Immerse yourself in the Arts in Nature Festival at Seattle’s Only Campground

With interactive arts and music surrounded by nature, Lonely Arts Club talks with Communications & Development Associate of Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association Sara Parolin about the upcoming Arts in Nature Festival happening in Camp Long (Seattle’s only campground!) this upcoming weekend.

Many Seattlites refuse to cross the dreaded West Seattle Bridge! Are there any particular highlights that will get people to come to the Arts in Nature Festival? 

Personally, I make the commute from Northgate to West Seattle daily, and the Arts in Nature Festival fills my heart (and makes the drive oh-so worth it) because it’s an open space for community members to experience joy together, to be inspired together and to gather in celebration of the art, nature, and neighborhood that surrounds us. The Arts in Nature Festival will make you forget that the “Seattle Freeze” is even a thing, plus you’ll get to experience some of the greatest talents around like Cherdonna Shinatra, AU Collective + Coyote Central and Tiffany Wilson.

More importantly, the 20th annual Arts in Nature Festival (AINF) is completely free to attend! How often do you get the chance to experience works from over 60 local artists submerged in the lush nature that makes our city so unique, let alone without paying a dime? 

Local favorites like Hollis Wong-Wear, Thaddillac, Show Brazil!, Northwest Film Forum, Trick Candles, Yirim Seck, Totem Star, The Cabiri and many more will be at Camp Long helping us celebrate 20 years of AINF. If you don’t often make the trip over the West Seattle Bridge, this is a perfect opportunity to experience a whole new part of our city—this includes Camp Long, Seattle’s only campground and where the festival has been held the last 20 years. 

Naomi Wachira, 2018 Festival, photo credit Miguel Edwards

Did I mention there will also be food trucks (including vegan and vegetarian options), a beer garden and a huge participatory art piece? Kiddos and adults can both leave their mark on the 20th annual Arts in Nature Festival and create their own masterpieces to take home. 

My advice: Skip the south-bound express lanes and you’ll avoid some of the congestion that comes with downtown traffic. Stop by the farmer’s market in the Junction on Sunday and grab some Thai food at Bang Bar while you’re there, I promise you won’t regret it.

What makes Camp Long the perfect location for this arts celebration?

Camp Long stretches over 60 acres and includes hiking trails, open green space and 8 rustic cabins in which artists will take up residency to host immersive, multisensory art installations all weekend long. It still blows my mind that Camp Long is the only (the only!) campground in our city and that it’s such a well-hidden gem in the heart of West Seattle. 

Camp Long is a forest tucked between the construction sites, the high-traffic streets and the accented neutral high-rise apartment buildings that are popping up on every block. Home to the Arts in Nature Festival for decades, Camp Long boasts the most beautiful parts of our city—the old-growth forests, the blooming wildflowers, and the iconic Pacific Northwest wildlife. 

How long has this event been running? What are some interesting changes/differences that have occurred as this festival has progressed?

We’re so excited to be celebrating 20 years of the Arts in Nature Festival! AINF was first operated by Nature Consortium, a local nonprofit that worked to enhance our local environment while connecting people, arts and nature. Since Nature Consortium merged with DNDA in 2016, our staff has proudly continued the Arts in Nature legacy with the same mission at heart: to connect people, arts and nature.

Degenerate Art Ensemble, 2018 Festival, photo credit Miguel Edwards

In past years there’ve been admission fees to take part in the festival, but this year we’re excited to provide this two-day event at no cost to attendees. Last year, too, AINF took place in late August, amidst the looming forest fire smoke and terrible air quality. Unfortunately, these fires may become more regular for our Seattle summers, and this is why we’ve moved the festival to June this time around. 

Since its conception, the Arts in Nature Festival has served as a connector between our organization, our local community, our city’s wide array of talented artists and our surrounding environment. This core goal of the Arts in Nature Festival has remained a constant for the past 20 years, and this year’s celebration will be no exception. 

Can you tell me more about the “interactive art projects” that will be present at Arts in Nature?

Interactive art projects take on a variety of forms at the Arts in Nature Festival. Eight of the cabins at Camp Long will be transformed into immersive art installations, and each cabin artist will host a creative activity that relates to their work. This could mean interacting with the installation itself, such as with Haein Kang’s data-driven “Wind from Nowhere” exhibit in cabin 4, or contributing to the cabin atmosphere such as by adding to Dakota Camacho’s public playlist in cabin 9.

Beyond the cabins, each performance location at the Arts in Nature Festival—the Meadow, the Pond, the Amphitheater and the Lodge—will at some point host an interactive art project. These range from learning breakdance moves with Vicious Puppies in the Lodge, hula hooping alongside Hoopsmiles at the Amphitheater, “Dream Hatching” with Constance Mears and playing percussion in Benson Smith’s musical performance near the Pond, creating your own canvas paintings in the Meadow and the list goes on. 

Live Painting, 2018 Festival, photo credit Miguel Edwards

From yoga to illustration, there are opportunities for everyone to actively take part in one of the many elements of this year’s Arts in Nature Festival. To scope out what kind of fun you may get into, check out our festival website here.

Any further details you want us to know?

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) is a community 501(c)3 organization based in the North Delridge neighborhood of West Seattle. Our mission is to integrate art, nature and neighborhood to build and sustain a dynamic Delridge, and the Arts in Nature Festival is a live portrayal of the magic that happens when these three values intersect. Learn more about DNDA’s environmental programs, affordable housing sites, and Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on our website.

WANT TO GO TO THE ARTS IN NATURE FESTIVAL?

Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave SW, Saturday, June 29th (11am – 8pm) and 30th (11am – 6pm)

Sara Parolin is the Communications and Development Associate with Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) in West Seattle. Learn more about DNDA (and Sara) at www.dnda.org.

 

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