Think of Everett, and likely the big Boeing assembly plant and U.S. Naval Station spring to mind. Just a few decades ago, Everett evoked images of a lumber mill town and rough-and-tumble port. So you may be surprised how the former “City of Smokestacks” has developed quite an art scene in the past few years.
Everett launched a concerted effort to attract live/work artists, showcase both their art and others’ works, and put on fun artistic events to draw visitors and residents alike to the downtown core. You can now engage in interactive art and music during summer events, watch artists create with molten glass in a hot shop, explore on the Everett Art Walk, and discover a range of impressive art installations. The best part: it’s all free.
The Schack Art Center opened downtown in 2011 as the new home for the Arts Council of Snohomish County. The 19,000-square-foot center is designed to attract visual artists throughout the Northwest; it also features 40 Artspace Lofts of affordable live/work housing for resident artists above the center.
When you visit Schack, you can view these artists’ works in the exhibit space — or visiting shows by other artists. Depending on the schedule, you can watch glass artists create with their molten medium in the glass art hot shop. Here you have a close-up view of the artists creating — unlike Tacoma’s Museum of Glass Hot Shop, where you sit at a distance in a huge auditorium. You can purchase the glass art and many other art works in Schack’s gallery store.
Perhaps time your visit to coincide with the Everett Artwalk. Explore local artists’ studios, galleries and businesses that display art for the occasion. The artwalk takes place every third Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. year-round.
Everett celebrates two major art events in August. Street Tunes: An Invitation to Jam is Aug. 2-22 this year. You can find and play — or just tickle the keys of — pianos placed around downtown Everett’s sidewalks. Each piano is commissioned to be painted or decorated by a selected artist, and the public is encouraged to have fun making music wherever the pianos are placed. Each location has maps so you can embark on a “treasure hunt” for the other pianos while exploring downtown Everett.
The other major art event is Fresh Paint, coming up Aug. 19-20. Presented by the Schack Art Center, this “Festival of Artists at Work” celebrates local artists and lets you buy “art fresh off the easel” at its Everett marina venue. The entire length of the marina promenade is filled with artist booths, becoming a huge outdoor studio and sidewalk gallery.
You’ll find more than 100 artist booths showcasing painting, pottery, glass art, jewelry and photography from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Every festival artist demonstrates and shares their art with viewers, plus there are dedicated demonstration areas for glassblowing, wood carving, pottery, and lapidary (rock carving). Live music and entertainment is featured on two stages, plus there is a beer garden and food from several marina restaurants and festival food booths.
As part of the Fresh Paint event, you can also take part in a fun Float Find on Jetty Island, held on Sat. Aug. 19 only. Search Jetty Island’s sandy beach to find your very own glass sea float, made in the Schack hot shop. The free, 10-minute ferry rides to Jetty Island begin at 8:30 a.m., though the beach does not open for the Float Find till 10:30 a.m.
If you’re interested in discovering more art installations in Everett any time of year, you’ll find everything from Pilchuck glass art to paintings by Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson, two of the “Mystic Painters of the Northwest.” They are all located in public facilities and free to view.
The Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Xfinity Arena is the home of the City of Everett’s official art collection, including the Pilchuck Glass Collection by artists of the famous Pilchuck Glass School. The center also features paintings by ““Mystic Painter” Guy Anderson, wall-mounted art by six other noted Northwest artists, and a 20-foot high, outdoor water-focused steel sculpture by renowned local artist Ulrich Pakker.
At the Everett Station — the city’s transit hub for buses and trains — you can enjoy a unique look at the history of Everett through its distinctive public artwork on the upper floor. The most striking are the Weyerhaeuser Murals painted in the 1940s by famed Northwest artist Kenneth Callahan. Once hung in Weyerhaeuser’s Mill B cafeteria from 1944 to 1974, the 12 murals tell the story of the Northwest lumber industry and its workers.
Also look for the 29 cast bronze ships inset in the Waterways Map of the Great Hall floor — another intriguing surprise.
Schack Art Center
2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett, WA
Everett Street Tunes
Float Find on Jetty Island
Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Xfinity Arena
— By Julie Gangler
Julie Gangler is a freelance writer who has worked as a media relations consultant for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. She began her career as a staff writer at Sunset Magazine and later was the Alaska/Northwest correspondent for Travel Agent Magazine.