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Tacoma Arts Month Illuminates the Arts for Families

Go inside artists' studios, find a theatrical costume, see family film shorts and more artsy fun during October 2017

Nancy Chaney

Published on: September 26, 2017

Tacoma Arts Month opening party | Credit: City of Tacoma

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It can be easy to fall prey to the idea that the arts are too inaccessible, too expensive or (gasp) too boring for kids. Heck, some of us grown-ups wonder whether we have the requisite attention span to appreciate the arts. But let's not sell our kids, ourselves — or the arts — short by leaving unexplored this powerful and all-ages medium of expression.

Every kid with a fistful of clay or set of crayons understands art. How do we help them make the connection between the joy of making "art" and the vital role in communities played by "the arts"?

Enter Tacoma Arts Month. Tacoma has dedicated the month of October to showcasing a wide range of accessible and interactive arts activities. The month-long roster of events includes workshops, hands-on experiences and up-close demonstrations, plus readings, film screenings and music, dance and theater performances. Tacoma Arts Month promises something for everyone, and offers an easy way to view a selection of events that are especially for kids and families: filter for "Children's Program" in the category drop-down menu beneath the calendar.

While dozens of events cater to kids, we've pulled out seven especially awesome activities for families. Bonus: Attend events, share your experience and you could win cool prizes!

Kaleidoscope: Tacoma Arts Month Opening Party

When: Wednesday, Oct. 4, 6–9 p.m.
Where: The Spire, 710 S. Anderson
Cost: Free, all ages and open to the public; no RSVP required

Kick off Tacoma Arts Month with amazing the music of Chromotagraphy and others, West African and other dance performances, film screenings and popcorn, hands-on activities for families and appetizers. No-host bar for the grown-ups.

Family-friendly shorts from The Grand Cinema

Turn up for a collection of delightful short films about advenutre, friendships and growing up. Free Top Pot doughnuts and Smith Brothers milk to the first 100 attendees. Note this program is put on by The Grand but takes place at the Blue Mouse Theatre.

When: Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m.
Where: The Blue Mouse Theatre, 2611 N. Proctor
Cost: $8

Tacoma Arts Month studio tour | Credit: City of Tacoma

Tacoma Arts Month Studio Tour

Dozens of local working artists — 42 of them! — open their work spaces to visitors to view their tools, learn about their inspirations and ideas and ask questions about their artistic process. Each studio will feature a family-friendly, hands-on activity or demonstration. The tour is self-guided and drop-in. Use the interactive map to plan your route. Tip: Download the Studio Tour Passport, visit at least eight studios and be entered to win some original artwork.

When: Saturday–Sunday, Oct. 14–15, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Check out the map of studio locations
Cost: FREE

Paper Trails craft supplies | Credit: Karen Perrine

Paper Trails 2017

Celebrate all things paper with Tacoma Book Artists. Think super-fun stuff like collage, letter press, book art, embellishments, paper crafts and more; there'll be demos and a make-and-take project.

When: Saturday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: King's Books, 218 St. Helens Ave.
Cost: FREE


Tacoma Musical Playhouse costume sale

Comb the surplus racks of Tacoma Musical Playhouse's costume shop for hats, jewelry, vintage clothing and more Halloween-worthy items and props for your own fantastic costume creation.

When: Sunday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m.–3 p.m
Where: Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 Sixth Ave.
Cost: Costs vary

Spooky Story Time with King's Books

Settle in among the plants of the Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park for an afternoon of spooky stories and other ghoulish Halloween tales, just right for kids ages 3–6 and their grown-ups.

When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 3 p.m
Where: W.W. Seymour Conservatory, 316 S. G St.
Cost: $3 suggested donation

A Night at the Movies Costume Concert

Tacoma Youth Symphony Association invites families for a fun night of music, when it lets its hair down, so to speak. Instead of more formal classical music and attire, musicians wear costumes and perform familiar music from popular movies. Audience members are encouraged to come in costume as well.

When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m
Where: Urban Grace Church, 902 Market St.
Cost: $17–$25

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