And the city’s twice-a-year celebration of all things artistic continues Saturday with dance performances, music and visual arts at nearly 100 venues, including restaurants, spas, galleries and gift shops.
“It’s fun and creative and it’s community,” said Lynn Scroggins, 58, of Olympia.
Given the drop-in, free-admission, self-guided nature of the event, Arts Walk attendance is difficult to track, said Stephanie Johnson, arts and events program manager for the City of Olympia.
But Friday’s turnout had a great vibe, she said.
“This feels really good,” she said. “There are a lot of people on the streets. I’d say this is a really good start.”
As in years past, the heart of downtown was closed to motorized vehicles. It turned into a street fair of sorts, with musicians and street performers. Children drew pictures with sidewalk chalk, and downtown businesses turned into temporary galleries for paintings, photographs, sculptures and other media.
Scroggins was one of nearly 100 people who participated in a flash mob that sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” at Sylvester Park. The song’s Latin words can be loosely translated into “Grant us peace.”
The surprise performance was organized through numerous emails and messages on listservs, but nobody was taking credit for coordinating the effort, Scroggins said.
“This is all sorts of community groups,” she said. “It was all sorts of people who love music.”
Within the first half-hour of Arts Walk, Devin Fernandez, 31, of Tumwater, already had sold two of his acrylic on canvas paintings. His work varies from scenes with Tim Burton-like whimsical characters to more traditional landscapes.
“Random Mess is what I call it,” Fernandez said, pointing to one of the collections he has on display at the Sweet Life boutique. “There’s no real rhyme or reason to it. Just things that came out.”
The cable installer said he always has created art as a hobby, and his wife talked him into participating in Arts Walk.
He said the experience felt like “a huge welcoming to the community” and that it gave him a chance to get some feedback on his artwork.
So what was that first sale like?
“Shocking,” Fernandez said. “When I sold it, I was like, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you want to buy it?’ Everybody sees their (own) art and says, ‘I can do better than that.’”