The Top 10 Things Every Washington Art Lover Should Experience

Marcelina Morfin

Washington State is a hotspot for the arts. From cities to towns, the art scene is thriving and offers art lovers many experiences that should not be missed. Exploring beautiful areas that have inspired artists for years, discovering new artists while having a cup of coffee, or examining European art in a remote mansion, here are the top 10 unique adventures awaiting art lovers in Washington.

Bellevue Arts Museum

1. BAM ARTSfair


Crowd at Bumbershoot
© Chas Redmond/Flickr
Currently celebrating its 69th year, the Bellevue Arts Museum presents an impressive art and craft fair in downtown Bellevue each year. Known as BAM ARTSfair, the art festival draws in thousands of art lovers and showcases approximately 300 juried artists ready to share their creations with the world. From 2-D mixed media, ceramics, and photography, to paintings, sculptures and more, the genres represented are vast and varied. Fun for the entire family, the festival also features a KIDSfair, exhibitions and installations plus tasty edibles. BAM ARTSfair is also held in conjunction with two other arts fairs: Bellevue Festival of the Arts and the 6th Street Fair.

2. Dick & Jane's Spot

Art Gallery, Museum

Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner
© clpo13/Flickr
Located in Ellensburg in the heart of Central Washington, Dick and Jane’s Spot is a must-see for any lover of folk art. The brainchild of Jane Orleman and her late husband Richard C. Elliott, this impressive site features an eclectic array of sculptures, carvings, and other decorations, including over 10,000 bottle caps and thousands of reflectors. While Dick and Jane have created most of the artwork, the Spot also showcases works by other artists — over 40 — from around the region. A colorful display that will make anyone happy, the site is a private residence and yard, so visitors must respect the fences and stroll around outside of the fencing. Be sure to visit often as new pieces continue to be added.

3. La Conner


View of Maryhill Museum from the southeast
© Josh Partee/Courtesy of Maryhill Museum of Art
Situated between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia on the Swinomish Channel, La Conner is a beautiful historic waterfront village that attracts numerous art lovers each year. The area features an abundance of art providing guests with a feast for the eyes. An artist’s paradise, many individuals have been inspired by the village’s beautiful surroundings, where the light dances over both water and earth. Visit the town’s museums — the Museum of Northwest Art, and galleries, many of which can be found in restored historic buildings, to scope out the talent in the area. With the rising popularity of literary arts, performing arts and art festivals, La Conner is a true art lover’s haven.

4. Maryhill Museum of Art


Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
© Nick Bramhall/Flickr
Located in Southern Washington in Goldendale, Maryhill Museum of Art is a lovely gem of a museum located inside a three-story Beaux Art mansion. Founded by Sam Hill and opened to the public in 1940, the museum is impressive with an eclectic collection of art, which includes everything from Art Nouveau glass, paintings by American, British, Dutch, and French artists, Orthodox icons, and American Indian artifacts to name but a few. The museum also boasts a great selection of various works by the renowned French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The stunning grounds, which include beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge plus a host of outdoor sculptures, will also allure anyone with an appreciation for art.

5. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Museum, Park

An AAM accredited and Smithsonian Affiliate institution, The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture celebrates and showcases regional history and art plus the culture of American Indians and others. Founded in 1916 in Spokane, the permanent collection is varied and includes everything: textiles, paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and so much more. The MAC, as it’s better known, hosts rotating and long-term exhibitions plus traveling exhibits within its five galleries. With such an impressive array of art, including a contemporary fine art collection with works by Doug Safranek, Kristen Capp, and Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz to name a few, art lovers have much to explore. Olympic Sculpture Park | © Benjamin Benschneider/Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

6. Olympic Sculpture Park

Museum, Park

Alex Calder’s ‘Eagle’ (1971) is the centrepiece of the Olympic Sculpture Park
© Benjamin Benschneider / Seattle Art Museum
Part of the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park is a lovely outdoor venue where art aficionados can take a leisurely stroll through various landscapes while taking in the beauty of amazing sculptures. Opened in 2007, the award-winning park is downtown Seattle’s largest green space, and in addition to the beautiful art dotting the area, guests will also be presented with magnificent views of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, plus various landmarks. Some of the artists represented in the park include Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, Beverly Pepper, and Richard Serra to name a few. Open every day, the sculpture park is free ensuring that anyone who wants to visit can do so.

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