Art's Alive!

Celebrating Skagit’s legacy


What: 35th annual Art's Alive

Where: Throughout La Conner


WHEN: Nov. 8-11

Cost: Entry is free


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

According to my analysis of past Art’s Alive! blowouts, this year’s iteration of the annual gathering that fills the Skagit Valley town of La Conner with creative cacophony every November will include an extra day of celebration.

This is likely because past events didn’t fall on the same weekend as a national holiday, but I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to honor veterans and support local and regional artists on the same day. So if you find yourself with time on your hands from 10am-4pm on Mon., Nov. 11, be aware that Art’s Alive! will still be in full swing.

Of course, the preceding three days will also see plenty of action, beginning with a kickoff gala for the 35th annual arts festival from 5pm-8pm Fri., Nov. 8 and continuing from 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday with exhibits at Maple Hall, the Lux Arts Center, and various businesses throughout La Conner; live painting demonstrations; and daily screenings of a documentary film showcasing iconic painter and sculptor Clayton James, who died in 2016 at the age of 98.

At the opening reception at Maple Hall, attendees can mix and mingle with many of the “Invitational Show” artists, who will greet visitors and discuss their work. “Celebrating Skagit Valley Art Legacy” is the theme of this year’s efforts, so it’s only apt that the list includes pieces by James and past participants Kris Ekstrand, Becky Fletcher, Nicolette Harrington, Ed Kamuda, Peregrine O’Gormley, Roger Small, Christine Troyer, Pieter VanZanden, Thomas Wood, and Lynn Zimmerman.

In looking at the work that will be on display and for sale, it’s clear that over the years many of the artists have already been incorporating that theme into their art. Kamuda’s “Moon Over Bow,” James’ “Sauk Mountain,” Small’s “Fir Island Farm,” Wood’s “Skagit Valley Farm,” and Ekstrand’s “Slough at the Edge” are great examples of how the land where they live—or lived—inspires them.

The “Open Show” at Maple Hall will feature local artists and new works from “Invitational Show” artists of years past, including Gary Giovane, Kirk Ruse, Rebecca Meloy, Maggi Mason, Sandy Knapp, Steven Hill, Tracy Powell, Robert Gigliotti, Anne Schreivogl, Kathleen Faulkner, Jean Behnke, Kent Nordby, and many more.

At the Lux Arts Center on Morris Street, a juried “Fall Show” exhibit will include paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more by many of the members of Skagit Artists, a group whose vision is to promote the visual arts by developing economic and networking opportunities in Skagit County. 

But the artistic opportunities don’t stop there. Don’t forget to stop by the Museum of Northwest Art to see the retrospective exhibit “Eve Deisher: Indicator,” and “Portland Artists from the Permanent Collection.” The Quilt & Fiber Museum at the Gaches Mansion on Second Street will also be open, as will the Skagit County Historical Museum.

At Seaport Books, find reading material about Skagit County’s storied artistic past, and pop your head into pretty much any business on the main drag to see what they’re focusing on during Art’s Alive! While it may seem like a lot to take in, don’t forget about that extra day of exploration. It might come in handy.

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Kombucha Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Pinot and Prose Info Session

5:30pm|Village Books

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

The Syrinx Effect

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wine, Women, and Song

7:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Now Hear This!

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Whatcom Food Network's Fall Forum

9:00am|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Back to the Books

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

3:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

My Parents and Me Painting Classes

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Classic Italian Dinner

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Boldly Went Live Outdoor Adventure Storytelling Show

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Hot Vengeance

7:00pm|Village Books


7:00pm|Bellingham High School

An Evening with Conrad Anker

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Pray the Gay Away

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

The Norman Conquests

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Jansen Jazz Band

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Interwoven Lives

7:30pm|Village Books


7:00pm|Bellingham High School

Pray the Gay Away

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

The Norman Conquests

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Emergency winter housing for the homeless


Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Holiday Makers Market

4:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Peace Builder Awards Gala

5:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Hamster Ball

5:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Gratitude Stew

6:00pm|Peter James Studio


7:00pm|Cirque Lab

Book Launch and Poetry Reading

7:00pm|Old Parish Hall

Butterflies and Trios

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

I Knew Her As Arachne

7:30pm|DUG Theater

Lone Piñon

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Blush Punch with Bellingham Repertory Dance

8:00pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

see our complete calendar »