Eevey summer, two blocks of South Broadway in downtown Aberdeen are closed to traffic for one day to make room for artist booths, food vendors and performers. The Aberdeen Art Walk invites artists to exhibit their work and the public to stroll along this open-air gallery while enjoying food, music and fun activities. Even people who would never set foot in an art gallery appreciate this informal outdoor art exhibit. Now in its 21st year, the Aberdeen Art Walk has become a popular summer event with typically over 100 performers and vendors.
Aberdeen has long been home to a vibrant community of artists. In 1998, a group of local art lovers founded a non-profit organization to celebrate the work of local artists and present it on the streets of historic downtown Aberdeen. The group organized the first Aberdeen Art Walk in July 1998. Among the people who made it happen were Sunset times for seniors‘Laura Malakoff and Clyde and Sylvia Brown from Frames N Things (now closed) as well as many other volunteers. The organizational structure has undergone some changes over the years.
For two years, Aberdeen Art Walk has been taking place under the aegis of ReHABerdeen, the organization responsible for the Founder’s Day Parade. A group of volunteers including Aberdeen City Council President Tawni Andrews and Karen Rowe of Grays Harbor Wine Sellars are hard at work to make the Aberdeen Art Walk 2019 even better than in previous years.
Artists, craftspeople, musicians, and vendors from across Western Washington are encouraged to apply. “Artists and craftspeople are at the heart of this event,” says Karen Rowe. “They participate for free. We try to get local businesses to welcome artists by exhibiting their work inside their buildings. “
The organizers are playing with many new ideas. Rowe is excited about an interactive community art project. There will be a large canvas which will be decorated by art walkers with balloons filled with paint. The Sherwin Williams Co. will donate the paint needed to create Aberdeen’s own Jackson pollock-cloth style. Like last year, there will be children’s projects where participants can create a craft item for a small fee. Consider tie-dye t-shirts or similar small projects for kids and adults to take home. The Kid’s Corner 2018 tile painting activity was a great success.
This year’s Art Walk will be expanded to include public art in the City of Aberdeen. Community organization Our Aberdeen created beautiful brochures with self-guided tours of the city’s many murals and sculptures. These brochures have been available free to the community in several public places for years. This year, the Art Walk will promote these visits. There will be a table with maps to encourage visitors to explore. Buildings with interior murals will be open for the day. Young murals decorating the once drab walls of Art Alley can be admired directly on site. The driveway leads from the D&R Theater on South I Street in the heart of the Art Walk on South Broadway.
Entertainment will include live music and an appearance by the local dance troupe Belly dance kaleidoscope who played in previous years. The Aberdeen Timberland Regional Library will have staff on site. There will be a table with free arts activities for the kids on that day which is also the finale of the 2019 Timberland Library Summer Learning Program. It is just steps from the library at 121 East Market Street where kids of all ages can enjoy activities from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Aberdeen Art Walk has become a true community development event. Artists love this free opportunity to exhibit and sell their work, interact with visitors, and hand out business cards. Many have reported follow-up contacts and repeat sales in previous years. Artists love the opportunity to perform. Vendors love the crowds and local businesses love the extra traffic. Community groups like to collaborate with Art Walk.
Lots of art, lots of walking, lots of Aberdeen – the Aberdeen Art Walk 2019 has it all.
The 21st Aberdeen Art Walk will take place on August 24, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at South Broadway, Aberdeen. Artists from all media, artisans, vendors and musicians can still apply until August 17, 2019. Visit aberdeenartwalk.org to download an application form and the Aberdeen Art Walk Facebook page for more information. Call Karen Rowe at 360-581-9363. Volunteers aged fifteen and over are welcome to assist with set-up, tear-down and other event-related tasks.