OLYMPIA – Olympia’s spring Arts Walk kicked off at 5 p.m. Friday. But don’t tell that to the dozens of people who were milling around downtown before then. Children were blowing bubbles, schoolkids were selling cookies, and the sound of street music filled the air.
People simply could not wait to enjoy what turned out to be a bright, 55-degree afternoon.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to come out and for people to be with each other after a long, wet winter,” said Stacy Hirsch, who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Selah.
Meanwhile, fourth- and fifth-graders at Lincoln Elementary School were selling cupcakes, raising money for a trip to Fort Flagler State Park near Port Townsend. Jora Hannah, 10, said the students would be doing community service projects there.
“I think it’s a great activity, where everybody can get some money to sell some stuff,” she said.
The event wasn’t just about passively admiring the hundreds of artworks decorating the walls of businesses. Karielle Jackson and people involved in the welding program at South Puget Sound Community College were creating art on site.
Jackson, an 18-year-old senior at Olympia High School, participates in the program for college credit – and because she loves it.
Hirsch said she hadn’t been to the event for a couple of years and remarked on how it had grown.
“It seems like there’s so much more for them to do and see,” she said.
The statistics bear that out. There are 133 venues for art this year, up from 127 last spring, said Stephanie Johnson, who organizes the event for the city. The number includes several new businesses, such as eateries and hair salons.
Perhaps more people came out because there was more to see. But the good weather didn’t hurt.
“We can plan and plan and plan and Arts Walk happens rain or shine, but when it’s shining, it really is something special,” she said. “And it’s been dark for so long, it seems this is really a gift.”
Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org