Art Walk Spotlight--The Bureau

Art Walk Venue: The Bureau

Owners: Sara Holodnick & Marissa McGrath

The Bureau has been a venue for artists to showcase their work during the Art Walk since it opened in 2014. Owners Sara Holodnick and Marissa McGrath (our very own Operations Manager!) see their business as a hub of art that is hopefully attainable for anyone and everyone. The Art Walk is a perfect way to celebrate art and the cool creation that is happening in Bellingham.

The type of art featured in The Bureau each month is really varied. Sara likes to think creatively about what art can be, so she takes a broad view of what could be featured during the Art Walk. The Bureau has had anything from art on the walls to musicians, and Sara is currently dreaming about how to have some sort of culinary show in the future.

Sara and Marissa’s business idea began to develop after they had both read a book titled Brothels of Bellingham. It raised more questions than answers, so they investigated the intriguing history of the social and economic impacts of the red light district that used to be in Bellingham. The two women started their business in 2011 under the name The Good Time Girls, which gave walking tours of the Bellingham area. With the desire to branch out their business and be a part of the revival that is going on downtown, Sara and Marissa opened their storefront on West Holly Street.

The shop has gifts made by people who live in Bellingham, with the exception of one Oregon artist and one Seattle artist. Everything is uniquely Bellingham and helps tell a story of what the town is, rather than a commercially made trinket. The hand-made gifts celebrate the people here and create a more personal connection with the artists, the people who come into the shop, and Bellingham itself.

Artists that are featured in the Art Walk at The Bureau are sometimes those who have their products in the shop. It is a chance for the spotlight to be on them. Other times, featured artists end up selling items in the shop, so it is a great way for Sara and Marissa to find more unique gifts. There is a fun energy around on the Art Walk nights and it is wonderful to see regulars in the shop each month, Sara said.

People also seem to pop into places they wouldn’t normally go into during the Art Walk, so there is a sort of discovery element on the first Friday of every month. Sara really enjoys how downtown businesses all support each other, especially during the event. She always tries to refer people to other shows they might like, which helps people discover new businesses. The sense of community and relationships that the city is built on lends its hand to collaboration and a stronger downtown, as a whole, Sara said. “Art Walk is an important event. Downtown would lose something without it.”

Today's post was written by Kristin Foster, Media Intern.