October Art Walk

The Allery - Fine Art

Bellingham's newest gallery invites you to join them on their opening day! Featuring dynamic work from Local and Regional Artists. Main Entrance in the alley.


A Sacred Passing

Fundraiser for A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service will be hosting Honoring Our Dead: A Tribute to Day of the Dead and an Irish Wake. Art, music, wine and cheer.


Aslan Brewing Co.

Featuring the laser engraving of the Sunspot series by Jenna Goodman. When she was first introduced to the Laser Engraver she fell in love with the combo of hands-on styles, new technology, inspiration from the outdoors and the creative freedom it all brings.


The Atomic Kitten

The Atomic Kitten is a new Vintage Midcentury furniture home and accessories store. Check out some fantastic Midcentruy artwork as well as a few pieces by Art of Donna Mibus who designed The Atomic Kitten logo.


The Beauty Institute Schwarzkopf Professional

Rocktober: A Tribute to Rockstars. Students of The Beauty Institute-SKP take you on a musical journey with mannequin interpretations of their favorite rockstars, past and present.


Bellingham Folk School

Enjoy "Primitive Fiddles" by Vancouver artist, Linda Jane Schmid. Live fiddle tunes by Cayley Schmid of Polecat.


Bellingham Frameworks

Featuring painters Jay Steensma and Joseph Goldberg. Sculpture by Lynne Oulman.


Brandywine Kitchen

Featuring local artist Melissa Helzer.


Casa Que Pasa

Local artists and community members join together to show their skeleton-themed artwork! Different materials, inspirations, and backgrounds make this one not to miss!


Center for Independence

Artisans – Nicola Noetic, Julia Martin, David Waugh, Mark Hanson. Featuring: Nicola Noetic doing Styrofoam sculptor demo. Special Guest Stars: Laurie and Dennis as "Raveis Kole" debuting their album, “Electric Blue Dandelion” which is #108 on the charts. Sponsored by: Center for Independence.


Community Food Co-op

It’s Co-op Month and in celebration, the Co-op is hosting a very special all-staff art show and musical performance by Checo Tohomaso! We are fortunate to have many talented artists at the Co-op, and look forward to sharing their lovely creations with you! Music: Based in Vancouver, B.C., we are pleased to host Checo Tohomaso who once toured as a backup musician with Marvin Gaye. Checo is certain to get toes a-tapping with a variety of hits from Motown, soul, R&B, and more. Food: Tasty tidbits and sips throughout the store including Coconut Bliss Tarts from the Co-op bakery.


Dakota Gallery

Northwest Pastel Society Members Exhibit.


Fourth Corner Frames & Gallery

"Artist’s Choice 2016" closing reception: the collaborative show between artist and framer showing the creative talents of regional artists and the frame design talents of the FCF staff.



Quinn Dimitroff, fiber artist, will be showing her newest wall hangings crafted from all natural fibers including merino wool and driftwood. Quinn enjoys the feel and smell of these natural fibers and encorporates the muted tones and textures of the Pacific Northwest into her works.


Goat Mountain Pizza

Our featured artist for the October Art Walk is one of Goat Mountain Pizza's employees, Jared Wartman. Jared has a very colorful abstract style and uses acrylic paint.


The Lucky Monkey

Our annual Day of the Dead is here again! Local art will be predominantly featured along with some Mexican and Peruvian art and craft! It is a very entertaining show celebrating Mexico's cultural heritage Dia de Los Muertos!


Make.Shift Art Space

Makeshift Gallery presents "Love Loves to Love," showcasing the paintings of Malissa Perry, a woman with Down Syndrome and autism, and her caregiver, artist Christen Mattix. Malissa’s jewel-like abstractions are paired with Christen’s bold portraits of Malissa, evoking Malissa's radiant spirit. The project brings together adults with intellectual disabilities, caregivers, and the Bellingham community in radical celebration. Overturning stereotypical ideas of ability and disability, artist and model, the exhibit reveals a democratic approach to art practice.


