Business Spotlight: West Seattle Art Nest

By Reeve Washburn, Art Walk Coordinator

Artsploration. It’s not only fun to say, but hints broadly at something really fun to do! For owners Althea Kalivoda and Mary Murphy of West Seattle Art Nest, their unique approach to art creation means just that: come in, relax and enjoy the process. They have created a space where everyone, young and old, can get their art on without worrying about supplies, set up, clean up, or, most importantly, judgement. People who come to Art Nest love that they can be their own creative self, uninhibited. In turn, Althea and Mary share their love for community, art, and endless wonder and imagination. 

An Art Space for and by the Community

Althea and Mary took over Art Nest in early 2017 and have integrated their lives into the exuberantly paint-splattered and glittery studio on California Ave SW. They pour their hearts into the programming, and are ever driven by the challenge of a new project. 

“West Seattle Art Nest is not only our business, but our life, our passion.” Mary Murphy, co-owner, West Seattle Art Nest

Art Nest believes everyone can benefit from making space for creativity in their lives. While the majority of events – open studio, birthdays and camps – are for kids, they also host events and workshops for teens and adults, like Bob Ross-themed paint nights and Pinterest-inspired projects. Art Nest has also collaborated with local West Seattle businesses like Resting Waters to celebrate the passing of beloved pets in art and Mission Cantina for Frida Kahlo-inspired portraits and craft cocktails. As Althea says, “the more elaborate the theme, the better!” They are open to host or facilitate any and all ideas that capture the imagination and nurture the creative spirit.

Frida Mission Cantina Art Nest
Frida Night at Mission Cantina, with West Seattle Art Nest

Artists as Teachers

If you are an art lover, you are already familiar with many of the Art Nest instructors who do double-duty as featured West Seattle Art Walk artists, and have been coming into the studio, either on their own or with their children, for years. Jenna Howell, showing at Viscon Cellars this quarter, is the resident watercolor expert and leads classes for seniors and adults on Fridays. Cara Chamberlin exhibited her watercolor paintings in May and will do a kids watercolor camp as well as the Mosaic and Mandala camp this summer. Calligrapher Claire Braby came from Alair because her classes were becoming too popular for the available space. Mariah Ordonez, art teacher at Genesee Hill elementary school, has spearheaded the adult paint nights in addition to exhibiting at Art Walk. Althea and Mary think Art Walk aligns perfectly with Art Nest’s business concept, and often wonder why it took them a year to get involved! But now they are excited for their second season, and ready to showcase the beautiful work of many more inspired artists.

We just love watching the creative process unfold and are always looking for ways to collaborate and bring more art into our community.” Althea Kalivoda, co-owner, West Seattle Art Nest



Artsploration in Action: Summer Fest 2019!

Kids and adults are invited to join Art Nest in creating a special community mural during Summer Fest, July 12, 13 and 14, at the Junction Plaza Park. Each day, festival goers can contribute to painting a different “Art Landmark” – the Schmitz Park Crocodile, the Whale Tail from Whale Tail Park at Alki, and the Griffin from Lincoln Park – as a representation of West Seattle’s wonderful natural and artistic history. The original sculptures are all artworks themselves, and also represent the unique character of our part of the city and spirit of fun for kids who play on or around them. Althea and Mary thought this theme would represent Summer Fest perfectly, since community is always a strong focus of the festival. They invite everyone to stop by and celebrate West Seattle! (Hours for mural creation: Friday: 3-7pm; Saturday: 12-8pm; Sunday: 12-5pm. Once completed, the mural panels will be dedicated and hung in the California Ave. Walk-thru, date to be announced.)

Summer – and Beyond – at Art Nest

Come see the art of Ginger Goldman at the July 11 Summer Fest Eve Art Walk! Ginger is a lifelong artist, and art is her true passion. She is a local artist and student and her artwork has been displayed at SAM.

Already underway, Art Nest has summer camps for every interest and artistic skill set. Kids can do everything from one-day camps with fun themes like Space and Spa Day and three-day camps that concentrate of exploring and developing skill sets in a specific medium such as watercolor, mosaic, or sculpture. Interested in getting out of the studio? Art Nest brings art to the outdoors with camps in Lincoln Park and Alki, and will set up and host birthday parties and art experiences in homes, parks, country clubs or community rooms. See website for more details – and remember, the sky’s the limit for your creativity!

West Seattle Art Nest is at 4138 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Read more Business Spotlights on our West Seattle Art Walk blog: Inner Alchemy, The Office of Rebecca Mitsui, Northwest Art & Frame, Wild Rose’s,  West Seattle Garden Tour + Capers Home and Canna West Seattle + Culture Shop.




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