ArtWalk returns with expanded stops
April 28, 2009
By David Hayes
The eighth annual ArtWalk returns May 1 and the event that started with seven locations for people to view art and artists has grown to at least 25, with possibly more additions to come.
There’s also the award.“We were notified that the state Main Street Association is going to present to us an award for Outstanding Promotion in a Downtown,” organizer Michael Johnson said.
A delegation from the DownTown Issaquah Association travels to Vancouver, Wash., April 29 to pick up the award and should be back in time Friday to proudly display it for the kickoff event, he said.
He said he is excited the opportunity was presented to expand venue locations outside the downtown area.
“University House contacted me wanting to be a part of ArtWalk,” he said. “They have a phenomenal art curator. Plus, the Arts Commission wanted to get Gilman Village involved. With the University House online, that really helps out.”
The University House will provide free shuttle service to and from its location to Gilman Village and downtown. So far, Johnson has signed on Revolution art gallery as the first stop with a couple more businesses expressing interest in hosting a stop for the ArtWalk.
“So now, you can park at either Gilman Village or University House and take a free shuttle rather than trying to find hard-to-find parking in downtown,” Johnson said.
When he took on the task of kicking off the program, the city only had one art gallery in downtown.
“Our charter has always been to bring business to our businesses,” he said. “But at the time, with only one gallery, you couldn’t have an art walk with only one stop.”
So, he solicited downtown businesses to host additional stops. In return, they’d have the opportunity to turn visitors into customers.
The concept has taken off with as many as 2,000 participants in last year’s ArtWalk, Johnson said.
“I anticipate that number will increase this year as people search for free events to attend closer to home in today’s economic climate,” he said.
Over the years, he’s added live entertainment along the route to fill in the gaps for walkers in between venues. This year, entertainment includes performances by the Issaquah High School band, Craig Dye playing New Orleans blues and five student bands from the Kaleidoscope School of Music, to name a few.
“Charles McCrone, from Kaleidoscope, told me a couple of his student bands are really tight this year,” Johnson said.
New locations along the route have been added, including Sound Ballet next to Mills Music; Museo Art Academy, which just moved downtown from the plateau; Essential Details Holistic Skin, returning after a couple of years’ hiatus; and even Fischer Meats is getting involved.
“They will be offering free food samples, for those who get hungry walking up and down Front Street,” Johnson said.
Maps of all the venues and entertainment pit stops will be available the day of the ArtWalk.
If you go
First Friday of the month
May 1 through Sept. 4
Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.