If Arts Walk participation is any indicator, things might be looking up for the economy in South Sound – or at least in downtown Olympia.
There are at least 10 businesses participating in Arts Walk for the first time, and quite a few of them opened since fall Arts Walk in October.
“I always think it’s a good indicator to see new businesses in the Arts Walk map,” said Stephanie Johnson, the city’s arts and events manager.
While a look at the map is just a clue to what’s happening economically, Olympia Downtown Association executive director Connie Lorenz confirms there’s a good-size crop of new businesses downtown.
In the first quarter of 2012 alone, 23 businesses opened downtown, including nine retail businesses.
“It seems higher than normal to me,” Lorenz said. “If you walk around the street, all of a sudden you’ll see a new shop. You’ll see The Mod Fix or you’ll see Kitzel’s. Right in the very core, spaces don’t stay empty for very long.”
More businesses tend to open in the first quarter than at other times of year, she said. “People are planning for the new year. And a lot of people like to open in the first quarter so that they’re ready for Arts Walk because that brings a lot of exposure.”
Psychic Sister, a vintage clothing shop that also offers psychic readings, opened in March — too late to make it into the Arts Walk map. But the shop, owned by Sarah Adams, will host a number of happenings this weekend, including “Dept. of Official Wishes,” a group of mixed-media works by Greta Jane Pedersen, who’ll create custom wishes from noon-4 p.m. Saturday; “Spirit Universe: Talking Boards,” by I.C. Signs, also known as Ira Coyne; and performance art by Maryjane Dunphy and psychic readings by Lisa Holm on Friday.
The shop is at 109 Fifth Ave. S.E. Call 360-943-9595 or go to psychic-sister.com.
Among the other new participating businesses and studios:
The Estate Store, 510 Columbia St. S.W., is a project of Senior Services of South Sound that sells secondhand furniture, collectibles, art and more. For Arts Walk, the shop will show jewelry by Jackie Brennan and Mary Schouweiler Knopfler, painting and books by Knopfler, mixed-media works by Shannon McDougall and restored trunks by John Schultz. Call 360-515-0965.
Kitzel’s Crazy Delicious Delicatessen, 514 Capitol Way S., is Olympia’s only Jewish-style delicatessen. It will show paintings by Carrie O’Neill and work by Timberline High School Advanced Placement art students, as well as too many musical acts to name from 5-10 p.m. Friday and sprinkled throughout the day Saturday. Call 360-357-7747 or go to kitzels.blogspot.com.
The Mod Fix, 505 Capitol Way S., is devoted to mid-century modern goods and new items in the mid-century style. For Arts Walk, the shop will show linocut block prints by Mimi Williams. Call 360-943-9883 or go to themodfix.com.
Oly Vegan, 313 Fifth Ave. S.E., sells an array of goods for those with vegan lifestyles. It’s showing pop-art portraits by Ryan H Adams. Call 360-500-0900 or go to olyvegan.tumblr.com.
Olympia Family Theater opened its downtown Playspace — an office, rehearsal space and more — in September at 112 State Ave. N.E. The company will do nine five-minute performances Friday night — one every half-hour from 5-9 p.m. — including scenes from shows such as “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” plus a preview of the upcoming “Goodnight Moon.” Call 360-570-1638 or go to olyft.org.
Olympia Olive Oil, 321 Fourth Avenue S.E., sells not only oil, but also balsamic vinegar. For Arts Walk, the shop will show photos by Julie Rajcich. Call 360-878-9571 or go to olyoliveoil.com.
Pizzeria La Gitana, 518 Capitol Way S., focuses on Italian-style pizza and has gluten-free crust available. The shop will show acrylics by Marialba Amengual. Call 360-753-2929 or go to pizzerialagitana.com.
Susan Christian’s studio is a mostly private studio at 114 Capitol Way N. Christian has hosted occasional shows in the space, and for Arts Walk, the studio will house an art show and performance event called “Team Awesome” at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Involved are Christian and fellow visual artists Joanne Lee and Patty Otero, plus writers Jennifer Berney, Emily van Kley, Linda Strever and Sandra Yannone. Audience members are invited to draw or write their own responses and attach them next to the works with pushpins.
Volcano Vapor Cafe, 1222 Capitol Way N., sells electronic cigarettes, coffee, tea and snacks. The cafe is showing paintings by Francisco Fonseca and acrylics by Isabella Fonseca. Call 360-539-7466 or go to olympiavolcano.com.
Left: Olympia Family Theater will offer scenes from “The Tortoise and the Hare” and other works at its downtown Playspace on Friday.
Arts Walk XLIV
What: The free twice- yearly festival’s spring outing features a lively mix of visual and performing arts at 125 downtown businesses and on the streets of Olympia.
When: 5-10 today and noon-8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Throughout downtown Olympia
More information: 360-753-8380. Maps and listings of venues and artists are available at participating businesses and at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. N.W., Olympia.
Arts Walk online
For a clickable map of Arts Walk sites, an hour-by-hour guide to performances and a mobile version that highlights what’s happening closest to you, go to artswalkolympia.com.