10 Must-Visit Art Galleries In Seattle's Hip Quarter Of Capitol Hill
A wealth of amazing art is waiting to be explored in the vibrant Seattle neighbourhood of Capitol Hill. In addition to the monthly art walk, in which a variety of businesses participate, there are also multiple galleries, hybrid galleries, educational institutions, and museums showcasing a diverse collection of contemporary art. We take a look at some of the best galleries in which to experience the Seattle art scene.
Housed in a 1933 Art Deco building nestled within Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood, the Asian Art Museum is a part of the Seattle Art Museum. Representing a host of Asian countries, including Japan, China, and India to name a few, the museum features both traditional art and contemporary art in a variety of media. Past exhibitions have included contemporary artists, such as Baua Devi, who specialises in Madhubani paintings. An upcoming show, Live On: Mr’s Japanese Pop-Art, focuses on the renowned Japanese artist Mr. and his colourful works that often explore traumatic themes.
Opened in 1952 on First Hill, the Frye Museum is best known for its collection of late-19th and early-20th century art, bequeathed by Charles and Emma Frye. Proponents of buying art directly from artists, the museum honours its benefactors by contributing to its contemporary collection as well as building upon its original collection. In addition to its Foundling Collection with complementary artworks, contemporary art exhibitions highlighting international and local artists are also featured throughout the year.
Located on Capitol Hill, Gage Academy of Art provides a variety of art classes to both young people and adults looking to explore their creative side. Striving to provide ‘classical training for contemporary artists,’ this school also houses three galleries — The Entry, Rosen and Steele (a traditional white box gallery) — with one on each floor. Showcasing 20 exhibitions each year, featuring artworks by students, alumni, plus staff, they also highlight regional artists. Spectators can view a host of incredible art at any given time, including drawings, paintings, and sculptures, representing figurative, abstract and still-life works.
Nestled inside the courtyard of an apartment complex in Capitol Hill, Ghost Gallery is a unique space featuring art alongside vintage items and handcrafted jewellery. Starting out as a ‘roving exhibition project’ in 2006, owner Laurie Kearney, an independent curator, opened a permanent location in 2010; however, she continues to do off-site exhibitions as well. Featuring a wide range of artists from locals to international, Kearney puts together several shows each year within her gallery and other spaces showcasing artists, such as local artist Uyen Tran-Gjerde who paints fictional portraits and New York-based painter Cory Benhatzel who creates ghost-like animals.
Established on Capitol Hill in 1995 — with another outlet in the historic Japantown — Kobo is a lovely artisan gallery with an emphasis on Japanese and Northwest fine crafts. Featuring an array of traditional and contemporary pieces, visitors will find many types of media represented including clay, fibre, wood and paper to name a few. Kobo showcases six exhibitions each year and represents many artists, including ceramic artist Haejin Lee, jewellery maker Iris Guy, Risa Salsberg – who works in mixed media – and Michael Zitka, a folk artist who creates bird sculptures out of wood and metal.
Established in the early 1980s, the Photo Center NW provides educational opportunities for budding photographers alongside those of a more advanced level, allowing them to grow and hone their skills. Having been in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood since 1997, this education centre also hosts many exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing internationally renowned artists – such as Graciela Iturbide, Elinor Carucci and Todd Hido – and often complement other shows taking place at Seattle museums. Past shows at PCNW included PCNW Presents, which highlighted 10 artists from emerging craftsmen to master painters. The show allowed these artists to showcase their work and offer it for sale, both in the gallery and online.
Located in the Madrona area, Prographica Gallery is a neighbourhood space that features contemporary drawings, paintings and photographs. Focusing on a wide range of artistry from emerging artists to those more established in their career, the gallery hosts exhibitions throughout the year that focus on a solo artist or a group show. Past exhibitions included works by Laura Hamje, whose abstract paintings of architecture hung alongside Anne Petty’s paintings of human figures packed full of emotion.
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Another Capitol Hill artistic venue, True Love Art Gallery is a unique space as people can visit to check out some amazing visual art, which highlights a variety of contemporary art in varying media, or to get an incredible piece of body art. A participant in the Capitol Hill BLITZ! Art Walk, this art venue opens each exhibition, which features a group of artists, with a spectacular opening party complete with DJs.
Established in 2007 by Diana Adams, Vermillion is a unique space with an art gallery in the front, plus a bar serving wine, beer and cocktails located in the back. Part of the Capitol Hill neighbourhood, this art venue hosts several art exhibitions throughout the year, all within a comfortable environment. Opening each exhibition to coincide with the monthly art walk, several art shows are presented each year and showcase a solo artist or group of talented individuals. Past highlights included TOUCH ME: I Am Violent in which guests could explore the artworks through touch and Arturo Artorez: Drawing Numbers, which featured both colourful and black-and-white drawings imbued with hints of varying art styles, including cubism and surrealism, all depicted on lottery tickets.