While the sun still shines bright, a chill has filled the air. Festival season has officially come to a close, and public pools have drained their wells of youthful fun. You might be left wondering what to do with yourself. Lucky for all of us, Tacoma has the answer with the month of October marking Tacoma Arts Month. That is right, 31 full days teeming with opportunities to steep yourself in the creative culture of Tacoma.

There are literally hundreds of activities to choose from including workshops for all ages, art exhibits, performances and more. Immerse yourself in the arts from theatre, poetry, music, dance, film and others. The phrase, “there is a little something for everyone” holds true. The diversity of creatives that reside in Tacoma is not just awe-inspiring, it is downright impressive. And a month-long opportunity to explore and discover these gems might be precisely the excuse you need to not wallow in the loss of summer loving and to get to know some of our local creative minds.

Most notably, you can kick it all off on Wednesday, Oct 4, with Kaleidoscope, the official Tacoma Arts Month kick-off party. Hosted at The Spire from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., festivities are abundant and diverse with the who’s who of the art community gathered in one space. It is not simply a celebration of the arts but the diversity of Tacoma’s rich community culture. There will be live musical performances provided by Will Jordan, Smoky Wonder, Travis Barker, Ben Wildenhaus and Chromatographer. T.U.P.A.C. will perform West African dance and drumming; plus, there will be other dance performances provided by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center and Barefoot Collective.

tacoma arts month
Walk among the many exhibits that are open during October’s Tacoma Arts Month. Photo courtesy: City of Tacoma

The literary arts are highlighted with performances by Tacoma’s poet laureate, Kellie Richardson, with Jinx Jones plus a staged reading of CLOSE, written by Nick Stokes and directed by Jose Amador. There will be film screenings with the Grand Cinema, art exhibits and hands-on activities for attendees of all ages. Furthermore, the event is free to attend and open to the public, and they will be honoring this year’s AMOCAT Arts Award winners. This is an excellent opportunity to peer into what is ahead.

Another neat opportunity is the annual Tacoma Studio Tours. Witness where the artists do their work from home studios to co-op spaces, retail spots and cozy nooks; the spaces are as diverse as the artists themselves. This aspect is hosted from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on October 14 and 15 and is also free. Get the behind-the-scenes peek at printmaking, ceramics, watercolor, pottery, photography and glass arts. The list goes on and on. You can see the tools used and works in progress. Plus, the studio tours provide an excellent opportunity to meet the makers and explore their creative process. Some even host hands-on opportunities to experience their process firsthand.

tacoma arts month
During October’s Tacoma Arts Month, take a studio tour with Jessica Spring. Photo courtesy: City of Tacoma

If you are the hands-on type, the month of October houses a plethora of workshops bridging generations and mediums. Metal arts sculpting, journaling, intuitive painting, prose writing, you name it; there is a class guided by one of Tacoma’s creatives. You can see workshops and courses available throughout the month by visiting the Tacoma Arts Month calendar.

If you prefer to ponder and bask in the glory of an exhibit quietly, there are museums, galleries and local businesses (from coffeeshops to dental studios) filling their space with art. There are even opportunities to take it all in during your daily commute, whether pocketed in walkable neighborhoods or just off the beaten track destinations. See a full list of exhibit opportunities here.

tacoma arts month
Artist Mark Hudak shows visitors his work during Tacoma Arts Month. Photo courtesy: City of Tacoma

Naturally, October artsy festivities include Halloween-themed fun including a couple collaborations by King’s Books and the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. Among the fun is Spooky Storytime. Hosted at the conservatory, October 28, little ghouls and goblins three to six-year-olds, can get into the spirit with some stories. Another fun festivity, on October 29 Hilltop Artists guide gourd lovers in the process of creating their own glass pumpkin at the Museum of Glass.

There are so many things to discover; it is difficult to even skim the surface. Support our local creatives and connect with like-minded lovers of art and the city of Tacoma. Tacoma Arts Month makes it easy. You might miss a day, but you have 31 of them to choose from.

To learn more about Tacoma Arts Month, click here.

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