Pickford Art Studios

Come upstairs, take a break, and make your own art gallery exhibit at our drawing party. We have crayons, paper and tape for you to cover the walls with your spontaneous artistic vision.


The Racket Bar Pinball & Lounge

Corey Urlacher constructs assemblage sculptures from bones, Halloween decor, plastic components, and religious statuary. The works reflect an interest in antiquity, the occult, and medical pathology.


Sculpture Northwest Gallery

Sculpture Northwest Gallery is delighted to welcome The Sculptors' Society of British Columbia to Bellingham. In the exhibition titled Clay, Wood, Stone and Beyond, eleven artists with differing art practices, united through sculpture, will present their work.   Feast your eyes on a wide range of contemporary sculpture from the bizarre to the exquisite, from the classical to interactive automata, in bronze, stone, ceramic, welded steel and other mixed media.


Shanti Center for Healing Arts

Come see our new Wellness Center featuring Holistic Skin Care, Massage, Midwifery, Structural Integration, Energy Work, Art by in-house practitioners, mini self care workshops, Labyrinth walk and more! Live music performed by Kelly Holmes and Gentri Watson.


Social Fabric

Monster Doll Mashup! What happens when you mix ceramics and fabric to make a Monster Doll. Come and see what kind of monsterish fun we've had at Baker Creek Ceramics and Social Fabric. Mwahahaahaaaaa.


Third Planet

Horses, owls and hauntingly unique art in acrylic and mixed-medium, Genora brings her own style mixed with art lessons as she explores her 2nd year as a Brush Dancer.


Wandering Oaks Fine Arts Gallery and Art Studio

Presenting art by local artists, from fused glass made in the studio to cast bronze sculptures to pottery. Stop by and see what's new this month.


Western City Center

Western City Center welcomes our local alums and community members to stop by our office during the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk. Check out our space, enjoy some goodies and beverages and enjoy the art on display from Western students, alumni and community members. Featuring calligrapher Kathy Pak and students. 


Whatcom Land Trust

Lorna’s paintings are inspired by old structures: abandoned buildings, weathered boats and rusting trucks. To Lorna’s artistic eye, the fading wood, peeling paint and broken windows provide each image with a personality and a history. Join us at Whatcom Land Trust to see how Lorna brings vivid images of farm animals to life on the canvas. 6-8pm.


Empire State of Cuisine--Hundred North

Empire State of Cuisine--Hundred North

Tim describes Hundred North as modern Northwest cuisine, but does not limit himself to a certain type of fare. He aspires to bring big-city level dining to a community that thrives on being the best of both worlds. Drawing his vision from restaurants in the West Village of New York, where there are smaller dining rooms, great staff and exceptional wine menus, Tim has designed his restaurant to emulate the same principles. 

Gathering Their Own Magic: Dark Tower Games

Gathering Their Own Magic: Dark Tower Games

On a quiet Monday afternoon at the shop, there doesn’t seem to be much happening at Dark Tower Games. Employees shuffle around adjusting, cleaning and replacing products. But come evening time, the shop is buzzing with action. While Dark Tower carries a vast retail inventory, their distinctiveness lies in the mass of events they hold on a weekly basis for tabletop gaming fanatics. 

Vendor Spotlight: Forget Me Not Salon and Spa

Forget Me Not Salon and Spa

Owner: Shannon Morris

Why Bellingham? "I grew up in Alaska and went to college and massage school in Oregon. I came up and visited Bellingham during that time. I have always been drawn to this area. I like smaller communities. Friends from the cities tell me I need to live where there are more people to have a profitable business, but I think smaller communities are better at caring and supporting one another. There is opportunity for growth and for my trades in Bellingham because of its creative, artsy side and advanced education possibilities, especially with cosmetology. AND I am an avid hiker and camper, and an extremely novice mountain bike rider who still loves to ride."

