One of my favorite things about the growth of any city is the natural following of the growth in the arts. This winter, The Stranger, one of Seattle’s most popular alternative newspapers, had a cover story suggesting “Bellevue could be the new Williamsburg.” For those unaware of Williamsburg, it’s Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood, buzzing with hip restaurants and chic boutiques that attract fashionable artists and business professionals alike. And while Bellevue is not quite there, with the coming of the Spring District, the light rail and all the new development, it’s inevitable we’ll be there in only a matter of time.

What’s often overlooked is that our area is already is full of those “Williamsburg” types, and in this month’s issue, it was difficult to narrow down who to feature. You’ll read about artists using all different types of mediums—from glass and clay to different types of paints and inks. Our writer Susan George, who is also a full-time musician, tells us some favorite arts-related things to experience around the area including options for foodies, music lovers and theater buffs. Also get to know the owners of Brackish, local furniture makers with a unique eye for design and craftsmanship.

We also couldn’t leave out the fact that with February comes Valentine’s Day, and if you’re on the hunt for some local Valentine’s Day gifts for your sweetie, we put together a gift guide with fun ideas. My favorite on the list is a vinyl record for a special night in. Or head out of town and have a romantic getaway at Salish Lodge. Bellevue Lifestyle shares what not to miss at that this quintessential Northwest resort.

As always, we hope you find inspiration in these pages and come to appreciate our unique perspective here in Bellevue. As one of our featured artists, Morgan Smalley, says “Art is for everyone.” I couldn’t agree more, and I truly encourage you to try something new. You never know what talents you might have!

Happy February! Hope to see you around.