“More than a day at the beach” proclaims the Seaside Visitors’ Guide. The phrase perfectly describes the town’s First Saturday Art Walk. The monthly celebration of art invites us to “stretch our legs and our imagination every first Saturday in Seaside” from 5 to 8 p.m. Much more than a day at the beach, the art scene in Seaside is one happening experience.
The beach town – once known primarily as a place where families came to jump the waves, stroll the Prom, chow down on mustard-slathered pronto pups and have a good time on bumper cars – has seen a lot of change. Maintaining its family-friendly status, Seaside has evolved into an art-loving destination.
“We have people who come into town the first part of each month because they want to include the art walk in their Seaside experience,” said Laura Kaim, office manager at the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. Kaim puts together a monthly map of participating galleries and shops, available at the art walk sites and at the chamber. Most participants are located in the heart of Seaside, with the exception of Gearhart’s Trail’s End Art Association, the longest active art association on the Oregon Coast. Gearhart is located a couple of miles north of Seaside. In February it will showcase the photography of Beaverton’s Richard Newman.
Started in 2005, Seaside’s First Saturday Art Walk continues to offer art of all mediums from fine to funky and fun. Participating galleries, shops, art and artists vary each month, guaranteeing an expansive art experience. In December, Seaside’s Water’s Edge Massage Therapy participated with its healing arts. Last summer, young kids displayed and sold their original art – meeting the asking price of somewhere between two and three dollars. Chain saw art even makes an appearance: Tilted Arts and Gifts’ February featured artist is Sara “Ellie” Ruscetta, who starts her work with cedar driftwood from local beaches and uses a chain saw to create whimsical landscape decor.
Local chefs show off their culinary arts. Authors do book signings. And it’s not unusual to have a chance to mix and mingle with local, national and international award-winning artists who are present at their shows.
Live music is often part of the scene. Depending on the time of year in Dave Bartholet’s artists’ co-op, the Gilbert District Gallery, art walkers may find Seaside’s Dylan Loehr playing the Didgeridoo, an Australian instrument he built himself. The Gilbert District Gallery is also full of Bartholet’s striking wildlife watercolors along with a mix of artwork by four other talented artists.
At Fairweather House and Garden, owner Denise Fairweather is always on the lookout for fine art, continuing to launch exciting shows. In February, Gary Loveless, a Cannon Beach artist-photographer, will showcase his original photos that are infused with specially coated aluminum, giving a magical luminescence to every piece.
The hip and happening Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro provides good tastes in its rotating art shows and a menu that paints a clear picture. Featuring seasonal and local offerings, the Bistro has been an active art walk participant since 2007. February’s show will feature Oskkar Walker’s “Mea sunsa de inspira ie,” or “My Darling Inspiration,” a bold and colorful series of acrylic palette knife paintings.
The Seaside art walk has it all: from fine art to wearable art, pottery, paper, glass, copper, leather, handmade jewelry – and don’t forget the art fortune telling and tattooing. Hold Fast Tattoo Company and Art Gallery, a combination tattoo and body piercing studio and art gallery, will feature mixed media by artist T. Chappell and collages by artist Jeff Harnett.
Come one, come all. Enjoy Seaside’s First Saturday Art Walk – for info on February’s lineup, check out Page 22. And if you can’t make the Saturday, Feb. 2 event, remember it’s a monthly experience to be enjoyed more than once.