Favorite shop downtown? "Now that is a hard one. But if I had to choose just one, I would say it is a triple tie between Pure Bliss, Terra Organica, and the Farmer's Market. I could go on and on..."

The wait for the next Commercial Street Night Market is almost over. This Friday, from 6-10pm on Commercial Street, you'll be able to enjoy a plethora of dining and retail businesses that you'll only be able to see vend at our Night Market. One of those unique businesses is Forget Me Not Salon and Spa. This is the first event they have ever done, and owner Shannon Morris can't wait to be part of it. "I have heard how fun and lively the Night Market is from folks who have come into Forget Me Not and I am just excited to see it and be a part of it."

Moving here from Colorado, Shannon opened Forget Me Not in October 2014. A massage therapist for over fourteen years, Shannon wanted to expand the scope of her business to be all aspects of cosmetology, and not just massage therapy. "At first I was going to be a nail tech, but I found a passion for all cosmetology had to offer and all I could offer with a cosmetology license," said Shannon. Forget Me Not offers services for nails, hair, and waxing, along with massages.

Shannon's inspiration for being self-employed and owning her own business comes from her parents. After being let go from two corporate jobs, her dad decided to start his own business, with her mom focusing on the billing and filing aspect of the business. "Some people equate self-employment or having your own business with instability and risk. I see it as the opposite and more reliable," said Shannon. Another inspiration for Shannon? Simply loving what she does and helping people. "My inspiration comes from my clients who walk through the door and take time to relax, heal, and rejuvenate as they live their lives."

Be sure to visit Forget Me Not's booth at Night Market, and make your next hair/nail/self-care appointment at their location at 112 Ohio Street. 

Vendor Spotlight: Wander

Owners: Cara Sorenson and Sara Hill

Why Bellingham? "Why NOT Bellingham!! It's our hometown and our favorite place to be (Sara grew up here and I moved here in 1996 for college)."

Favorite shop downtown? "Sara and I both love Sojourn for clothes and Ormolulu for eye candy!!! Amazing vintage goodness."

At the Commercial Street Night Market, you'll find unique, individual, and carefully curated vendors that you won't see anywhere else. One of those vendors is Wander, a vintage furniture business run by two fierce women, Cara and Sara, with a passion for vintage. Wander is a quickly growing business, starting just last year over drinks at Temple Bar. "It's bee a wild ride," said co-owner Cara. "We went to Farm Chicks [nationally-recognized antique show in Spokane] last year and both independently started thinking about selling vintage goods. One night at Temple Bar we realized we were on the same page and began to make a plan."

It took only two months for this idea over drinks to become a reality and for Wander to be accepted into their first show. Since vintage markets are juried, this was a major honor and inspiration to keep at it. And then, just two months later, they were accepted into Farm Chicks as a vendor. "Since then we have been invited to around two dozen markets. It's been fast and furious and we are so pleased with the recognition we have been receiving in the vintage community."

Besides selling their goods, Wander will be soon launching a rental side of their business. Have a wedding or a party you're throwing, and you want a bit of vintage flair? You'll be able to rent unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to have at your event and give all of your guests Pinterest envy. The "Girls of Wander" can even help you style your event, offering their services to help you have your dream become reality.

"Our inspiration is to be creative!" said Cara. "To take items that have a story and a history and breath new life into them. To showcase them in a new and modern way." Feeling a sense of place is so important, especially in one's home environment, and it's a breathe of fresh air to have a business dedicated to helping their clients see the beauty in their surroundings and how to mold it to themselves. "Mixing things together in ways you wouldn't expect to create a unique feeling or vibe. [We love] helping people to express themselves through their surroundings."

Launching at this Friday's Night Market is their new t-shirt line, which is sure to be as stylish and unique as their furniture pieces. Make sure to visit their website and visit their booth between 6 and 10pm on Commercial Street. 




