Art's Alive!

Lighting up La Conner


What: 34th annual "Art's Alive!"

When: 5 pm Fri., Nov. 9 -11

Where: Throughout La Conner

Cost: Entry is free


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Whether it’s to catch a cruise to Deception Pass, check out the latest thought-provoking exhibit at the Museum of Northwest Art, or show visitors the lovely locale where world-famous scribe Tom Robbins resides, pretty much any time I visit La Conner I end up wanting to hang around way longer than the amount of time allotted.

I don’t think my urge to hunker down and stay awhile is unique. Judging by the success of “Art’s Alive”—the three-day event celebrating art and those that make it that takes place every November in the creative enclave adjacent to the Swinomish Channel—there are plenty of other day-trippers and longtime residents who also know a good thing when they see one.

The 34th annual event taking place Nov. 9-11 throughout La Conner kicks off with a free reception for the Invitational Art Show from 5-9pm Friday night at Maple Hall on Commercial Street. While you’re perusing the works by the 14 painters, photographers and sculptors who were invited to share their work, as well as pieces by the 60 local artists in the Open Show who will also be showing and selling their creations for the duration of “Art’s Alive!,” enjoy live music by classical pianist Ben Starner and Brian Lee & the Orbiters, nosh on alluring appetizers sourced from local restaurants, and pay a small donation to sip wine from Skagit Cellars.

From 10am-6pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday, demonstrations by artists and live music performances will continue at Maple Hall and throughout town at 15 different locations. Special attractions this year include a Student Art Exhibit featuring works by high schoolers from throughout the Skagit Valley at a pop-up gallery in the Tillinghast Seed Complex, the environmentally aware “Surge” exhibit at MoNA, various demos at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, a 50th anniversary exhibit at the Skagit County Historical Museum, and Skagit Artists’ Juried Art Show at the La Conner Civic Garden Club.

Per usual, a lot of the allure of attending “Art’s Alive” will be discovering attractions and artists along the way—whether it’s via the Sumi stylings of Janet Laurel at the LUX, listening to author and artist Jack Gunter reading excerpts from his latest work at Razzle Dazzle Gifts, watching a textile demo at Africa Mama, sitting in on demos from Salish Sea Plein Air Painters at Caravan Gallery, or taking part in a hands-on project at Book Paper & Ink Arts.

A handy brochure with specifics on additional receptions, live music offerings and artist lineups can help guide your journey, but I’m of the opinion that the longer you spend parsing out your specific trajectory, the less time you’ll have to revel in the wonder that can be had when you wander without a plan that’s set in stone. After all, if you can’t complete your “Art’s Alive!” goals in one day, you can come back the following afternoon and look for more magic. Maybe you’ll never want to leave.

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6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

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Emmet Cohen Trio

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see our complete calendar »

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