ARTWALK - A HISTORY & TRADITION

The galleries in historic Pioneer Square launched ArtWalk in 1981. Also known as First Thursday, Artwalk is an evening of exhibition openings, a neighborhood social and an opportunity to experience Art and Culture through the outstanding gallery venues in Pioneer Square.

My first participation in ArtWalk was at Booil Arts, a classy frame shop and gallery in the Washington Shoe Building, where I also had a studio just above on the second floor. From 1981 to 2011, after I moved studios from the Washington Shoe Building to the 619 Western Building, I hosted ArtWalk evenings on the fifth floor south, GoldShoe Studios & Gallery.

A Historical Perspective from the Seattle Art Dealers Association Website.

Late in 1979, running counter to what traditionally has been a very private and individual type of business, several Pioneer Square art galleries met to look at ways to gain greater visibility by working together. Early meetings involved The Legacy, The Art Emporium, Davidson Galleries, Foster/White, Native Design, Pioneer Square Gallery, Nina Miller Gallery, Silver Image Gallery, and Elena Perez Vogl Gallery. One idea to come out of these meetings was the Pioneer Square Gallery Guide/Map which made its first appearance on December 1, 1979. Galleries agreed to share the expense of printing the Guide. Others who became involved as the project gained momentum were Linda Hodges Gallery, Francine Seders Gallery, Linda Farris Gallery, Diane Gilson Gallery, A.R.C., Booil Arts, Gallery Mack, Richard Nash Gallery, Rosco Louie, Art Connection and Manolides Gallery. The Pioneer Square Gallery Directors Group became a reality.

Another idea from the Group was to host an evening gallery walk to celebrate Leap Year in February of 1980. Capitalizing on a “Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday” event earlier in that month organized by the bars and restaurants in Pioneer Square, the group made table cards advertising "A Night at the Galleries: A Walk through Pioneer Square's Distinguished Galleries” to be held on Thursday, February 28. They also created sidewalk “footprints” leading to participating galleries as well as balloon markers. Earlier that week, the “Cityscape-What’s happening in town” section of the Seattle Times, in a brief listing for the new ArtWalk, quoted Elena Perez Vogl as saying “People should plan to come for the evening. They can park free at the Kingdome, see some galleries, have dinner, then see a few more galleries. It’s the first event of its kind here. We hope we can do it every year.” The evening was such a success that the Gallery Group felt that a monthly event should be considered. By 1982 the monthly "First Thursday" was well underway, supported by the locator map, press releases and the individual mailings of The Gallery Group members.

Today, 32 years after that first ArtWalk, First Thursday continues to bring in crowds of visitors to the galleries to see new exhibitions, to meet artists, and to socialize with friends. First Thursday has come to include most of the city's major art galleries and is a special “art evening” for many more new galleries and art related businesses hoping to take advantage of the evening's draw.

THE DECEMBER 2012 ARTWALK POSTER FOR MY NEW LOCATION AT 313 FIRST AVENUE SOUTH                     VISITORS WIND THEIR WAY UP STAIRS TO VISIT 5 FLOORS OF STUDIOS AT THE 619 WESTERN AVE ARTS BUILDING THE 619 WESTERN ARTS BUILDING WAS AN ICON FROM 1981 - 2011 BRINGING HUGE CROWDS TO PIONEER SQUARE

THE DECEMBER 2012 ARTWALK POSTER FOR MY NEW LOCATION AT 313 FIRST AVENUE SOUTH                     VISITORS WIND THEIR WAY UP STAIRS TO VISIT 5 FLOORS OF STUDIOS AT THE 619 WESTERN AVE ARTS BUILDING

THE 619 WESTERN ARTS BUILDING WAS AN ICON FROM 1981 - 2011 BRINGING HUGE CROWDS TO PIONEER SQUARE

THE CENTER AT PLANET EARTH

In 1981, several friends and I including Doug Fast, decided to collaborate on a lease for a floor in a mostly vacant post and beam warehouse near the waterfront, across from the ferry docks and within reach of the Old Curiosity Shop and its calliope.

Artists Nori Sato and Tom Colman were there on the south side also, the north side was totally open and available while several handful of artists were on the block in the adjacent Polson Building and across the street at Triangle Studios, in the Journal of Commerce Building, next to the gigantic Seattle Steam Plant across Western Avenue to the east.

Within days we had demolished,, swept-up, whitewashed with sprayer, bent nails and crafted a built-out of a plan for six studios and a hallway gallery with a re-built toilet down the hall, in the opposite direction. A giant freight lift that let you down on the west end of the floor, looking out on the bay and the traffic speeding by, heading north and south on the tiers of the Viaduct's Highway 99.

My studio eventually grew into a T shaped, 1500 square foot studio where I lived, worked, created, exhibited, educated, celebrated, loved, learned and entertained. Thirty years, with four by eight foot windows and the sky rolling by, the breeze off the bay, tall ceilings, old growth post and beams. It was completely white, bright with daylight and empty. When I moved in. When I moved out in September of 2011, it was hard to fathom the weight of earth matter that filled the space.

We had one last ArtWalk in half of the Diamond Parking lot. The band Manigua played and next week we began a great migration as 120 artists, leaving the warehouse at 619, full of empty studios. I moved myself, hired friends and transport, off-loaded a lot and moved tons of my world. In every heave and lift I could feel the center of the planet Earth, pulling it back. And I moved that gravity to a new studio.

Much of it in a Safeway shopping cart!

THE AMAZING WORKHORSE OF A SHOPPING CART HAULED MY LOADS OF GRAVITY!

THE AMAZING WORKHORSE OF A SHOPPING CART HAULED MY LOADS OF GRAVITY!

RELOCATION & TRANSFORMATION

A new Gallery and Art Studio opened in historic Pioneer Square in March of 2011. Edd Cox Fine Art was my relocation from the 619 Western Building where I had leased, constructed, managed the 7500 sq. ft. fifth floor south and worked from a creative studio for thirty years.

Edd Cox Fine Art opened at 313 First Avenue South in an amazing storefront space. Founded for the purpose of exhibitions, educational workshops and my personal studio space. It had outstanding possibilities.

During this time I launched another space two blocks south at 558 First Avenue South to provide studios and exhibition gallery space for creative artists. I was able to produce the plan drawings and then began permitted construction of GoldShoe Studios & Gallery. After a years effort, the large work load and financial constraints were more than I could maintain. I closed the project to refocus my energies at Edd Cox Fine Art.

I was determined to manifest my vision of a productive creative studio, an educational workshop space for teaching oil painting and ceramics and a commercial gallery exhibition space to promote my personal artworks and other Seattle and Northwest artists.

The realization that I am a studio artist, rather than a project and gallery manager, became the catalyst for my decision to close the doors and business at 313 First Avenue in February 2014. A difficult decision to make but a practical one. And very difficult to acknowledge that the envisioned potential was not unattainable.

The past three year journey has been a great experiential education and a resource that has illuminated my true capabilities and future potential.    

I have consolidated and reestablished my creative practice and returned to the creative studio. Edd Cox Fine Art has relocated one block north at the OK Hotel. A smaller more efficient studio space with one purpose. To be as creative as possible and build a new fire of the imagination.

My new contact information.   

EDD  COX  FINE  ART
212 Alaskan Way South 
Suite 511  -   Studio 115A 
Seattle Wa  98104-3488