Vendor Spotlight: Jessica Mucha Art

Jessica Mucha Art

Why Bellingham? I attended high school in Bellingham and left here when I was 18 to move to Europe to pursue a childhood dream where I established a new home in Poland and France for 9 years. I moved back to Bellingham when I was 27 to see my family and reassess my life. I was planning on moving back to France when I met the man of my dreams in Bellingham and I’ve been in here for 6 years now and I’ve been on a mission to make Bellingham the best place in the world to live in. Bellingham has a lot of amazing and talented people and I know that with collaborative effort we can transform Bellingham to a vibrant and thriving city. I designed a poster touting how cool Bellingham is which will be available at my booth during the Night Market.

Favorite shop downtown? Penny Lane Antique Mall. The young lady who owns Penny Lane is a dear friend of mine. She has inspired me through my teenage years and I really admire her courage for designing a life according to her. Not only is the owner awesome but her store has fun vintage treasures. 

Our Commercial Street Night Market is known for having vendors you won't see anywhere else. The September edition of this popular event continues that tradition, with unique vendors, entertainment, and dining for you to enjoy. One of those you'll be able to peruse through and be enchanted by is Jessica Mucha Art

Jessica first got involved with the DBP by attending our monthly Morning JAM lectures, and she recently launched her popular Bellingham poster that hangs in the window of our office. While Jessica may seem new to the Bellingham art scene, she's actually been an artist for years. "Showing my art work freaks me out," said Jessica. "I’ve been a closet artist for decades and was heart-broken when I mysteriously lost my best works from art school back in France in 2009. After losing my favorite pieces I swore off making art for a few years but I couldn’t shake it off." 

But like a true artist, Jessica decided to come back to her art. "At the beginning of 2016 I made a pledge to myself to challenge myself to do the very things that scare me," she said. "I believe that we are all put on this earth for a reason, and that each and every one of us has a special gift to share with the world." Even though Jessica is scared to share her work with the world, she has been true to her word and started showing her art this year online via Instagram and now at Night Market. "I really enjoy the vibe of the Night Markets I've attended. I believe that the Night Market will be a fun and an interesting way to show my work."

"I have a hashtag I've been using on Instagram, it's #liveyourtrueessence," said Jessica. "I want to bring out my true essence in everyone I meet and what better way to do that than living mine." 

Jessica and her art will be at this Friday's Commercial Street Night Market, starting at 6pm and going until 10pm. 



Step into Another Era--The Atomic Kitten

The Atomic Kitten

Owners: Paul and Jonna Olenaicz

Why Bellingham? "My wife's job is what brought us here. [Why open Atomic Kitten here] Nobody was doing it, it's unique and not another hair salon, bar, or restaurant. Hopefully it brings business not only to Commercial Street but to other vintage stores." 

What is your favorite shop downtown? "Aladdin's and Penny Lane Antique Mall. They both have some good midcentury furniture that comes through the door."

Midcentury modern, Hollywood regency, glam, glitz, and retro. As you walk into The Atomic Kitten furniture store, an air reminiscent of the Rat Pack movie days envelops the space. A minimalist design contrasted with rich metallics, shiny lacquer finishes and ornate trims give this style its vigor and appeal. 

Owner Paul Olenaicz has always been a fan of all things vintage. His father worked as an art teacher and cultivated his love for both art and antiques. As a transplant of the East Coast, Paul was formerly a professional in the fast-paced advertising industry. After moving into nonprofit work the last 12 years and bouncing from Spokane to Hawaii, his wife and fellow Atomic Kitten owner Jonna found an opportunity in Bellingham.

Appropriate to their love for vintage, Paul and Jonna both enjoy classic Italian Vespa scooters. They found a scooter-riding club called the S.O.Bs (Scooters of Bellingham), and sealed their decision to make the move here.

