Monday, July 3rd, 2017
Out on the Town: Downtown Bellingham Art Walk with Kids
Hilary Parker

This spring the kids and I have been expanding our horizons with trips to Downtown Bellingham on the first Friday of the month for the Art Walk. Sure, we’ve been to the Whatcom Museum, but seeing the art in the studios where it is created gives it another dimension.

Galleries, shops and restaurants all participate in the Art Walk. With nearly 40 venues around town regularly participating in the Art Walk in any given month, nearly any block you stroll down will have art for you to experience.


Puppets displayed at Children's Art Walk, Bellingham


To know exactly where to find the participating venues, look for printed maps at Art Walk locations or access the map online at You can also simply look for the balloons that signal a business participating in the Art Walk.

Look out for these ballons while you’re out for Art Walk! They will lead the way.

When I used to work downtown, I had a pretty good grasp on what shops and restaurants were moving into the neighborhood. Now that I don’t come downtown every day, the Art Walk is also a great way to discover new shops that weren’t on my radar.

We recently visited the Art Walk on two occasions. Once for in May for the Children’s Art Walk, featuring the art of local schoolchildren, and again in June, which featured the Kapow Pop Up Plaza in the parking lot of the Herald Building on State Street.

My kids liked seeing artists in action and, in some cases, getting in on the action themselves. During the Children’s Art Walk, Allied Arts hosted a puppet show and offered kids the chance to make their own puppets. At the Pop Up Plaza, they played with giant-sized Jenga and Connect Four games.

Giant Jenga set, Bellingham Art Walk, Kapow Pop Up Plaza


Visual art, performance art, music – you’re likely to find a little bit of everything at the Art Walk. But perhaps the best way to describe the Art Walk is to show you.

Enjoy this tour in pictures, then make sure to see it for yourself on the next first Friday:

Kulshan Middle School musicians, Downtown Art Walk, Bellingham

Kulshan Middle School music students play surrounded by the art of their classmates displayed at Vital Climbing Gym.


Peter James Photography Studio, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

My kids got the chance to talk to photographer Peter James in his studio. They have met Peter before socially, but now they see another dimension of him. My daughter commented: “It was fun to talk to the artist and find out what he was going for in the photos.”


Puppet Show at Allied Arts, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

Puppeteers Christian Ann Smith and Andy Koch and friends performed the “Breman Town Musicians” for families at Allied Arts.


Artist demonstration, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

Artists create decorative doors at the Kapow Pop-Up Plaza.


Atomic Kitten, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

Fun, funky and festive, downtown puts its best foot forward for the first Friday Art Walk. Especially with shops like Atomic Kitten, located Commercial Street.


Examining the "pasta dress" at Social Fabric, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

Taking in the “pasta dress,” (and yes, it’s made of macaroni) at Social Fabric.


Live statue, Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

You never know who you’ll meet at the Art Walk. You may even run into a live statue, or two.

Downtown Art Walk

First Friday of each month

6-10 p.m.

For more family fun ideas, see the full list of Hilary’s articles.

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About the Author:

Hilary Parker is a writer and editor living in Bellingham. She is the mother of two.