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    Art galleries are necessary for fine art appreciators today, but superfluous for everyone else. Yet I like them. I don't know why. Maybe I'm a fine art appreciator.

    The phrase "fine art" originated around 1767 (at least that's what the Webster dictionary on the web tells me) and is defined as art (such as painting, sculpture, or music) concerned primarily with the creation of beautiful objects. In 1767, that definition would function effectively. Ordinary things in ordinary people's surroundings were ugly and dirty then.

    Shift focus to fortunate Americans today, and it is a different story. Clean, smooth and symmetrical objects enrich our surroundings since technology is able to merge beauty with everyday form. When great things come in such abundance, the value most certainly decreases, so that beautiful objects are not even considered "fine" anymore.

    However, when objects are placed outside the context of our daily lives and into galleries, they are deemed special and demand our attention and praise (I wonder if that'll work for me). The works are not necessarily beautiful (some are often an acquired taste), but they can be extraordinary, creative and fascinating for our psyche. Sometimes. But it is not so much what is presented as where it is presented.

    So here is a list of where you could start, since that's the important part, according to me. Art galleries are everywhere, in the most remote streets to the busiest of avenues, from the boonies of Issaquah to downtown Seattle. These are the ones I enjoyed, one way or another.

    By the way, museums are not galleries, since you can't buy any of the exhibited works at museums and they charge admissions (except Frye Art Museum). Art galleries have the difficult task of convincing people to fork over thousands of dollars for their exhibited works. That's a good thing, because the gallery owners will often host receptions to attract buyers. Wine and food are sometimes synonymous with receptions, hence hungry and poor college folks should invest some interests into art galleries. It usually means free food once a month and you can't go wrong with that, so start practicing your art commentary and learn some artistic words, like "abstract expressionism," "pre-raphael," "lithograph," "fauvism," "dada," "art nouveau," "minimalism," etc.     First Thursday artwalks - This is the most important event for Seattle galleries. Every Thursday, art galleries open a little later, usually until 8 p.m. (their definition of late is still a mystery to me). And the first Thursday of every month, most galleries open new exhibitions and host receptions (alert). To coincide with this event, street musicians and vendors crowd the streets of pioneer square (where many galleries are concentrated) to provide a street-fair atmosphere. Bunch of hip people meander the streets of Pioneer Square, walking into the galleries to check out other hip people...I mean works of fine art. And like I said, receptions. Besides Pioneer Square artwalks, there are also Downtown and Kirkland artwalks.Pioneer Square galleries:Davidson Gallery 313 Occidental Ave S., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 624-7684 Mainly a gallery showing more conservative modern paintings, it nevertheless has diversity. The lowest level is devoted to feature exhibitions that change periodically, usually monthly. The rest of the gallery has more conservative works, like the various landscape ink prints in the back exhibition room and the copper engravings of the upper level. Their exhibitions are rarely weak, but rarely stunning either.Emerald City Fine Arts 317 1st Ave S., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 623-1550 Arguably the most ambitious and successful gallery in Seattle, this venue features permanent works from more than 30 artists and feature exhibitions from the biggest names in modern art, like Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, and Alexandra Nechita. Never disappointing.Tule Gallery 316 First Ave S., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 748-9904 The best Mexican art gallery I've ever scene, their paper mache works are exquisite. Their sculptures, ceramics, and furniture are also beautiful. Feature exhibitions are upstairs, usually paintings.Glasshouse Studio/Gallery 311 Occidental Ave S., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 682-9939 A fun place to be, they present their works well in a good layout and the lighting is refreshing. What they exhibit is self-explanatory.Foster/White Gallery 123 S Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 622-2833 This is another very ambitious gallery, even larger than Emerald City, but mainly exhibiting local Northwest artists. Very hospitable and good receptions, this is one of the most popular galleries in the Northwest.Downtown galleries:Center on Contemporary Art 65 Cedar St., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 728-1980 Their 7,000 square foot space is covered with a concrete floor that boasts coats of eroding paint. Nice touch. They exhibit liberal modern arts that are often stunning but an acquired taste. It's a risk, and you might be disturbed or shocked or bored or confused, but hey, you might like it after all. Never know until you get there.William Traver Gallery 110 Union St., 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 587-6501 Glass is their main focus, and they exhibit some very creative glass works that turn the material into a expressive device of endless possibilities. Often their sculptures and multi-medium artworks shine new light on, well, light, employed to project images on walls or to illuminate only parts of the work or even the room. Their approach will make you contemplate about the mystery of perception.Art Bar 1516 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 622-4344 Grab a glass of beer and ponder the funky paintings and sculptures in this bohemian-style bar. Their motto is "experience Soho in Seattle."     Well, I think we're better than Soho. Uh, maybe not. But we've got a decent art scene too. It's you people's job (well, mine too) to develop a community in which the air we breath and the broad walk we stroll across screams out "we're hip and artistic." It's a noble cause, almost as important as feeding the homeless and giving during Christmas, which all of you should do as well. So go out there and do your thing. #hide#show http_user_agent="Lynx"#show Previous article Next article Copyright©1999 The Daily University of Washington  

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