Art walk hanging on as venues come and go
EVERETT - The Everett Art Walk is persevering as venues drop out from participating in the monthly walk.
For the downtown walk, art galleries, shops and restaurants stay open late the third Saturday of the month to encourage people to come look at local art for sale. The next art walk is Saturday, May 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. Some shops stay open later.
Lately, though, the art walk has been losing venues as businesses shut their doors.
Last year at this time, 27 venues were signed up. For the May 18 walk, 15 have signed up.
A victim to low turnout is the summertime outdoor portion of the art walk, which won’t be happening this year. The outdoor portion, held in a parking lot, wasn’t attracting repeat visitors, and rain discouraged other would-be visitors, outdoor manager Claudia Postema said.
Postema said she lost money last year organizing the outdoor expansion, and she had to kick out some of the vendors who were sneaking in non-local art from China.
The fluctuating number of venues is typical, said Josey Wise, who runs the art walk with her husband Marc. The Wises operate the gallery and framing shop WiseDesignz downtown.
“It’s up and down constantly. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” Josey Wise said.
Josey Wise said last week she’s hoping more venues sign up for the art walk. Three new venues signed up for this month’s walk, and more could sign up this week, she said.
But for every new venue, other regular venues close down, such as the gallery and coffee shop Blue Heart Art, the bar Balefire and the exotic meats restaurant Stuff What I Like. (Stuff What I Like is under new ownership and is now Cravin’ Cajun, which is participating in the art walk.)
“There’s enough core businesses participating each month” to give people places to go, Josey Wise said.
The art walk is finding new participants, such as We Do Art, an artists’ collaborative at 5612 Evergreen Way. More than 30 artists display their work at We Do Art.
While We Do Art is well south of downtown, the art walk has always had venues outside the downtown core, such as 3231 Creatives and Anabel’s Framing and Gallery, both on Broadway, and the now-shuttered Lowell Art Works gallery.
Acknowledging some venues require driving, “we use ‘art walk’ generously,” Josey Wise said.
We Do Art’s owner Beth Glass said the art walk is bringing in a big base of new customers. The shop signed up for the art walk in February, two months after it opened.
Many well-known local artists are part of We Do Art, which houses artists’ paintings, metalwork, crafts and lapidary jewelry.
This month for the art walk, Glass plans to have a wine tasting, farmers’ produce booths and live art demonstrations.
Most venues do something special for the art walk, such as offer food or drink specials at restaurants, live music or featured artists.
Glass believes the art walk can build upon itself through word-of-mouth. Coming from the cutthroat world of selling real estate, she’s been impressed with the community spirit of Everett’s arts scene.
“We all know if we all do it, word will get out,” Glass said.
Everybody’s trying, Josey Wise said. “There’s a lot of people who want art in town.”
Meanwhile, Postema said she’s talking with the city to try and revive an outdoor venue at the city’s downtown plaza near California and Wetmore avenues.
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