By Emily Rostek
As the plague of Pacific Northwest rain begins to calm, students and community members prepare for the 11th Annual Alder Arts Walk. The Alder Arts Walk serves the Tacoma area by bringing together University of Puget Sound students, local artists, children, professors, community members and more through artistic expression. The walk is a day-long celebration of art and music in about 5 or 6 houses around the University of Puget Sound campus. As the day goes on, the walk shifts from house to house, changing themes, genres and vibes. “Alder Arts Walk is a really amazing experience. It brings together visual and performing arts in a unique format and is a fantastic way to spend a day,” senior Cole Jackson said.
Each year, the walk is organized by Puget Sound students. This year, junior Hannah Houser and senior Xander Polyzoides take the reigns.
“I feel like the big difference is that at this point Alder Arts Walk is an institution,” Houser said, “It feels like a tradition or ritual that has become a big part of the art and music scene on campus and in the Tacoma area.” And that is exactly what it has become. The walk is an event that many students look forward to; it benefits all who attend through creativity and self-expression. Although the Alder Arts Walk is put on by students, the organizers make a clear effort to break down Puget Sound borders to engage in the community.
“I feel like it’s one of the main times where the [Puget Sound] bubble is broken and we incorporate artists and musicians from Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, Olympia and beyond!” Houser said. In the past, the walk has included Seattle bands like Health Problems and this year is featuring local artists like Oh, Rose and Transylvania.
Alder Arts Walk began in 2006 and each year it has a different theme. However, this time around, organizers decided not to have a theme in hopes that this would bring in more submissions. Themes in the past have included “Afterlife,” “Flowers” and “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.”
from place to place and each house is usually a different theme with like a different genre of music,” senior Shanna Williams said. Some houses have facepaint and others have sparkles; the creativity does not stop at the end of a set.
Alder Arts Walk is special because it includes all kinds of art. This year, there will be a comedy hour as well as a flea market. Houser made clear that Alder Arts Walk is a safe space. In addition to a variety of genres, comedy, 2D and 3D art installations, “part of making the walk a safer and inclusive space was making sure we seek out and feature artists with diverse identities,” Houser said.
Because Alder Arts Walk is not sponsored by the University of Puget Sound, students use social media like Facebook to market the event. This pushes the organizers to create an experience that integrates the Tacoma and Seattle community members with the student body. The Facebook posts are often accompanied by student-made graphics and posters.
The Alder Art Walk fundraisers are also advertised on Facebook and usually consist of a house show with a $3 cover charge. In doing this, the Alder Arts Walk team is able to put on fun and successful events featuring local artists to raise money to have a day-long event featuring other local artists. The cycle that Alder Arts Walk creates by providing weekend entertainment that breaks down the boundary between the Puget Sound bubble and the Tacoma/Seattle community is one that has been the highlight of many students’ college career.
“Last spring I saw a band called Richie Dagger’s Crime who killed their set,” Jackson said, “They had a trumpet player who absolutely slayed. I definitely wouldn’t have seen them if they weren’t at Alder Arts Walk.”
The entire process of Alder Arts Walk (the fundraising, community involvement, and artistic expression) brings a renewed sense of creativity and brilliance that is unique to the Pacific Northwest.
Alder Arts Walk will take place on Saturday, April 22 and starts at 12:30 p.m.