Tuesday, April 15, 2008


A funny thing happened on the way to the forum: Three talented artists bought a Pike Place Market business. The forum? Rome. The Market business? The Illuminator, an art gallery. Let's connect the dots.

While in Rome studying art, two students of a University of Washington art professor discovered the professor's husband was planning to sell his Market shop. Erin Crawford and Mary Enslow pursued idea and after graduating with degrees in interdisciplinary visual art and sculpture, respectively, they bought the business along with partner Cheryl Robinson, a ceramics artist. Cheryl and Mary had worked together at a local arts and events production company, One Reel.

Together, they opened Twilight Artist Collective in January 2005. The shop is an art gallery and boutique with a focus on funky, fresh, "poppy" (as Erin says) urban art created by local artists. They try to appeal to everyone by making art accessible and reasonably priced. There are original paintings, handmade jewelry, mixed media artwork, clothing, cards, handbags and accessories.

To keep it fresh, Erin says, "It's always an evolving show." A featured artist of each month gets a whole wall section on which to display his or her artwork. The first or second Sunday of the month there is a "Meet the Artist" reception at 1 p.m. open to the public.

When they started their business, they represented five artists. Today that number has grown to 100. They seek new artists through scouting, peers, friends, and they also curate artwork for local coffee houses and art spaces, so word has traveled. Erin says they get submissions from artists on a weekly basis.

A number of artists who got their start at Twilight have gone on to have shows in California and New York, a point of pride for the trio. Erin says these artists remain quite loyal to Twilight, too. While going on to greater fame, these same artists remain dedicated to the local art scene by still selling their wares at Twilight and keeping art affordable.

While being at Pike Place Market has given them international exposure just by who comes here, they are now finding that they are becoming a destination gallery, too, now that they deal with so many different artists. The "degrees of separation" are getting less because so many of the local artists know each other.

All three women have such a passion for making this gallery a success, they all work separate jobs to help pay the mortgage. A couple work in restaurants. Each works two days a week in the gallery and they take turns working Sundays. "We're working to live the dream," Erin says.

~ Pike Place Market Org.

Original URL: http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/frameset.asp?flash=true


"...TwAC has succeeded in building a colorful, high energy collective of artists whose work range from painting to sculpture to fiber and everywhere in between. What truly makes them special is their unpretentious demeanor and tireless dedication to creating retail opportunities for local artists."

~Seattle Art News
Sunday January 13, 2008

See the full story @ http://seattleartnews.blogspot.com/