia’s Glowhenge Lights Up the Dark
    By Alec Clayton On the night after winter solstice when our days were the shortest and our nights the darkest, nine glowing monoliths in florescent colors appeared on the grassy mound beside the lake at Heritage Park and lit up the blackness of night with the lighted dome of the State Capitol in the background. …

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  • Percival Plinth Peoples’ Prize Presented to Local Artist With Powerful Personal Perspective
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Recently, local artist Nancy Thorne-Chambers won the 2020 Peoples’ Prize Winner for the Percival Plinth Project for her work Girl Reading in a Story Place. Oly Arts hosted an interview with the artist about the sculpture and recent win. This article is a highlight of the interview and showcase for the …

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  • Lacey’s Goldfinch Productions Announces 2021 Season
    By Molly Gilmore At a time when the pandemic has made many theater companies hesitant even to make plans, South Sound’s Goldfinch Productions is ready for takeoff on its 2021 season. The plucky nonprofit, founded in 2018 with the goal of opening a theater and studio in Lacey, will produce a half-dozen audio plays, with …

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  • Hotel Olympian 100th Anniversary Grand Gala Extravaganza: A Radio Project
    By Alec Clayton Subtitled “A Community Comes Together,” the “Hotel Olympian 100th Anniversary Grand Gala Extravaganza” is a recreation of the gala opening celebration of the downtown Hotel Olympian in June 1920. The project is spearheaded by playwright Bryan Willis, founder of the Northwest Playwright Alliance and directed by Deane Shellman, with an all-star cast of …

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  • Harlequin Offers Two Streaming Productions of A Christmas Carol
    By Molly Gilmore When Harlequin Productions announced its 2020 season, “A Christmas Carol” was slated to be the holiday show. Since then, of course, virtually every plan — in the theatrical world and in the world at the large — has changed. But Harlequin is, despite it all, mounting a production of “A Christmas Carol.” …

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  • Finding a Sense of Belonging Through Writing Communities
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Artist communities have been around since artists have been creating. It is what keeps many artists going through the rough patches in their craft or career. Take the Harlem Writers Guild for example — the longest running forum for Black writers aimed at helping them develop their craft to the point …

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  • Olympia Gets Ready for the Holidays
    By Molly Gilmore Though plans for in-person film screenings have been postponed, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is still getting into the spirit of the season. It’s what Jill Barnes, the center’s indefatigable executive director, calls “Operation Holiday Cheer.” The center had planned to reopen Thanksgiving weekend as a movie theater, showing Christmastime …

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  • Jonah Barrett and the Race to Debut Moss Covered Claws
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Every writer, and possibly every creator, knows the stress and joy of having a debut work premier. Tireless work is spent on the project in hopes that a personal vision of the world will resonate with at least one person. In a way, it is an attempt to spark in someone …

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  • Local Arts Supply Store Seeking New Owner
    By Abigail Mandlin In these times of shut-downs and lockdowns, quarantine and isolation, we need art now more than ever to sustain us, to keep us sane. Robin Williams said it best when playing beloved high school English teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society: “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain …

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  • Ballet Northwest Updates Classic Nutcracker for the Age of Coronavirus
    By Molly Gilmore Update Nov. 24: “The Nutcracker” dates, times and locations have changed since the original release of this story. Updated information is below the article. Despite COVID-19, Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker,” a South Sound holiday tradition for 35 years, is on for the holidays, but the company’s 2020 edition of the Tchaikovsky classic — …

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  • pARTners: A Collaborative Exhibit at Childhood’s End Gallery
    By Alec Clayton The “pARTners” exhibition at Childhood’s End Gallery showcases works by three artist couples who live and work together: papercut artist Nikki McClure and her partner, fine woodworker Jay T Scott; steel and ceramic sculptors Robin and John Gumaelious; and mixed-media painters Chuck Gumpert and Christopher Mathie. The show includes both collaborative and …

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  • YWCA to Present the 26th Annual Womxn of Achievement
    By Molly Gilmore The Olympia YWCA’s 2020 Womxn of Achievement awards honor three women working for racial justice. The awards ceremony and celebration will also spotlight a national leader in the fight for racial equality: activist/author Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People …

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  • Good Trouble at Olympia Family Theater
    By Alec Clayton Olympia Family Theater education director Claribel Gross says, “We miss being in the theater and sharing live experiences. We are excited to find a variety of ways to still connect with our community.” One of those ways to connect is with the audio play “Good Trouble,” a pop-up performance experience produced by Blindspot collective …

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  • Op-Ed: Black and White
    By Anna Schlecht In early July, I first saw one of the Little Brothers statues at twilight while driving across the Isthmus. My eyes were sweeping back and forth from the harbor to the Heritage Fountain in the fading light. Suddenly my eyes fixed on the small statue of the child near the fountain because it looked somehow different. Then …

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  • An Oasis of Sound: Partnership Between Olympia Symphony Orchestra and Emerald City Music Aims to Bring Peace to Local Homes
    By Aigner Loren Wilson Music fans in the area are familiar with two of the bigger names in the music scene: Olympia Symphony Orchestra (OSO) and Emerald City Music (ECM). Both groups have a long history of bringing music to the community and supporting each other’s missions to do so. This year, the two organizations …

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  • Enchanting and Lyrical: Timberland Library’s Story Trail Winds Through Olympia
    By Alec Clayton Olympia Timberland Library’s Story Trail in Decatur Woods Park and other Olympia area locations extends beyond the month.  Story Trail is a deconstructed picture book that children and their guardians can read one page at a time as they walk the trails through the woods. The featured title in Decatur Woods Park …

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  • City of Olympia Announces Arts Month Innovation Awardees
    By Molly Gilmore Literary walks, a livestreamed concert and a show of work by Black artists are among the winners of Olympia’s Arts Month Innovation awards. The city began giving the awards last year to honor projects that stood out in their efforts to encourage community connection and involvement with the arts.  “We wanted to …

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