While Jonna took a position as a physician's assistant at Mount Baker Imaging, Paul brought his branding skills to serve as development director for Cascade Connections, a nonprofit that provides services for people with disabilities. After a satisfying two years of building the organization, Paul now devotes himself full-time to his passion. 

The Atomic Kitten opened last month with a mission to bring the hipness of midcentury art and furniture to Bellingham. Much of their inspiration and business advice come from the owners of The Fab Pad, a similar vintage store in Richmond, BC.

In preparation for their showroom, Paul and Jonna spent their free time hunting through estate sales, Craigslist, Goodwill, and Value Village looking for projects. Once they've found them, items are refinished and sometimes reupholstered in vintage old stock fabrics. 

"I love clocks, furniture, funky lamps," Paul said. "But I'm not a very good picker on the china side. Jonna has a good eye for small items, what I call 'the smalls.'"

When describing the store, Paul said it gives the feel like you're walking into someone's living room. "People walk in here and say, 'this is like the house I grew up in,' or 'this is like my grandparent's house,'" he said. Paul responds jokingly, "Well, your grandparents must be pretty cool."

He admires the style as a time when furniture was well made, and hopes to appeal to customers with the same values that coincided with this era. "It was a different time, and in many ways a more stable time," he said. "It's another period that's in the hearts of a lot of people." 

Whether your love is for Danish teak, Lucite glassware, or vintage eclipse china, Paul and Jonna aim to fill their store with something for everyone to "live midcentury."

Head to 1305 Commercial Street to check out their latest showroom additions.

Today's post was written by marketing intern Ashley Conradi. 

September Art Walk

Allied Arts of Whatcom County

Allied Arts of Whatcom County’s 2016 Gallery Series continues with Roy G. Biv, inspired by all the colors of the rainbow, the show will feature the art of Robert Marki, Yvette Neumann, Gregory Walsh, and Ken Wiener.


Artifacts Cafe & Wine Bar

Artisan chocolates handmade by Evolve Truffles, live music, and outstanding wine, all set in the gorgeous Lightcatcher Museum courtyard!


Artists 12 Pop-Up Gallery

Visit the Artist 12 Pop-up Gallery Invitational in our new space at 1418 Cornwall Avenue with some new artists. You will not forget this event. We are there for one night only.


Aslan Brewing Co.

Featuring stainless steel etchings of wild salmon and other animals by Graham Shodda. Part of his mission is to reuse discarded metal panels, keeping them out of the waste stream, and do a small part to help efforts to restore the ecological health of our environment.


The Atomic Kitten

The Atomic Kitten is a new Vintage Midcentury furniture and home accessories store that will be open late for Art Walk. Stop by The Atomic Kitten and say hi to the owners and checkout some fantastic Midcentury artwork. Also on display will be a few pieces by Art of Donna Mibus who designed The Atomic Kitten Logo. Visit The Atomic Kitten and Live Midcentury!

Bayou on Bay

Featuring photographer, Ann Berget. Ann loves photographing the northern Cascades, the emptiness of the high plains, and just about anything else that might soon disappear. Ann’s images have won a Kodak award for color photography and a splendid ribbon from the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts competition. Eight of Ann’s photographs from 2013 Cuba and the North Cascades Highway are currently on display at Bayou on Bay.

The Bellingham Foundry

Our featured artist is Linda Abrahamsen, who specializes in silver, copper, and natural elements collected from the east and west coast.


The Cabin

The Cabin, Novato, and Redlight are throwing a party for Kat Houseman and her extraordinary wildlife paintings. The Cabin will host a group of her furrier animals, Novato will be full of her birds, and Redlight has a combination of the two with copperleaf accents on larger-scale pieces. Ages 21+


City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department

Join the Good Time Girls for presentations about the rough and tumble past that shaped our city, including ongoing meet and greet discussion. Meet and greet from 6pm-9pm, presentations at 7pm and 8pm.


