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Tacoma Arts Month

October brings awareness to Tacoma's rising arts scene

Tacoma Arts Month opens with a celebration packed with artists. Photo courtesy City of Tacoma

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Over the past couple decades, Tacoma has done a fine job of building itself up and turning more and more to local artists to engender what has become a fairly vibrant arts scene. And, October marks the 15th year of Tacoma Arts Month, designed to draw attention to the sort of creative energy that occurs year-long in Tacoma, but that some people might not be aware of.

"The idea of Tacoma Arts Month is to raise visibility for arts and culture in Tacoma," said Naomi Strom-Avila, Cultural Arts Specialist for the City of Tacoma. "By focusing on one month out of the year, we can really promote what Tacoma has going on and show the amazing things that our organizations and businesses and artists are producing. Many of them are doing this year-round, but this gives us a chance to highlight a moment in time and pique interest in what's happening. (Tacoma Arts Month) also happens to coincide with the season openings for many of our performing organizations, so the timing works well with that, too."

Tacoma Arts Month starts each year with a party, and the 15th year is no exception. The 2016's opening celebration comes Sept. 29 at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, and it boasts a wide array of creators coming together to kick off a month of artistic exploration.

"Every year, we try and provide some new programming and some new experiences for people, and we try and highlight some of the artists we've been working with for the past year," said Strom-Avila. "One of the things, which we haven't announced yet and that I'm very excited for, is that we have a bunch of Tacoma artists that are working under the title of Hue Collaborative. They're in the process of producing a mural on People's Community Center, and they're going to be exhibiting their artwork at the opening party. ... The mural will have just been dedicated September 24th, so the party on the 29th will be a close tie-in to that.

"There's also going to be a life-size, walk-in kaleidoscope installation that Tinkertopia is building for the occasion," Strom-Avila continued. "Our theme is kaleidoscopes, for the event, so they're making it real. I'm super excited to see what it's going to look like! I think it'll be a pretty amazing experience."

Also at the opening party is the awards ceremony for this year's recipients of the AMOCAT Arts Awards: Metro Parks (Arts Patron), Tacoma Youth Symphony (Community Outreach by an Organization), and Christopher Paul Jordan (Community Outreach by an Individual).

But, while this party will be a unique way to kick off Tacoma Arts Month, the month is really dedicated to shining a light on Tacoma arts scene. To help with getting people out and experiencing Tacoma's creative drive, a contest is being held: if you go out and take a selfie at an arts and culture event in Tacoma, hash-tagging it #TacomaArts, you may win fantastic prizes.

"This is something really cool that the Arts and Culture Coalition of Pierce County is sponsoring," said Strom-Avila. "These are really sweet prize packages: an overnight stay at the Hotel Murano, tickets to see events and have dinner, and giant cultural immersion experiences. Our goal with that is just for people to be spokespeople for their own arts experiences and for our community."

While October may urge you to experience Tacoma's art, you'd be remiss for staying inside the rest of the year. Tacoma is only getting brighter when it comes to nurturing its art, and you shouldn't miss out.

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