The Bellevue Festival of Arts, lauded by many as the East Sides’ premier art festival, has been a big part of Bellevue’s ever-growing arts scene, the incredible Bellevue Arts Weekend and the community at large since back in 1984. Now, 33 years later, the festival is poised to have its best year yet.
It all began when a group of artists decided the traditional route of the for-profit fine arts fair was not for them. Instead, they wanted to create an event with a stronger sense of community and a culture of celebrating creativity and the spirit of the arts, with less focus on financial gain. What started as the dream of a small group of artists has now been a favorite annual event of East-siders for 33 years, an event that artists are excited to be a part of, a trailblazer for the art fair scene and a wonderful addition to the community.
Formerly known as the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest (CCNW), the BFoA has grown steadily over the years to include not only local artists, but artists from across the U.S and beyond. The award-winning, carefully curated show features art works of various mediums in a unique venue that marries the beauty of Pacific Northwest nature with an interesting and welcoming urban-esque vibe. All that in an open-air format with tree lined paths leading you from stunning piece to stunning piece.
Always keeping their “by artists, for artists” motto and love of community at heart, attendees of the BFoA are invited to view and purchase the available art works as well as directly meet the talent that created it. The lineup for this year’s event includes, as each year does, an amazing group of artists, including acclaimed local talents Michelle Aitken, Justin Hillgrove, Bob Wilfong, Francisco Bautista, Sharrey Doré, Gunter Reimnitz, Pepe Moscoso, Kate Larsson, Ashmita Gulati, David Lutrick, Juli Adams and more.
Attendees are also encouraged to make it a family affair with a fabulous new part of the BFoA- Aubrey’s Art Corner, where kinds of all ages (and their parents!) are encouraged to create their very own masterpieces! Aubrey’s Art Corner encourages imagination, joy and creativity, in the spirit of its late namesake, artist and dear friend of the BFoA, Aubrey Morgan who believed that “Inspiration is the most organic thing our minds can grow”. Pratt Fine Art Center will be at Aubrey’s Art Corner on Friday (July 28th) from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Friday at the festival will also feature representatives from the Bellevue Farmers Market in the food court offering a ‘taste of the season’, while Saturday offers a taste of Tibetan culture with a live performance of traditional Tibetan dances from the young dancers of the Tibetan Language & Culture Class at the Tibetan Association of Washington, beginning at noon.
With so much to do, you’re bound to get hungry- so it’s a good thing that the BFoA features a fabulous and diverse food court! Enjoy a wide variety of cuisine available ranging from classic fair favorites like elephant ears, corn dogs, gyros, snow cones and more to unique options like lotus wraps, dim sum and a Nepalese Thali plate. YUM! Bonus- the seating area of the food court is shaded, so you can enjoy your tasty treats AND beat the heat. That’s a winning combination!
Live music is also on deck for the festival with planned performances from some well-known and beloved local groups. Enjoy classical melodies from the Seattle Philharmonic Cello Choir, Indian/Afro-Cuban tunes from local group Anjuman, a performance from local non-profits organization Musicworks NW’s youth band, and more!
Truly offering something for everyone, the Bellevue Festival of Arts remains one of the favorite and most unique art fairs around, for good reason. With so much to do, see, hear and taste, it’s still easy to see that the true spirit of the festival is and always will be the community around it. This is demonstrated in their yearly commitment to partner with charities on the local or global level and donate the BFoA proceeds to their cause. This year’s charitable contributions and community partners include Teen Feed, L’Arche Noah Sealth of Seattle, American Indian College Fund, CERF-Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Education at Elevation, and more.
The Bellevue Festival of Arts is truly a standout part of Bellevue Arts Weekend and a celebration of the rich artistic culture in Bellevue and across the Pacific Northwest. It’s a must for every Eastside art lover and a great way to spend a weekend in July!
When: Friday July 28-Sunday 30, 2017
Where: NE 8th & Bellevue Way, across from Bellevue Square
Hours: Fri and Sat, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
When: Friday, July 28, Saturday 29, & Sunday 30, 2017
Where: Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts Museum
Hours: Friday & Saturday: 9:30am – 9:30pm, Sunday: 10am – 6pm
When: Friday, July 28, Saturday, July 29, Sunday, July 30
Where: NE 6th Street and 106th Avenue NE, Downtown Bellevue
Hours: Friday and Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm