After hopping its way around the globe – from Singapore to Amsterdam to New York and every chic city in between – the Affordable Art Fair is finally making a stop in Seattle and you won’t want to miss this once in a lifetime family-friendly event that brings together obtainable art, artists that are renowned both locally and worldwide, and an opportunity to purchase the art you see, varying in price from $100 to $10,000. And while this could very easily be an event that you would scoff at bringing your kids to, the Affordable Art Fair has dedicated itself to being attractive to families, with activities that are meant to foster the love of art in your kids and expand their budding artistic minds. Put it on your calendar for November – it’s the perfect way to fill that post-Halloween void!

Art Goes Kid-Friendly

You could still be shaking your head, thinking that there’s just no way an art fair could be kid-friendly. Every parent has been to an event or two that claims to be kid-friendly, but ends up being a burned-out teenager in a coat closet with some old ripped up coloring books and broken crayons to entertain your kids. Kid-friendly event FAIL. We’re giving props to the team at the Affordable Art Fair for bringing in some experts in marrying kids and art, LittleCollector, a gallery that strives to make contemporary art accessible to all kids. They will be hosting activities for kids throughout the entire fair weekend, including artist lead workshops for kids to make some art themselves, a Children’s Lounge where families can take a little time-out from the fair to chill out and more.

You won’t want to miss the specific children’s tours of the fair – there will be one on Saturday and one on Sunday, each at 11:30 am, and each being led by a kid-friendly artist that will take them around the Affordable Art Fair and open their eyes to the galleries. The tour on Saturday will focus on seeing the fair with their five senses – a fun and fresh new way for them to look at art!

Parents, don’t hesitate to take your kids through the actual galleries at the fair as well. There’s no need to limit your activities to the kid-friendly kind. The exhibit should be fairly stroller-friendly (go with the maneuverable version, rather than the huge jogger!) and while the same general guidelines for visiting an art museum with your kids apply (no running, climbing on the sculptures, keep the juice boxes put away, and so forth), they encourage you to visit the Affordable Art Fair as a family and experience it together, giving you a chance to expose your kids to all kinds of new art. So, don’t be nervous – brave it! Your kids’ next art projects will be the proof that it was worth it.

When to Go

The Affordable Art Fair opens on Thursday, November 8, 2012 with a date-night worthy preview party from 6:00pm-10:00pm (tickets available online for $65 each). Take your kids the rest of the weekend – the fair will be open on Friday, November 9 from 12:00pm-5:00 pm, Saturday, November 10 from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, and Sunday, November 10 from 11:00am – 6:00 pm. We highly suggest hitting the fair when the doors open to find fewer crowds and more room for you to wonder freely with your mini-art lovers.

Feed Your Starving Artists

All this art is sure to make you hungry! Thankfully, for your little starving artists, there are multiple food choices available nearby and they won’t even have to put out a paper cup for donations or sell their finger paintings on the side of Denny Way to afford it. If you are planning on just taking a quick lunch break, then heading back to the fair, stop by the newly renovated Seattle Center Armory, which offers kid-friendly local dining options from some of Seattle’s favorite restaurants.

If you’re on your way out, heading home post-fair, head into Lower Queen Anne for pizza at the brand-new location of The Rock (300 Roy Street, Seattle), which serves wood-fired pizzas and is loud enough to drown out the sounds of your toddler who is long overdue for a nap. Or, go for a quicker option, hitting up some affordable Seattle faves within walking distance of the Affordable Art Fair, such as Dick’s (500 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle), or Pagliacci Pizza (550 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle).

There is also an on-site café at the Affordable Art Fair that is at least worth peeking at before heading elsewhere for food, but we’re guessing that it could be on the posh-side for your kids’ distinguished PB&J palates.


Children under age 12 are free, students (with ID) are $10, and adults are $12. All ticket proceeds go to Artist Trust, a charity that supports artists of all kinds in Washington State.

You can buy adult tickets online in advance, but student tickets must be purchased at the door.

Find it:

Seattle Center

Exhibition Hall

Where Third Avenue North meets Mercer Street

Try parking on the north side of the Seattle Center – in the parking garage that is near Teatro Zinzanni, or on the neighborhood streets surrounding lower Queen Anne, if you’re patient enough to find a spot!

Read More Before You Go

Find Seattle’s Affordable Art Fair online at for detailed information about the exhibits, artists featured and how to purchase art.

What are some of your favorite places around Seattle to introduce your kids to the world of art? Let us know below!

— Katie Kavulla

Pictures via the Affordable Art Fair: New York Facebook page. Seattle events should look similar!