Community Food Co-op

First Friday Eat Local Dinner Theater from 6-8pm in the mezzanine. Art: Rose Drummond’s artwork pays homage to the rawness and power of the Divine Feminine. Deeply rooted in emerging Goddess culture, she is influenced by myth, symbols, animal totems, nature, and the seasons to influence the deities she creates. (rosedrummondart.com). Entertainment: Karla Mi Lugo is an eccentric and joyous performance artist. With her accordion she whips up improvised melodies that throw people back to the old world, or transports them to the streets of Paris, her voice carries the legacy of Billie Holiday with a new dawn glistening in the twinkle of her eye, and her world-class whistling wildly whirls eardrums into cosmic realms of space. See more at www.karlamilugo.com. Paige Woods is a local Bellingham songwriter recently returned from Boston and excited to be finishing out the summer at one of her favorite places in town. The Co-op deli hot bar will be filled with all-local specials.


Dakota Gallery

Would Have Been Anyways: New work by Kim Balla, Quinton Maldonado, Andrew Robinson, and Tyl Will.


Downtown Visitors Center

Nature - Works inspired by our local landscape by Shawn Pagels, Nancy Canyon and Dedrian Clark.


Fourth Corner Frames & Gallery

“Artist’s Choice” is a collaborative show between artist and framer. Invited artists submitted a diverse collection of unframed “small” works which are then professionally framed by FCF staff.


Goat Mountain Pizza

Featuring artist Kellie Becker. Kellie has a very original abstract style done with acrylic paint and mixed media. Stop by our recently opened new location in the old Film is Truth 24 Times a Second space. Pizza, beer on tap, and draft cocktails.


Honey Salon

Honey Salon presents Honeys Hunnys, A Group Showcase. This September Honey Salon proudly presents a sweet group show featuring the bee-utiful works of Honey clients, stylists and friends. This open theme gallery presentation is meant to showcase the incredible talent of the whole Honey hive. From traditional acrylic and oil, to fiber and collage, this eclectic presentation is sure to bring a buzz. Opening reception, complete with honey cocktails, and sweet treats debuts September 2nd during the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk 6-10PM.


The Leopold

John Seevers makes stylized, adorned longleaf pine needle baskets. He gathers the Florida Long Leaf Pine needles in Florida and finishes the pieces in shellac to preserve their shape. The adornment includes semiprecious stones, wood, found objects and Tenerife weaving. The Florida Longleaf pine needles are found only in the SE United States. John started making baskets in Weeki Wachee in 2006 after retiring to Florida. As he says: " There is a cliché in the US about the person who retires, moves to Florida, and takes up basket weaving. I guess that is me, but hopefully with more flare."


The Lucky Monkey

We present the mixed media paintings of local artist Pamela Whyman. Her new show "Disguised in Color" explores emotional and sensual relationships through the artistic elements of line and form, light, shadow and vibrant color.


Max Higbee Center

The Max Higbee Center Is a recreational center for people with developmental disabilities. All artwork is made by our members.


Novato Shop & Studio

Novato, Redlight, and The Cabin are throwing a party for Kat Houseman and her extraordinary wildlife paintings. Novato will be full of her birds, the Cabin will host a group of her furrier animals, and Redlight has a combination of the two with copperleaf accents on larger-scale pieces.


Opus Performing Arts

Opus is a dance school in downtown Bellingham with classes in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Creative Movement, and Hip Hop for ages 3 to adult.


Pickford Art Studios

Come upstairs, take a break, and make your own art gallery exhibit at our drawing party. We have crayons, paper and tape for you to cover the walls with your spontaneous artistic vision.


The Racket Bar & Pinball Lounge

Local artist and self-taught human, Francis Donovan, creates richly textured and commanding works. Bold narratives mingle with fundamental forces in his impressive show of original paintings


Rae Vena Visual Artist

Rae Vena is a 25 year old traveler, freelance visual artist, and performance painter. You can find her work being featured at festivals and events worldwide.  



