The 2017 edition of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival just wrapped up, and this article will make you wish you had known about it sooner!
The Seattle Erotic Art Festival had its debut in 2002 and strives to normalize sex in today’s culture, as well as promote self-expression through art. Founded by the Center for Sex Positive Culture, the annual, weekend-long event is now the flagship program of the nonprofit Foundation for Sex Positive Culture.
The event is centered around erotic art in various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, literature and interactive installations, with film being introduced in 2003. Besides this, the festival also showcases a wide range of performance art, including circus arts, ballroom dancing, live music, and even burlesque! The art installations at the festival are meant to celebrate the entire spectrum of erotic expression, representing surrealist imagery, gender politics, BDSM, and homoeroticism, amongst various others. The festival also features a store, which sells original works, prints, oddities, collectibles and related merchandise from contributing artists.
The seventh annual festival cumulated more than 2,000 pieces of international contemporary fine art from hundreds of artists from around the globe, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, assemblages, prints, installations, mixed media and more. The artists that were selected were evaluated based on quality of execution, originality of subject and depth of emotion, by a panel of jurors, or were invited to exhibit their work by the festival curators.
The eighth annual festival in 2010 was on an even larger scale. Local and nationally acclaimed artists came together to celebrate all the many forms of eroticism and sexual expression. The festival, which took place on May 2 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall in Seattle, Washington, introduced the Cabinet of Curiosities, that displayed visual, performance and literary art, as well as interactive installations, films, workshops, a festival store and even some after parties! Inspired by 17th century Europe, when collecting obscure (and often, grotesque) oddities was a habit of the wealthy and well-educated, the festival’s own interpretation of the “cabinet of curiosity” was an erotic, extravagant celebration of the arts.
The 2010 edition of the festival included an original theatrical production entitled Cabaret de Curiosités, which was written and directed by award-winning, New York City-based director Roger Bennington, and was produced in collaboration with local and national performance artists. It even included an original score, composed by John Woods from The Wet Spots. That year, the festival offered its first grant to artists to create interactive installations, where the audience members painted a canvas, wrote and received love letters and lounged on metalwork beds. The festival also showcased visual art installations, selected by the jurors and curators from over 1,600 entries submitted by over 400 artists. 2010 was also the second year of the festival’s Literary Art Showcase, where jury selected poems, short stories and plays were performed. The festival spotlighted Naked Girls Reading on Friday and Saturday nights.
The theme for the 2011 edition of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival was “Red Light District” and drew thousands of patrons. It took place Thursday, May 19 through Sunday, May 22 at the Fremont Studios located in Fremont, Washington, Seattle. It was also the first year that two artists placed in both the Jury awards and the Viewer’s Choice awards.
This year, the gallery of the event was filled with artwork, from paintings and drawings to natural-wood creations, and featured live performances and even an interactive “groping booth”. There were jury panel discussions, life-drawing workshops, body art, conversation corners, live DJs, performers and a whole lot of alcohol!