Creative Kids

Children’s Art Walk comes of age

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The kids who participated in Allied Arts’ inaugural Children’s Art Walk are now of the age where they can purchase a bottle of wine, join the military and even beget little artists of their own. And with its 18-year celebration just around the corner, the event itself is officially old enough to vote.

Like it has for the first Friday of every May since 2000, the citywide art exhibit will be difficult to miss beginning May 4, when businesses throughout downtown Bellingham once again decorate their front windows with vibrant art sourced by Whatcom County elementary students who don’t really care what color an owl is supposed to be, or that a horse doesn’t typically wear clothes.

Although the artworks will be on display at the de facto gallery spaces through May 23—and an accompanying exhibit featuring professional work by Allied Arts teaching artists can be viewed through May 31 at the creative hub at 1418 Cornwall Ave.—additional events happening throughout the urban core on Friday night are one-night-only affairs.

At Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (1059 N. State St.), teaching artist Rachel Simpson will be directing an art activity. Meanwhile, at Bellingham Music (232 E. Champion St.), students and faculty will share their talents and an “instrument petting zoo” will be available. Music and art will also combine at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building (250 Flora St.), where the Bellingham Youth Jazz Band will perform and kids can take part in a self-guided art activity in the FIG Studio. (While you’re at it, take the time to peruse the current art exhibits—“Jeweled Objects of Desire: From Ordinary to Extraordinary”  and “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America.”)

Additionally, activities and artwork will be highlighted at Make.Shift Art Space (306 Flora St.) during an opening reception for “Imaginary Friends.” The exhibit features works by Cedar Tree Montessori students paired with artistic responses by adult artists responding to the kids’ artwork, and is sure to intrigue. At 6pm, Harper & I Dance Studio (311 E. Holly St.) will host an abbreviated version of their performance of The Jungle Book at their new studio.

The following day, Mount Vernon will feature a number of pint-sized Picassos of its own as part of the city’s fifth annual Children’s Art Walk taking place from 2-5pm Sat., May 5 at businesses including Tri-Dee Arts and Embellish, and inside at Kids Stuff, Sprouts Children’s Clothing, Catholic Community Services Farmworker Center, Skagit Running Company, and PAVÉ Jewelry & Design.

Merit awards will be presented in a variety of age categories from 4 to 15, and the headlining exhibit can be seen at the Front Gallery (420 Myrtle St.), where Voices of the Children, the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, and the Museum of Northwest Art have joined forces to present “Poetry and Art: Cementing a Bond.” The show uses self-portraiture and reflection poems to link Syrian refugee children in Jordan and rural children in Northwest Washington, and is meant to cement relationships among both our local and global community.

During the Bellingham and Mount Vernon events, other galleries and businesses will also be opening their doors for additional art-related activities, so keep your eyes open for events and exhibits from artists of all ages, and remember that, even if you’re an adult, you can paint an owl whatever color you please.

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