Come for the art, stay for the wine and cocktail specials! 6pm - forever. This month, Redlight, Novato, and The Cabin are throwing a party for Kat Houseman and her extraordinary wildlife paintings. Novato will be full of her birds, the Cabin will host a group of her furrier animals, and Redlight has a combination of the two with copperleaf accents on larger-scale pieces. Ages 21+ 


Sculpture Northwest Gallery

Eclectic and Kinetic Exhibition: Sculpture Northwest invites you to explore unconventional and kinetic sculpture that defies pigeonholing.  These interactive and sculptural marvels invite the viewer to completely engage and imagine during this end of summer show. 14 noteworthy Northwest artists participate in this most memorable exhibition on view through October 1.



Social Fabric

Social Fabric presents the amazing world of Clarissa Callesen's art in an exhibit entitled Parts of a Whole.


Studio 5

Our working studio is at Bay Street Village, upper floor. We have bright, colorful, exciting paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylic. Prints, cards, refreshments available. Visitors welcome!


Third Planet

Inspired by over-medicated youth in our culture, Leah uses wild strokes and saturated colors, painted primarily without the use of a brush, to reference the vibrant experiences of childhood.


Unity Care Northwest

Unity Care Northwest, a non-profit federally qualified community health center in Downtown Bellingham, provides an integrated healthcare model offering coordinated medical, dental and behavioral health services. The peer-led Art Group at UCNW promotes creativity and wellness for patients from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise. September theme is art inspired by nature.


Wandering Oaks Fine Arts Gallery & Glass Studio

Come enjoy local art at Wandering Oaks Fine Arts Gallery and Glass Studio. This month we are featuring fiber art from Sharon C. Robinson, paintings by Lori Christensen, and books by Stefanie Fields.  We are still showing glass work, cast bronze sculptures, and pottery.


Waterfront Artists Studio Collective

Visit the working studios of many of Bellingham's best known artists. Chat with the artists, enjoy refreshments, live music and demonstrations.



August Safety and Security Meeting

This month’s Downtown Bellingham Partnership Safety & Security Meeting was hosted at Backcountry Essentials with Katie Franks, Development Specialist at the City of Bellingham's Planning & Community Development Department, speaking in response to requests from neighbors for more information about what was being done at the local level to address homelessness.

Franks began by saying that in response to what has become a statewide and national homeless crisis that “nearly every City department is working to address homelessness in Bellingham.”

She referenced a recent Herald article written by Mayor Kelli Linville, that you can read here.

The Point-in-Time count is an annual organized national count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single day in January. Many homeless individuals, couples and families are on a waiting list for permanent housing, but it cannot be built fast enough and so many people remain on the street or in camps.

It is the City’s goal to bring services to more unsheltered people by “meeting them where they are,” and a low-barrier shelter would help to achieve that end. The City is working with the Lighthouse Mission to identify a location for a shelter in which they could expand their current services, but with slightly different criteria than their current facility. Such an emergency shelter could temporarily house up to 200 people and link them to the services in the city that could help them get permanent housing.

Some basic criteria for a low-barrier shelter include:

  • 5,000 to 10,000 square feet building

  • Light industrial or other compatible zoning that would not be disruptive to neighbors

  • On a bus line that connects directly to downtown services

  • Landlord that is willing to lease as a shelter

The audience had questions for Franks about the City’s plans. When asked if the Planning & Community Development Department had researched successful efforts to fight homelessness in other cities, Franks said that yes, current efforts in Seattle, Olympia, San Francisco and Los Angeles provide many examples from which to learn. The City team is looking to these and other cities for models of successful low-barrier shelters, safe camping and safe parking lots, and tiny home villages that serve the homeless can best be operated.

The Executive Director of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Alice Clark, asked if the City was considering a purpose-built site for the shelter. Franks said that an existing building would be optimal but that they are open to many options at this point in time.

