Published on February 28th, 2020
From Roq La Rue to the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle has a huge art scene to explore, with both emerging and well-established artists exhibiting in a huge variety of art spaces around the city.
Pioneer Square has a range of both commercial and not-for-profit galleries offering an eclectic mixture of contemporary arts from the Northwest, Washington, and Seattle itself alongside art from across the US.
Regular art events including Georgetown Art Attack or the First Thursday Art Walk are also a must-see for any art-lover.
So, if you’re planning your first trip to Seattle and don’t want to miss out on the wide range of art exhibitions and experiences on offer, you may be wondering, where’s best to go?
Here are some of the best contemporary art galleries in the city.
1. Henry Art Gallery
Located within the University of Washington, this established, highly acclaimed presence in the city’s art scene is actually a non-profit museum that was founded in 1927.
Today, it’s home to a huge collection of over twenty-five thousand objects and offers a massive array of interactive exhibitions and installations, including works by Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Nauman, and Sean Scully.
Don’t miss out on Light Rein, a Skyspace project by James Turrell that’s profoundly spiritual. It allows visitors to focus their attention on a single portion of the sky.
2. M.I.A Gallery
Visitors to this gallery are welcomed with a portion of the vast world of art; it’s committed to exhibiting fresh surprising work by contemporary artists the world over.
Some interesting exhibitions here include Sapeurs by Badouin Mouanda, which offers more than a touch of flamboyant by showing photographs of extravagantly dressed sartorial devotees in the Congo, while the collaborative effort between photographer Justin Dingwall and model Thando Hopa traversed race and beauty with stunning portraits of the albino model.
Each exhibition plays around with accepted representations of the status quo, offering alternative ways to think and perceive.
The central location of the M.I.A. Gallery makes it an ideal destination for tourists, with many furnished apartments for rent in Seattle nearby.
If you need to stay somewhere close to the art scene, why not stay in a fully furnished apartment offered by Blueground.
Just search for their apartments in Seattle on their website; you can narrow the options down by selecting specific areas and neighborhoods, a number of bedrooms, or extra amenities.
3. Platform Gallery
Located in the Tashiro Kaplan arts center, Platform Gallery was opened in 2004. It focuses mainly on stimulating, confident art with a profound conceptual edge.
Shows have been hosted with a wide range of themes, including gender identity, and art and information overload in modern society. The rotational program of exhibitions mainly includes solo shows, offering undivided attention to each thought-provoking project.
The gallery’s owner, Steve Lyons, is appreciated and celebrated worldwide for his open-mindedness and the active support that he offers to his artists.
4. SOIL Art Gallery
The origins of this art gallery can be traced back to 1995 when a group of ambitious local artists began looking for a suitable space to exhibit their work.
The gallery has had a cooperative spirit that’s still very much the theme today with a gallery that’s run both by and for artists.
SOIL gives emerging artists a chance to showcase their work with open-application, curated shows ran biannually.
There has been a hugely diverse range of shows so far, from live readings from an artist’s diary from the seventh grade, or aluminum sculptures to embody the fragility of memory.
Whatever the medium or subject matter, SOIL is dedicated to art.
5. James Harris Gallery
This art gallery is unafraid of taking risks, launching the careers of several emerging artists and organizing exhibitions that are characterized by meticulous curation and longstanding international experience.
The art space here is located just around the corner from Pioneer Square and is home to a number of established artists including Matthias Merkel Hess, Roy Dowell, and Noah Davis.
In 2013, this gallery presented an extremely impressive variety of challenging and thought-provoking artworks at Pulse Miami; including stunning utopian landscapes by Adam Sorensen and multi-layered, mixed-media collages from Alexander Kroll.
6. Prole Drift
Run by locally renowned artists Jaw Chartier and Dirk Park, this Seattle-based gallery was opened in the fall of 2011, making it a creative, dynamic new addition to the local art scene.
The founders describe it as a ‘non-representational gallery’, finding great joy in the freedom that they have to pick out artists to represent.
The gallery hosts frequent events and often collaborates with organizations such as Seattle-based SEASON, making it a very sociable space for anybody looking to mingle with local artists and get to know the people behind the Seattle local art scene.
7. Bryan Ohno Gallery
Bryan Ohno is the brains behind art consulting company Urban Art Concept. He opened this gallery in 2013 in the artsy International District after taking an eight-year-long hiatus from his work.
The space may be small, but it’s equipped with new energy and eager to impress with an interesting line-up of artists and a diverse range of exhibitions. Which Seattle art gallery do you want to visit first?