Artists Ryan Merz, Dorothy Gleser and Dominic Montello showed their works at Wicklund Real Estate.
Artists Ryan Merz, Dorothy Gleser and Dominic Montello showed their works at Wicklund Real Estate.
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Unlike many similar events in Seattle, the Madison Park Art Walk only happens once a year, its opening reception drawing crowds to meet artists, drink wine, dine on small bites, and even get in a slow dance or two during live musical performances. Artist Kathryn Meyer said she thinks that makes it more special.

For many artists like Meyer, it was their first time at the art walk or even sharing their work with the public.

“I’ve been an artist my whole life, but I’ve always just done it for me,” Meyer said.

She said her partner suggested she apply for the art walk, which HomeStreet Bank has been coordinating since 2015. Meyer showed her ink-pen art at Madison Park Veterinary Hospital during the Sept. 13 opening reception.

“I use symmetry to try to make an impact,” she said, “and simple lines to try to create movement.”

More than 50 artists have their works on display in 29 businesses along East Madison Street, where they’ll remain through the end of the month.

“It’s a lot of work to set up this many artists,” said Dominic Montello, another first-time Madison Park Art Walk artist.

The Seattle-based painter works primarily with oil paints, and shared a number of pieces from a series that addresses human self-worship from inside the Wicklund Real Estate office. The paintings feature people in various settings, but with their skin missing and bones and muscle exposed.

“I love the idea of making something that should be grotesque and making it very beautiful and emotional,” Montello said.

He said he uses diagrams for references, and he’s sold a few to doctors and physical therapists, which makes him feel confident he has the form correct.

“I feel like if it wasn’t right at all, they would kind of laugh at it,” Montello said.

An artist friend who had a good showing at a previous Madison Park Art Walk encouraged him to apply, he said.

Montello was joined by artists Ryan Merz and Dorothy Gleser at Wicklund on Sept. 13.

Gleser has been painting with oils for the last six years, and often her work depicts her family and friends. This was her first art walk.

“I’ve always loved it. I love color. I love paint, and I had the time, and also had the motive,” she said, “because one of my dearest, dearest friends died, and I thought, ‘I’m going to paint out my grief.’ And now I paint things I love.”

Madison Books participated in its first art walk, having opened earlier this year. Bookstore manager James Crossley said it was great to see so much foot traffic in Madison Park at night. The neighborhood lost its only bookstore a decade ago, and the opening of Madison Books also provided the right venue for nine neighborhood authors to share their published work during the art walk. Crossley said the bookstore also hosted two sculptors.

Another new business that opened earlier this year and participated in the art walk was Gray & Gray Home, which sells antiques and home decor.

Artist Julie Diane set up her ceramic pieces near the front of the store. She moved to Seattle from California several months ago.

“I was just drawn here,” she said. “The last four years I would come up here.”

Portland had seemed like an option at one point, she said, but Seattle won out.

Diane works at Martha E. Harris Flowers and Gifts in Madison Park. Her “Garden Blend” piece on display was a cigar box filled with ceramic cigars stuffed with dried flowers. She’s worked in ceramics for nearly a decade.

The Letter Farmer was back for another year in the Bank of America parking lot. The mobile stationery business was created by Rachel Brandzel Weil almost four years ago. She owned Read Card Company in Madison Valley for 20 years before that.

“This came about as I watched the digital age rise, and I thought, ‘What’s the difference between a handwritten letter and an email?’ I feel we speak from the heart when we handwrite a letter,” Brandzel Weil said.

Children and adults were invited to sit down at tables and write and illustrate postcards for friends and family during the art walk. A stamp was provided, and people could put their finished postcards in the mailbox on the back door of Brandzel Weil’s mobile business. She said she’s not only had success taking Letter Farmer into schools, but also during corporate events.

Those still wishing to see the many works of art on display around the neighborhood can find a map at madisonparkartwalk.com.