Olympia’s Book Fairy– Browsers Book Shop

After a delightful phone interview with Browsers Book Shop owner Andrea Griffith, I decided on making a much overdue visit to Olympia’s downtown for an in-person visit. I admit, it had been years since stepping into what I recalled as a dusty, yet charming little bookstore. After Andrea shared details of her amazing reformation of the space (2015), I could not resist the temptation to satisfy my curiosity and exercise my lifetime addiction the paper book. 

Upon my arrival to Browsers, a warm welcome from Andrea and an invite to browse away. Within moments I’m transported, as if by time machine, to childhood and monthly Scholastic book deliveries to the classroom. The crisp-pages, seemingly unturned by another, coupled with the slightly inky, wooded, vanilla scent is as intoxicating now as it was then. That familiar feel and scent of a new book or older book ignites a chill of anticipation in so many us for the storied adventure that awaits. 

A downtown Olympia landmark for 80 years, and boasting a steady history of women owners, Browsers Book Shop has been transformed from the renditions of the past by Andrea. She has poured her heart and love for books and into this addictively inviting space. Visitors are swept into a two-level mezzanine style library reminiscent of the bookstores we see in our favorite rom-com movies. Discover books, chocolate, journals, precious greeting and note cards, puzzles, writing instruments and more!

Known by many as “The Book Fairy,“ Andrea made home deliveries of goods purchased on their website during the peak of the pandemic crisis. “I got my kids involved in the effort too!” Delivered were carefully packaged online purchased books and goods, with puzzles being a surprise favorite. “The reward in seeing the happy faces of our customers and still having the ability to make that connection with people was a blessing. We absolutely love our community and feel thankful for the tremendous support,” stated Andrea.

Small downtown businesses like Browsers Book Shop need us now more than ever. Don’t miss online and in-store exploration of Browsers book clubs, events, staff recommended reading lists, and the 20% educators discount. For more information, visit https://www.browsersolympia.com/.


“Music from Home” with Lakewold Gardens

In a time where our social experiences are limited and unique art is more difficult to find, Artistic Director Joseph Williams, in collaboration with Lakewold Gardens, offers a new way to enjoy incredible music without even having to be in a concert hall. This house concert series, titled Music from Home, features performances, compositions, and visual pieces of art from underrepresented artists and musicians.

The idea for Music from Home began as a response to the overwhelming prevalence of eurocentric males in the world of classical music. Williams recognized that concert-goers were missing out on so much of the musical world when they were only exposed to a certain demographic of artists, and he wanted to change that. “By authentically centering programming around womxn and people of color,” he says, “This series rejects tokenization and invites each artist to paint their own narratives.”

In a usual year, the Music from Home season is a series of “inclusive social ceremonies of wine, beer and musical storytelling” at the Lakewold Gardens. This year, the 2020 season is coming to a close with a virtual Music from Home concert, performed by tenor Andrew Turner and entitled A Long Way from Home.  

Andrew Turner, performing in “A Long Way from Home”

“Music and art allow artists to convey ineffable feelings, thus inducing empathy in our hearts and catalyzing connectivity with others in shared space,” Williams says. “The word ‘home’ evokes comfort, belonging, self-formation.” Whether that be from our individual homes while watching A Long Way from Home via Facebook this month, or while roaming the beautiful Lakewold Gardens in a future performance, listeners can enjoy a sense of calm and unity with the performers and with their fellow audience members.

For more information, or to watch the virtual concert when it is available, visit the Lakewold Gardens website.


Holiday Cheer at the Washington Center

Working in partnership with the City of Olympia, the Washington Center is announcing plans to bring some much-needed cheer to downtown Olympia this holiday season, in the form of a reimagined movie/film theater!

Showing movies will, of course, require extensive social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols, as mandated for all movie theaters in Washington State. “However, with the Governor’s recent announcement,” says Jill Barnes, Executive Director, “we’ve spent the week reimagining and rescheduling our plans.”

The Washington Center and Harlequin’s State Theater will have a festive exterior with garland and magical theatrical snow, thanks to many donors and supporters. The Washington Center’s interior lobby spaces will be festive with decorations designed and provided by long-time supporter and former board member Dorrie Carr and her daughter, Shelley Carr.

