KEXP & Independent Venue Week

We were featured on for Independent Venue Week


“Independent Venue Week is a 7-day celebration of small music venues around the country and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out.” —

What was the impetus of Opening Real Art…

Tom Long, the sole remaining original leaseholder, says the five original leaseholders wanted to bring all ages music back to Tacoma. 

When Red Room closed -- house venues were often the only options for young fans to play and enjoy music. There wasn't much else that was accessible to all ages events. From 2007-2010, the venue was called The Viaduct which hosted many all ages DIY hardcore & punk shows and was helmed by organizers of Rainfest: a hardcore festival that was nationally recognized. When the original space for Viaduct was available to rent, the leaseholders considered it a no-brainer to return to 5412 S. Tacoma Way. The current business license still uses the Viaduct name.  

Real Art's namesake is a movie theatre (built in 1919, open in 1920) until 1961 when it was converted into a dance hall across the street. Our logo is based on the marquee. Every step of the way each of the five leaseholders had a specific intention in mind: "Give young people space to exist." Each brought their own expertise from booking and promoting shows on the festival scale and within house venues, clothing retail, screen printing, business and tax law. Each person on the project either performed or was involved with local music and art in Tacoma within some capacity. To build community and maintain a steady exchange of experience and expertise passed down from each generation of artists, bills were booked intentionally to include new artists -- often from marginalized groups including but not limited to womxn, young artists of color, artists from the LGBTQ+ community. All ages events did have a void within city limits. Real Art opened its doors to serve that need of providing access and experience for the next generation of artists. 

What was the best show you've seen at the venue?

Our best shows embody our values of providing space for young people to exist right alongside experienced acts. Bills that have done this include:

1. Car Seat Headrest w/ Naked Giants 
2. Tacocat w/ Black Belt Eagle Scout, Cat Puke, Baja Boy
3. Caspar Babypants
4. Kimya Dawson’s screening of the film Torrey Pines. (Dawson was also on the soundtrack.)
5. Tres Leches, The Hugs, Another Perfect Crime, Forest Dogs, Still January
6. Blueface
7. KGRG FM Benefit Show: Marrowstone, The Home Team, Honest Iago, Regress, Dream Ring
8. Tacoma Girls Rock Camp Benefit Show: Dummy, Cool Schmool, The Morning After, Cape Nowhere
9. Beyond Thunderdome: Mangchi
10. Blue Avenue, Merivida, Dream Ring, Long Distance Operator

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