While spending an afternoon at the Capital Mall, visitors will not only find premiere options for shopping and dining, but also opportunities to take in new forms of creativity, entertainment and enrichment. Not only a destination for the latest fashion, gifts or electronics, mall visitors can also see a live show, take in local art or check out a library book. With The Artists’ Gallery, Broadway Olympia Productions and the West Olympia Timberland Library all located on the mall’s campus, visitors can find new ways to enjoy a trip to the mall.
The Artists’ Gallery
As a cooperative art space, visitors of the Artists’ Gallery will not only be able to view local art, but will be able to engage with local creatives. Photo courtesy: The Artists’ Gallery
Celebrating local creatives, the Artists’ Gallery has become a home base for over a dozen South Sound artists to share and showcase their work. As a cooperative art space, each artist that displays their work in the Artists’ Gallery is also involved in gallery operations. Visitors will not only have the opportunity to view local art but can also interact with local creatives by spending time in this gallery.
“We want people to come in here and not just shop,” says Kim Hoover, treasurer for the Artists’ Gallery. “We hope that it’s an experience for them. An experience to interchange with the artists directly which is highly unusual and that’s the advantage of being a cooperative, we as artists get to talk to the public.”
The gallery houses both visual and wearable art. There are woven shawls to be found, as well as metallic sculptures and ceramics. Visitors can expect to find new pieces every few months as the displays are updated. Through the years, the Artists’ Gallery has also focused on entertainment and education, inviting the public to opening events and classes taught by gallery artists.
“I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life,” says Mia Schute, vice president of the Artists’ Gallery. “And Olympia has a really big heart when it comes to art. This town has really been there for us. It was particularly evident the past couple of years. And I am so grateful for that. I’m also grateful to them all. It’s not every day that you have this kind of opportunity.”
Broadway Olympia Productions
At the heart of Broadway Olympia Productions (BOP) is community-based theater and live entertainment. BOP started with large-scale productions and has since refocused its focus to theater in a black box environment.
Not only a premiere shopping and dining destination, visitors of the Capital Mall can also see a live show, take in local art or check out a library book. Photo courtesy: The Artists’ Gallery
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, BOP has remained resilient as a performing arts organization and has adapted to become a community space for local musicians, performing artists and theater groups. And with an emphasis on local productions, BOP has renovated their Capital Mall headquarters, creating a black box theater that will allow for a range of community performances available to mall visitors. BOP has hosted many shows so far, including one from Sam Miller, a local comedian, and one from Aberdeen’s Plank Island Theatre Company.
“My hope is that it will be a place for lots of artists in Olympia to come and perform,” Kyle Murphy, Broadway Olympia Productions’ managing director.
BOP can host comedy, musical, and theatrical acts from this theater. BOP plans to host shows by Theater Artists Olympia in the next few months. They also plan to host holiday-based performances and performances that are produced by BOP.
“We really want to partner with people,” Murphy agrees. “I think that there is sometimes a thought in the theatre community where resources can be scarce. This space is something that I desperately want the community to use for a lot of different things. So, the community is invited.”
With the recently opened the West Olympia Timberland Library located within the Capital Mall, visitors can take in a new type of library experience. The West Olympia Timberland Library is a realization of a dream for two decades. It allows library services to be made available to a wider audience. After partnering with the Capital Mall to conduct smaller outreach projects, the Timberland Regional Library team has extended services to the West Olympia community by opening a branch within the mall. Since the branch’s grand opening in June, it has become one of the more popular branches within the Timberland Regional Library system by circulation.
The West Olympia Timberland Library, which was recently opened in Capital Mall, allows library services to be made available to a wider variety of Thurston Couhty residents. Photo courtesy: The Artists’ Gallery
“That is something that we are so pleased with,” explains
Stephanie Hope-Cochran, manager of the Olympia Timberland Library. “Knowing that we are providing greater access to services in the West Olympia area and also reaching out to Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor and Lewis County residents at the same time, because they are visiting that mall.”
The Timberland West Olympia branch is 1,200 square feet and houses a variety of bestsellers and in-demand titles. It is open to all ages and reading levels. Computers, printing and faxing are also available to library patrons. Vox books, which combine text, images, and words, are available for younger readers. Located at the library’s exterior (near Total Wine) is a return drop box that is available 24 hours.
“People come in and just walking by in the mall, I hear people all the time saying, ‘oh my gosh there’s a library in the mall,’” Brenda McGuigan is the librarian at Olympia Timberland Library. “And we’re getting all kinds of people, families, older adults, people with their grandparents, people who have never used the library before. People all across the community coming in and using it for different reasons.”
Visit the Capital Mall website for more information about the shopping, dining, and recreation options at the Capital Mall.