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 28 at 12:00 PM, a series of organ concerts featuring organist Sharon Stearnes on the Center’s historical Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ will be piped out onto Washington Street to accompany shoppers in downtown Olympia. The Washington Center is also partnering with Nova Scotia’s Celtic music legends Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy’s, to virtually present Celtic Family Christmas at Home! The performance begins December 12 at 7:00 PM, and is available through December 31. Tickets are available on the Center’s website.

From November 28 through Dec. 13 each Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM– 5 PM, free gift wrapping will be available in the lobbies of the State Theater and the Washington Center. Free gift wrapping will also be available at the State Theater Dec. 19 and 20. “Bring your receipt from a downtown merchant and we’ll wrap your gift for free!” Barnes says. “This is just one of the many ways we’re helping support our local downtown businesses during this difficult time.”

“If restrictions are lifted after December 14 as is currently planned,” says Barnes, “we will offer free holiday movies to a socially distanced in-person audience.” Washington Center presented movies are free with a $4/ticket reservation fee. Most tickets will be sold in packs of four to maximize capacity while accommodating physical distancing. Barnes notes that COVID-19 protocols apply to all shows, and the entire holiday schedule is subject to Safe Start Washington regulations.

In addition, Ballet Northwest will be presenting a film version of The Nutcracker at the Center if permissible, and Studio West filmed Boundless, which will now be shown at Shelton’s Skyline Drive-In Theater.

“The holidays are all about making memories with family and friends,” says Barnes, “and that’s never been more important than this year of hardship. We’re tremendously grateful to the City of Olympia for their support in this effort.”

For more information about all the fun holiday festivities happening aat the Washington Center this year, or to see a full list of potential films to be shown, visit https://www.washingtoncenter.org/holidaycheer/.

“South Sound Selects” Opening at TAM

Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is proud to announce the opening of South Sound Selects: Community Choices from the Collection on November 21, 2020! This will be the first exhibition to open at TAM since it closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. It features 27 guest curators from the South Sound community. In addition, TAM will debut a new virtual museum experience for digital audiences.

“The concept for this exhibition continues our exploration of providing a platform for promoting multiple voices and interpretations of artwork. We want to challenge the assumption that only museum curatorial commentary can provide appropriate perspective and elucidation,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “We are also proud to announce that this exhibition will be our first virtual experience and provide digital audiences an opportunity to see a TAM exhibition as never before.”  

Guest curators selected 37 artworks from TAM’s permanent collection that were made from the 1920s to the 2010s. The work selected ranges from local art stars like Qwalsius – Shaun Peterson (Puyallup) and Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) to internationally known artists like Jacob Lawrence and Carrie Mae Weems and explores a variety of interests from reflections on place to race to the impacts of COVID-19.

TAM worked with local photographer Jason Comerford of Jason Comerford Photography (https://jasoncomerford.com/) to make 3D scans of each gallery with a Matterport Pro2 3D camera. The series of 134-megapixel 3D scans were stitched together to create a virtual version of the exhibition in the gallery which can be complimented with additional texJason Comerfordt or resources. The program allows for digital visitors to move throughout the virtual space which will be accessible through the TAM website.

TAM members will be invited to the Museum’s first virtual exhibition opening on December 3 at 5:30 pm where they will have the opportunity to meet many of the guest curators and hear about the process of creating the exhibition. Any members of the press who would like to request a private tour may reach out to publicrelations@tacomaartmuseum.org.

To Visit TAM

·         Advanced purchase of timed reservations can be made online at www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

·         Wear a mask to enter and visit the Museum. Should you forget your mask, they will be available free of charge at the welcome desk.

·         Leave coats and large bags at home if possible as coat check and lockers will not be available.

·         Follow the predetermined one-way path through the Museum to help ensure compliance with visitor spacing and capacity limitations.

·         Utilize the contactless and motion-activated hand sanitizer stations that will be available at various locations in the Museum.

For more information, or to view the virtual exhibit beginning on December 3, visit the TAM website.

Washington Center for Performing Arts CENTER Stage Virtual Gala

Alan & Laurie Lee

The 5th Annual CENTER Stage Virtual Gala was hosted virtually by Olympia’s beloved Ann Flannigan. Through the Washington Center for Performing Arts’ supportive local donors, the event was able to raise over $64,000 to further the arts in our state and communities. Donations are still welcome to sustain the arts and the Washington Center itself through structural updates. “Community support continues to be needed to support the arts now more than ever,” says Executive Director Jill Barnes. “We are grateful for each and every donation.”

