Arts | Outings + Activities | South Sound

Tacoma Arts Month Illuminates the Arts for Families

Go inside artists' studios, find a theatrical costume, get a free 'Nutcracker' sneak peek and more frugal, artsy fun

Tacoma Arts Month opening party | Photo credit: City of Tacoma

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 important 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 a small sampling of especially awesome activities, plus one thought-provoking contemporary art exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum worth putting on your calendar. Bonus: Attend events, share your experience and you could win cool prizes!

Tacoma Youth Theatre Costume Extravaganza
Comb the racks of Tacoma Youth Theatre's costume shop for Halloween-worthy items and props for your own fantastic costume creation.

When: Sunday, Oct. 2, 1–6 p.m
Where: Tacoma Youth Theatre, 924 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: All items for pay-what-you-can

Family Story Hour Filled with Art and Imagination by Karen Robbin
Hear author Karen Robbins read from her books, including Care for Our World and create a work of art inspired by life on earth.

When: Saturday, Oct. 8, 10–11 a.m.
Where: University of Puget Sound Collins Memorial Library, N. 18th and Union Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406
Cost: FREE

Explore It Scavenger Hunt image
Explore It Scavenger Hunts

Tacoma Scavenger Hunt
Gather your family team and get ready to dash around Tacoma's theater district, Wright Park and other locales, answering trivia questions and completing challenges. Each team needs a phone or tablet for the hunt. You decide which challenges to tackle. Earn points and win prizes!

When: Saturday, Oct. 8, 1–3:30 p.m.
Where: B Sharp Coffee House, 706 Opera Alley, Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: $10/adult and $5/child ages 11 and under; preregister by Friday, Oct. 7

Tacoma Arts Month studio tour | Photo credit: City of Tacoma

Tacoma Arts Month Studio Tour
Dozens of local working artists — 57 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. 15–16, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 34 studio locations
Cost: FREE

Tacoma City Ballet | Photo credit: Connie Riggio

Tacoma City Ballet Nutcracker rehearsals
Catch a sneak peek as Tacoma City Ballet dancers rehearse portions of their annual holiday production, The Nutcracker & the Tale of the Hard Nut.

When: Saturday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16, noon–4 p.m.
Where: Tacoma City Ballet, 508 6th Ave #10, Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: FREE

Ekphrastik poetry workshop with Write253
Teens invited to join Michael Haeflinger for a "WordPlay" workshop centered around the exhibit 30 Americans on view at Tacoma Art Museum.

When: Thursday, Oct. 20, 5 p.m.
Where: Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: FREE

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts celebration
Potter fans gather to compare costumes, concoct potions, play games and more.

When: Saturday, Oct. 22, 1–5 p.m.
Where: Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: FREE

Campy designed by Lucy Clark (American, age 6) and created by the Museum of Glass Hot Shop team

Kids Design Glass at Museum of Glass
The last Sunday of the month the hot shop artists create a glass sculpture (two, actually) based on the chosen design of a kid age 12 and under. Watch as the hot shop makes one for the youth designer and one for the museum's collection.

When: Sunday, Oct. 30, noon–5 p.m.
Where: Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, WA 98402
included with admission ($5–$15; ages 5 and under free) or membership

Hank Willis Thomas 'Who Can Say No to a Gorgeous  Brunette?' from the Unbranded series. Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection
Hank Willis Thomas Who Can Say No to a Gorgeous Brunette? from the Unbranded series, 1970/2007 Digital C-print Edition 1 of 5 31⅛ × 30 inches | Photo courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection

30 Americans exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum
Making its west coast debut at TAM, this exhibition showcases works by contemporary African American artists working from the 1970s to today. The works include paintings, sculpture, photographs and more, all drawn from the Rubell Family Collection in Florida. The works of art illuminate the artists' views on African American identity in the United States and the collection invites visitors to reflect on their own views and experiences.

When: exhibit on view through Jan. 15, 2017
Where: Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Cost: included with admission ($13–$15; ages 5 and under free or $40/family) or membership

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