30th annual Bellevue Festival of the Arts

Streets lined with canopies and concessions were home to thousands of original works of art for the Bellevue Festival of the Arts 30th Anniversary, from July 25 to 27. The event took place in the heart of Bellevue, near Bellevue Square and Cost Plus World Market. Visitors crowded the streets, which were lined and guarded with traffic police herding people towards whichever direction they intended to go.
The bustling venue offered local and not-so-local artists an opportunity to showcase their works to the public over the span of a few days, giving them the chance to build relationships with potential clients. Some artists were locally based, coming from Poulsbo, Bellingham and Spokane. Others, however, came from across the country to this art fair. One painter from North Carolina described the Bellevue Festival of Arts as “one of the top five shows in the country” in terms of sales. Part of the success comes from the fact that the Bellevue Art Museum holds their ARTSfair at the same time, drawing another crowd who also mills through the Bellevue Festival of Arts.
Products for sale were diverse, from paintings and drawings to elaborate sculpture and home furnishings. Bronze sculpture was popular, different forms colored by reacting the surface with varying acids. Some works of art were large and simple, like a huge canvas with a horned owl in black, to the small and complex, like dichroic glass work, horizontal multilayered sculptures featuring colored glass and various metal plates. A small amount of farmers’ market-type food was sold: garlic spreads, popcorn of various varieties, even organic and natural dog food, for the pet owner with discriminating taste.
Different artists had different objectives at the show. For some painters and artists, direct sales to customers made up the entirety of the revenue made at the fair, but others, such as a sculptor who makes wrought-iron pieces (such as a bannister) for houses, 75 percent of revenue comes from commission work after meeting customers at the show who want a custom piece.
In addition to the artwork and jewelry available, plenty of food was for sale in several locations. Near Bellevue square was gyros, Thai food, barbecue, Philly cheesesteaks, scones, Puerto Rican food and ice cream. Another location for food was the Galleria, which had a smaller selection of barbecue, gyros and sausages.