A recording of the event has been posted on the Center’s YouTube channel in case you missed the festivities during the live gala. The event was free to attend, and guests were encouraged to order drinks and catering from Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchens, which were delivered in advance to be enjoyed during the gala. For more information about the Washington Center, visit www.washingtoncenter.org.

Destiny City Film Festival-Submissions Open!

Stay tuned for the eighth edition of the Destiny City Film Festival (DCFF), launching this spring from Feb. 26 to March 7, 2021. The festival will be held in a hybrid format, featuring virtual screenings and limited in-person events. 

“Though we are transitioning to a hybrid format, the high quality of films and other programming will remain the same. We’re thrilled to continue sharing the magic of movies and power of storytelling through this new virtual platform,” said Emily Nakada-Alm, DCFF Founder and Executive Director.

If you’d like to enter your creative material to be considered for DCFF, film and short screenplay entries will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 6. Submissions are free for Pierce County residents, and discounted rates are available for students and Washington state residents outside of the County. The screenplay competition, sponsored by Tacoma’s own Creative Colloquy, offers a cash prize and two VIP passes to the 2021 festival to its winner.

In addition to 10 days of film screenings, the Festival, funded by Tacoma Creates, will feature informative and entertaining panels and workshops curated by the DCFF Advisory Board.

The 2020 Festival featured a slate of groundbreaking, diverse films, including: 92nd Academy Award Winner for Best Live Action Short “The Neighbors’ Window,” written and directed by Marshall Curry; DCFF’s Storyteller’s Award first prize winner “Miller & Son,” directed by Asher Jelinsky; and Audience Award winner “Tree #3,” written and directed by Omer Ben-Shachar.

Founded in 2014, the Destiny City Film Festival is a homegrown, true-Tacoma community event, inspired by our city’s nickname – The City of Destiny – and built to showcase and celebrate cinematic storytelling from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. DCFF’s mission is to use the power of vibrant cinematic storytelling to curate an engaged community audience for independent film.

Visit DestinyCityFilmFestival.com and DCFF’s social media pages to stay up-to-date on the Festival’s virtual and limited in-person structure.

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with TAM

Like many other wonderful annual events this year, the 16th annual Tacoma Art Museum’s Día de los Muertos Festival is going virtual this year.  Regularly drawing thousands of visitors, the annual festival will recreate the event using a new online version through a website.

Visitors to the site will be given the opportunity to create art from afar, enjoy performances, and develop a virtual ofrenda (altar) exhibit from October 31 to November 15.  Altars are beloved centerpieces at the annual festival at TAM. The altars will now be assembled in the homes of participants and will be filled with offerings of food and drink to nourish the spirits on their long journey back home.  The altars often contain flowers, candles, clay figurines, sugar skeletons with the names of the deceased, and personal messages to the spirits.

Día de los Muertos is an annual celebration that spans centuries, generations, and cultures across Latin America with roots in Mexico. Celebrants believe that every year the souls of the dead can enter the human realm to reunite with loved ones, but only if they are remembered on the Day of the Dead.  Tacoma Art Museum’s annual Día de los Muertos Festival, hosted in partnership with Proyecto MoLe and Centro Latino, has grown over the past sixteen years, bringing together community organizations, schools, families, and individuals to create altars, remember loved ones, celebrate culture, and share with community.

“Safe social distancing means TAM will not be able to host thousands of visitors on November 1 as we originally planned, but our commitment to this festival has not wavered. Art is Always Open at TAM and this festival is a perfect example,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “While we will miss the lively performances, beautiful ofrendas and the tapete in the Museum lobby, this year’s multi-day event will allow for new experiences that have never been part of the celebration before. During this incredibly challenging year, we saw an even greater need for people to come together to share the love and memories of those we have lost.”

For more information about the Día de los Muertos Festival, visit   www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

“Art is Always Open” with Tacoma Art Museum!

This month, the Tacoma Art Museum is launching an art awareness campaign to share the creativity, beauty, and expression that the museum offers with the community. The campaign, called Art is Always Open, is meant to raise awareness of the programs and experiences that are offered by TAM and other South Sound arts organizations for our local communities.

