People trickle in and out, spilling over into Pike Street; with beers in their hands they chuckle and chatter to their friends. It’s a Thursday night on Capitol Hill and any passerby would assume that a Seattle bar has officially opened its doors for the night.
A closer look reveals more than a dark crowded pub, a colorful maze of art in progress awaits inside The Summit, a gathering hall. Stands fill the small space, each one creating a temporary home for an emerging or established artist. The artists sits tucked within their stencils, acrylics and canvases as they continue to work on their next creation. Each stand is only a few feet away from the next, and with so many neighbors, the artists do not sit in silence. A vast web is created as artists and onlookers work their way around the hall: laughing, talking, and, most of all, fundraising.
Thursday through Saturday (Nov. 10-12) the Center on Contemporary Art held their 24th Annual 24- Hour Art Marathon & Auction. The event was a three-day celebration of contemporary art through creativity, community, and controlled chaos. Over 20 artists came together to stay up for 24 hours straight creating art pieces that will surmount to over 100 total by the end of the marathon. These pieces were then sold at the New Wave Ball and Auction on Saturday to raise proceeds for CoCA and the artists.
“I’m so happy that the event is here, especially with everything that’s going on in the world right now. I think we all need this distraction.” said Lorrie Cardoso, co-chairmen of the event, and member of the board of directors at CoCA. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, 50 percent of the proceeds go back to the artist.”
Onlookers were welcome to come during the marathon to see the art in progress. The artists set off at 10 a.m. Thursday and continued until 10 a.m. the next day.
“When I do work at home, I’ll do two or three hours, stop, and come back the next day. It’s so much more intense. Sometimes you can get good results that way though because you’re less standoff-ish about what you want to do,” said Daniel Williams, an artist at the event.
The Artist Preview Party was held on Thursday as the artists were in the thick of their creation. It became a part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk and helped raise additional donations for CoCA. Possible buyers, friends, and fans of art could socialize, ask questions to the artists, all while adding some fun to their creative process.
“It kind of takes me back to college. We are all in a room creating and inspiring each other. I do this at home anyway, so it’s more fun with friends,” said Branden Duncan, an artist partaking in the event.
The fundraiser happens annually, and has been in planning since May. Over 160 people are present at the auctions, consisting of two silent auctions and one live auction. As a buyer or onlooker, it isn’t difficult to find a piece of art that connects to you. A quick look around the shared space and you will see watercolor, oil painting, comic book drawing, photography, jewelry making and much more.
“There are so many different creative minds. I get to collaborate, see what people do, how they do it, why they do it,” said John Osgood, an artist for the event.
Simply calling it an art fundraiser and auction does not give the event justice. As you walk in, it is evident that CoCA and the artist pride themselves on creating a fun environment where art lovers can drink beer, make conversation, show their technique, and provide a space for the creative process.
“A lot of the time we are isolated and off on our own, and to see this gathering of artists working intensely are very inspiring,” said Elizabeth Lind, a volunteer for the marathon and artists. “I think it’s really important that art really represents the city and how we support the arts. This organization is vital to artists. It’s a good resource that’s a nonprofit.”
CoCA has been around for 35 years and they don’t plan to be leaving anytime soon. The arts have been engrained in Seattle’s culture; the ‘starving artist’ is never without support in the emerald city.
Erika may be reached at