Many maritime-themed art activities and events are scheduled to take place throughout downtown Tacoma during the Tall Ships festival, June 30 through July 5. Live music, artisan and vendor booths, art exhibitions, art-making activities, and demonstrations of traditional maritime skills are all part of this five-day event.
People have an opportunity to enjoy contemporary and maritime-themed musical acts at noon each day in Thea’s Park, as well as roaming street entertainers along the water between Thea’s Park and Alber’s Mill. The festival also features special children’s programming, including pirate school, scrimshaw carving, model-boat building, seamanship training, and face-painting.
1. Museum District Activities
The downtown museums have organized activities surrounding the citywide celebration for adults, children, and families. Visitors who have purchased a Tall Ships Tacoma wristband will receive discounted admission at $5 per person at Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum, and Museum of Glass throughout the festival.
2. Tacoma Art Museum
Enjoy live music, and participate in chalk art on the museum’s outdoor plaza. Inside, vote for your favorite Tall Ships® poster created by local community members, and create your own marine signal flag. In addition, explore the museum’s current exhibitions, and watch live carving demonstrations by local Native American artists.
3. Museum of Glass
See the Tall Ships up-close from the museum’s outdoor plazas, and shop the museum store’s sidewalk sale for sea-related glass items. Inside the museum, examine the art in the galleries, watch live glass-blowing in the hot shop, and participate in mermaid/man-making.
4. Washington State History Museum
View the museum’s new exhibition of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and explore the Tall Ships Tacoma Art Show with more than seventy maritime-themed works created by local artists, on view at the History Museum through July 24. The museum will also present a large LEGO display featuring 50 boats in a maritime setting by TrainBuilder productions. TrainBuilder productions will also be on-site throughout the weekend building an 8-foot model of a real tall ship.
5. Other Art-Related Activities and Exhibitions
Working Waterfront Maritime Museum — The exhibit “How Sailing Ships Touched Tacoma,” focusing on the influence of sailing vessels on Tacoma’s growth, will be featured. There will also be a collection of historic small watercraft, a children’s activities area and projects on display in the boat shop. Derek Lundy, author of “The Way of a Ship,” will speak July 1. Admission to the museum is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors 55 and older and children ages 3-12.
Freighthouse Square — Visit the Freighthouse Square Art Gallery to examine the nautical-themed exhibition, “Tugs, Ships, and Marine Art,” on view
June 25 through July 25. This exhibition features interpretive fine art depicting marine life and maritime transportation created by Northwest artists.
Maritime Art Show 2005 — Examine this free maritime art exhibition sponsored by the Rainier League of Arts at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum.
“Movement Under The Sea” — Watch live glass blowing and make your own paper weight to take home for $25 at Bonnie Burns Glass Blowing Studio & Gallery, located at 1334 S. Fawcett Ave. in downtown Tacoma. Call (253) 627-6556 for more information.
Face West — See sculpted figureheads created by local artists, and placed along the south end of Thea Foss Waterway to greet the incoming Tall Ships. The figureheads represent historic ship adornments of good luck and prosperity, and serve as guardians of the Tall Ships festival in the same way the ancient sculptures were guardians of the vessels they adorned.
Tall Ships Photography Exhibition — See photographs of Tall Ships by author/photographer Thad Koza, who has sailed all over the globe on these magnificent vessels. The exhibition is on view through July 9 at the University of Washington Tacoma library located in downtown Tacoma. For more information visit the UW Alumni Web page.
In addition to art exhibitions and activities at various galleries, museums, and locations throughout the city, painting stations will be set up along the Foss Waterway, where artists will create lasting representations of the visual beauty of the Tall Ships Tacoma Festival.