Franks also described a funding challenge. It is a priority of the City to continue to allocate funds toward permanent housing projects. Unfortunately, the amount of time it takes to build permanent housing does not address the immediate need of a growing population who need shelter and services now.

Until a suitable site can be found, the Lighthouse Mission will use their Drop-In Center on Holly Street as a "cold weather shelter" for six months during the colder months. Last year the cold weather shelter was only open on nights that were forecasted to be below 22° Fahrenheit, but this year the Lighthouse Mission plans to keep the shelter open consistently from October through March, 24 hours/day, regardless of the temperature. This shelter will be operated as low-barrier, without religious requirements or sobriety tests. Acceptance to the shelter will be "behavior-based" -- visitors will be expected to follow basic rules of conduct and get along with others.

A new low-barrier shelter would do more than provide a place to sleep for those in emergency need. It would be open 24 hours a day and would help connect people with service providers like Sea Mar Community Health Center, DSHS, the Opportunity Council Homeless Service Center and the Homeless Outreach Team to link people in need with resources to help them find permanent housing.

It has become clear to staff at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership from survey results and conversations with downtown neighbors that residents and business owners would like to begin to identify how they can support those working towards increased Safety & Security downtown. In response, the DBP will be hosting a work group in September and welcome anyone with ideas to improve the Safety & Security of downtown residents and visitors. At this meeting, we hope to identify neighbors and residents who are ready to work for a safer downtown.

If you would like to attend a neighborhood work group meeting next month, please provide us with your email address by visiting our Contact Us page. DBP will be working to secure a location for this meeting and will send out an email once a date is set.

Today's blog post was written by Operations Manager Marissa McGrath.

A Haven for Wellness--8 Petals Yoga Studio

Studio Manager: Susan D’Onofrio

Why Bellingham? “Bellingham is a great place for a yoga business because so many people who live here do so because of their enjoyment of the outdoors. Yoga is a great compliment to all of these activities and a great way to stay healthy all year round.”

Favorite shop downtown? Why? I love downtown Bellingham! There are so many great shops; I could not choose a favorite. There are wonderful places to buy clothes, gifts, shoes and consignment items. And delicious restaurants too!”

In the former home of a Mexican restaurant lies a peaceful sanctuary at the heart of downtown. Nestled into a renovated suite on the building’s second floor, 8 Petals Yoga offers a more intimate class setting compared to other studios. The small classes allow for more individual attention to their students while maintaining a non-competitive atmosphere that welcomes any level of experience.

The studio has been in operation for almost a decade after restorations by real estate developers Ken and Amy Mann. Formerly La Pinata, it’s since been revamped to include its current residents Uisce’s Irish Pub, Brandywine Kitchen and 8 Petals Yoga.

8 Petals Yoga derives their name from the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, an ancient text describing the eight limbs of the practice. Yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar often refers to these appendages as petals in his work to demonstrate the overlapping aspects that flow out from the center, rather than a linear methodology.

“Simply put, 8 Petals Yoga refers to the whole dimensionality of yoga, from the practice of asana (postures), to the innermost and meditative aspects,” Susan said.

Susan has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 30 years, and focuses her work on Anusara Yoga. Its positive philosophy of seeing the good in everything is more inclusive and welcoming to all levels of experience. Her outlook is to see yoga as less of a goal-oriented practice, but instead a process that provides benefits along each step of the way both physically and mentally.

“It is a wonderful way to balance emotions and the effects of seasonal ‘blues’, which affect many people during the Northwest winters,” she said

The variety in style is vast between the eight different independent instructors at 8 Petals Yoga, but each aim to achieve a common goal that is “ancient and timeless,” Susan said. It is an invitation to reflect, and find more peace within through the meditative practices.

Visit 1317 Commercial Street Suite 203 to join one of the many classes offered at 8 Petals Yoga.

Today's blog post was written by Marketing Intern Ashley Conradi.