First Friday Artwalk in Anacortes, WA is a community affair. This long-running event, supported by the arts, artists, community, and the city, bring art and culture each month to the downtown core of Anacortes. Kathy Khile, with Scott Milo Gallery, organizes the monthly event, keeping the community immersed in the arts.
Art lovers gather in galleries to watch demonstrating artists, listen to music, enjoy good conversations with fellow art lovers, and imbibe on delicious food and drinks. As part of the Artwalk ritual, patrons of the art often enjoy a delicious meal with friends at local restaurants before strolling through the shops and galleries,
This year, the city joined with First Friday Artwalk, closing off two blocks to traffic during the summer months, spilling First Friday Artwalk out onto the streets. Every month locals and visitors enjoy the arts on Anacortes First Friday.
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
–Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts
The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.”
–Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge
After years of organizing workshops for photographers, I decided to join them. I like to photograph up close and personal, street photography, straight lines, and unique subjects. I have been a member of the Skagit Valley Camera Club for over 10 years – currently serving as President. I am also chair of the Anacortes Arts Commission. Author of The Blood Stone Queen and other ebooks, Freelance Writer for Stories from the Front Porch and other publications. I like to share my passion of the arts and artists, photography, writing, small businesses, and people who live, work, and play with passion.
Blame it on the Light
Stories from the Front Porch
This year marked the 56th anniversary of the Anacortes Arts Festival. This well-run event provides a full three days of entertainment, food, music, and some of the best art. This festive and lively event brings thousands of visitors to the town of Anacortes during the first full weekend of August. The downtown street of Commercial Ave is lined with vendors, food, music stages, children's section, food court, and ends at the north end Commercial on the Guemes Channel where visitors can watch the working artist and enjoy the Fine Art Show at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed building. Learn more about the Anacortes Arts Festival and the festival's Giving Back Programs.
Highlight 1 - Working Artists Area
A favorite of the festival is the working artist area, located at the north end of Commercial Ave, just past the food booths.
PIANO-cortes - This year’s painters include a group of Anacortes High School students, artist Carla Seaton and a local team including Beth Smith, Molly Johnson & Wyndham Jackson. Pictured above is Carla Seaton, Carla's Funky Art. Carla's story was featured in the April issue of Stories from the Front Porch. Read more here.
New this year - Sand Sculpting
Highlight 2 - Juried Fine Art Show
Another great highlight and visitor favorite is the Fine Art Juried Show at the Port. Located at the north end of Commercial Ave in the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed on the beautiful Guemes Channel. Enjoy Fine Art, entertainment on the Port Stage, and enjoy drinks at the Waterfont Pub sponsored by Barrett Financial. Read more here.
Highlight 3 - The Artists and Vendors
The largest draw and the reason we all come to the Anacortes Arts Festival is the artists and the booth vendors. Hundreds of booths line Commercial Ave between 3rd and 10th St. A wonderful mixture of art, handmade works of art, jewelry, clothing, and more... there is something for everyone.
Highlight 4 - The Music and Entertainment
With three stages, you are sure to find something to entertain you and great music.
Highlight 5 - The Food and Beer Gardens
Whatever the reason, whatever you crave to eat, there is nothing quite like festival food at the Anacortes Food Festival. The main food court is always located at the south end of Commercial Ave, scattered throught the festival is goodies like ice cream, kettle corn, and other crowd favorites. This year they added a Food Truck Court on 6th St.
Highlight 6 - The Children's Section
On 7th Street you will find the Children's Section filled with activities for the kids.
Highlight 7 - Jules the Juggler
Always a crowd favorite is Jules the Juggler. This street performer from Bellingham, WA, is a crowd pleaser, drawing large crowds and keeping them entertained with his comedic juggling act.
Highlight 8 - The Volunteers
The true backbone of this well-run organization is the volunteers and the staff.
Highlight 9 - Best of the Fest
Winner of Best of the Fest this year was jewelry artist Heidi Klepper
Highlight 10 - The Visitors and this one dog
By Karla Locke
Author of The Blood Stone Queen and other ebooks, Freelance Writer for Stories from the Front Porch and other publications. Karla shares her passion of the arts and artists, photography, writing, small businesses, and people who live, work, and play with passion.
Short Stories of passion, of life, of people.