Last night I had an absolute blast at the first Thursday Seattle Art Walk and I wasn’t alone; all kinds of freaks, artists, musicians, tourists, party people, families, hipsters, dancers, schmoozers, neohippies, and the mentally unstable came out on the clear evening to wander around and soak in the fountains of creative expression that were flowing freely all around Pioneer Square. Art is fun! Art makes life better! And it was all over; not only galleries but bars, clubs, and hotels all get in on the act. It was a swirling parade of people, all enjoying themselves madly and adding color to their lives in a festive, life-is-good atmosphere.

I began my night meeting up with friends at The Last Supper Club; the Seattle Art Walk is best done with a group so you have someone to scout for the best wine and snicker at the giant penises with. The Last Supper Club had a free taco buffet (what?) and was showing off the holographic art of Laser Guided Visions visionary Raja. Really really sweet holographic art, that is, which goes fantastically well with salsa and jalapenos.

Across from LSC in Occidental Park the open air market was set up with a few dozen booths, tables, blankets, and vans showing and selling the work of artists and craftspeople. There were all kinds of random things to buy: red seed necklaces, gourmet chocolates, photos of Latin America, hand-blown glass bongs, painted note cards, decoupage magnets, and of course no event in Pioneer Square would be complete without the hotdog cart. Pile it on!

Live musicians Amber Tide gave us a nice acoustic jam and by one of the public sculptures in the Park a bizarre group of people were doing interpretive dance while they all talked on cellphones, an interesting take on modern art (can you hear me now?). Across Main Street was a deejay setup providing beats for the adults and kids painting pictures of compassion as part of the upcoming Seeds of Compassion workshop happening next week with the Dalai Lama. The question was: “What Does Compassion Look Like?” and the pictorial answers ranged from giant eyeballs to blue grassy fields to open arms and a motorcycle.

We decided to hit up some galleries proper and we chose well by finding the Western Building which hosts a collective of dozens and dozens of artists’ studios on five floors of space. It was amazing; the density of artwork meant that there were pieces that spoke to everyone; if you thought one room was crap then you moved to the next, and then the next, and the next. The building was packed full and most of the artists were on hand to answer questions about their work. Add to this art mania some free-flowing wine, PBR, and nosh from olives to salami to brie to fortune cookies, and the environment trumps any Uffizi or (dare I say it?) the Louvre in my mind. It was so real, so in your face; living, breathing art that reaches out and grabs you and changes the way you see the world.

I expected to experience a lot of thought-provoking art, big colors, meet artists, spill a little wine- but what I didn’t predict was to have so much FUN! I am so stoked that this event happens every month and the Pioneer Square Community Association has plans to ramp it up as the season continues with even more musical acts and public space devoted to the event. The two hours passed in a flash and I barely even got my toes wet in the amount of artwork around. The next Seattle Art Walk is Thursday, May 1; write it on your calendars now and plan on a evening of wandering through cell-phone dancers, fingerpainters, bright red swaths of color, and a big mass of people having FUN. I’ll see you there.

Community Art is FUN! The Seattle Art Walk Rocks