“We’ve had great success in both transforming and developing new programs into the digital space. From video exhibition tours and lectures by scholars to our series of TAM at Home art making projects based on art from our permanent collection, there are a variety of options to use art for inspiring hope and stimulating creativity. These two basic human needs have become even more important during these challenging times,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “As we re-open our doors on October 9, we recognize that some people may not yet feel comfortable visiting TAM in person, therefore we will continue to explore and experiment with digital offerings. With the Art is Always Open campaign we want to raise awareness of opportunities to engage and connect through art.”

Though TAM’s doors will be open again on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting October 9, its role in the community as a place for lively discussions, community celebrations, and educational opportunities has shifted into digital spaces through at least the end of 2021. Via TAM’s website and social media, TAM at Home will continue to offer free at-home art making activities, access to TAM’s permanent collection online, and other new programs.

For more information, or to check out an online program through Art is Always Open, visit https://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/.

Tacoma Moon Festival Celebrates Eight Years

Traditionally, the Tacoma Moon Festival is an annual outdoor celebration hosted by the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation at the Chinese Reconciliation Park. The festival’s goal is to honor the rich diverse cultures of the Puget Sound region over the last one hundred and fifty years.

This year, though, the eighth annual Tacoma Moon Festival will not be a live, in-person event. Instead, imagine a beautiful graphic representation of the Park that you can visit from home on any electronic device. As you move around the map on your screen, visitors will be able to: stop by the welcome information booth and take a video tour with docents that have intimate knowledge of the park and its history; visit the Ting to watch a wide selection of dance and musical performances from Tacoma’s most beloved heritage groups and local talents; learn about resources and programs in the community; and pick up a recipe for mooncake or download a fun activity for the kids at a vendor booth.

The festival will also feature an online Asian Teahouse, with experts sharing brewing techniques, buying tips, and tasting workshops. Additionally, Beer and Wine Garden will offer special Moon Festival libations for local Tacoma in-store pickups. 

The festival posters for this year feature a Jade Rabbit, which is traditionally a symbol of selflessness, piety, and sacrifice in Chinese culture. The Jade Rabbit is this year’s festival mascot to promote symbols of healing and the virtue of giving in our communities. Festival t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise with this special design will  be available for order. The new Moon Festival  website will be unveiled on Thursday, October 1, 2020 and will remain online permanently. To learn more, please visit CRPF’s festival info page.

Experience Art Safely with the Tacoma Art Museum

Since their closing on March 13th, the Tacoma Art Museum has been working hard to create a reopening strategy. Now, we’re pleased to announce the tentative reopening of TAM on October 9, 2020. New procedures will be in place to offer an art respite and nearly contactless experience for visitors, so you can enjoy the artistry while staying safe.

“We know that it will be a different experience for visitors with these precautions in place, but the ability to enjoy the galleries and exhibitions will not be diminished,” says David Setford, TAM’s Executive Director. “These new healthy museum procedures will enable long-awaited public access to art for visitors.”

Though TAM’s doors will be open again, other opportunities and events will continue to be offered digitally through at least the end of 2021. TAM”s website will continue to offer free at-home art making activities, access to TAM’s permanent collection online, and other new programs, so be sure to check out the website for a purely at-home art experience.

In accordance with state guidelines, TAM will require the use of masks for staff and visitors ages 5 and older. Visitors will also be spaced six feet (two meters) apart and will follow a dedicated path through the Museum.

To allow for enhanced cleaning, Museum hours will change to 10 am – 5 pm Friday through Sunday. The Museum Store will be open during museum hours and will limit visitors to 5 at a time. Temporarily, TAM’s Art Studio, café, and hands-on gallery interactives will be unavailable, as will access to the lockers and coat check.

If you or your family would like to visit, here are a few tips you should know!

  •  Wear a mask to enter and visit the Museum. Masks will also be available free of charge at the welcome desk.
  • Leave coats and large bags at home if possible, as coat check and lockers will not be available.
  • Follow the predetermined one-way path through the Museum to help ensure compliance with visitor spacing and capacity limitations.
  • When needed, utilize the contactless and motion-activated hand sanitizer stations that will be available at various locations in the Museum.

For more information, and to purchase advance timed admission tickets, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org.