Artists plan for Seattle Storefronts. (Photo:Eliza S. Rankin)

Storefront art installations: it's not just window dressing

KIRO Radio

Starting Thursday, vacant storefronts in Seattle are dressing up in artwork for the winter. The improvements aren't just for aesthetics, but economics.

The artwork is meant to draw visitors and businesses back to areas of Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District.

"Imagine walking down that dark rainy street and instead of seeing a bunch of dark storefronts you're seeing light on, with rehearsals going on in the spaces or beautiful pieces of art being displayed," says Ellen Whitlock Baker, "or you can walk into a retail store that's selling unique artwork."

Whitlock Baker is with the nonprofit arts group, Shunpike, which is working with the city of Seattle on the "Storefronts Seattle," program, to fill vacant windows with all kinds of art.

Shunpike's Andy Fife says similar programs have drawn new business to neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, and even other cities in western Washington.

"In Tacoma, one of the first spaces that we found, we didn't even get a chance to put the artists in there because it attracted enough attention to that building that it filled up before the artists got to move in there."

He says Storefronts Seattle is a joint private-public program that costs about $11,000. The storefront space is donated.

Top Stories

  • New Look
    The Seattle Police Department unveils new uniforms, logo

  • 'It Was My Turn'
    K.J. Wright has signed a $27 million, four-year extension with the Seahawks
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.