Arts, Culture & Heritage in Washington State
A fascinating mixture of agricultural, maritime, industrial and high-tech influences contribute to Washington State's cultural heritage. This is a land of loggers and farmers, ranchers and cowboys, fishermen and sailors, high-tech visionaries and ambitious entrepreneurs. This is where commercial aviation took flight. It's where computer technology was transformed from a science fiction abstraction in the minds of most Americans into an everyday tool. It's also the place where some of the planet's coolest rock stars and greatest songwriters picked up their first guitars and found an audience.
Why is Washington State such a creative hotspot? A great American crossroads, Washington State is a proud mixture of Native peoples and people of Latino, European, Asian and African descent. Living in a relatively mild climate where food was abundant, the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest were able to provide for their basic needs with enough time left over to develop some truly amazing art. Aside from its striking beauty and complete originality, what makes the best native art of the Pacific Northwest so compelling is its fusion of a highly developed aesthetic sensibility with an extraordinary sense of place. This is art that seems to embody the very essence of the Pacific Northwest in its portrayal of iconic, mythic creatures such as ravens, orcas, bears and eagles—native survivors celebrated in the art of native survivors.
The state’s cultural and historical character was also formed by a unique amalgamation of maritime, agricultural and industrial influences. Maybe it’s because Washington was a relative latecomer to the Union (becoming a state in 1889), but somehow Washington State history still seems close to the surface and accessible here. You can feel that continuity and connection in thousands of intriguing destinations, such as Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the Yakama Nation Museum & Cultural Heritage Center, Lewis and Clark Trail State Park and along the Pioneer Highway in Snohomish and Skagit counties.
Search our calendar to find arts, culture and heritage-related Washington State festivals and events.
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