This is a FAQ about the Abbey in general. NOTE: For EVENT RENTALS FAQ, click here
In the growing residential/commercial neighborhood of Upper Fremont, about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle and right on the #5 bus line. We are on the corner of 43rd & Fremont Avenue North across from Cafe Vita / Via Tribunali / Pecado Bueno / Uneeda Burger. Our mailing address is: 4272 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103. Come visit us!
Plenty of FREE street parking is available all around the Abbey and a pay lot is 1/3rd of a block up on Fremont Ave by Uneeda Burger. We encourage you to support local businesses here, many of them have parking lots available. Please do carefully read signage as some lots are locked after hours. American Music lot is no longer available for event parking. Exclusive rental parking lots available for private events with a nominal fee.
We do not have the staffing to be open regular hours but we are open for events and you can take a tour if interested in renting the Abbey.
Historically Abbeys have been places of community gatherings offering safety and comfort as well as interaction with food, many forms of art, and good community interaction & dialogue.
So even though it’s now a multi-use community arts center, it is obviously an old church building, so the name just stuck! But no monks live here and you do not need to wear burlap or shave your head in order to attend an event. We encourage people of all walks of life to take part in activities at the Abbey.
Good question! Here’s our brief as possible answer…
Originally built in 1914 as St. Paul’s Lutheran (organized in 1911), that congregation dwindled in the late 90’s and left the building to combine forces with St John’s United up on Phinney Ridge. The building was then used by the Compass Center from 2001-2005 as a temporary homeless shelter while their new building was being built downtown. In 2005 it was purchased by Church of the Apostles (COTA), a Lutheran & Episcopal blended young church, through it’s Lutheran arm. The Lutheran’s (ELCA) Mission Investment Fund (MIF) extended COTA a loan for the building purchase and renovations. From the very beginning, founding pastor Karen Ward and the COTA community desired that their building be used by the community in an artistic and welcoming way so it is now curated by “Artwerks DBA Fremont Abbey” (that’s us!). Karen even started the 501c3 nonprofit back in the day but asked Nathan Marion to become the first Executive Director and invited him (along with the independent Board of Directors) lead the organization to the place it is today as part of Seattle’s incredible Arts & Culture scene. So yes, we are a completely separate nonprofit 501c3 (non-religious) that leases/shares the building. COTA does still meet in the Abbey on Sundays at 5pm and occasionally other specified times through the year (ie. Easter, Fat Tuesday, etc) but in it’s default form the building is used for arts & community events, classes, etc. They put away all their icons and other items each week. COTA is very generous in supporting the use of the building for community events and arts educational experiences and Fremont Abbey only has to pay it’s share of the building expenses. Thanks!
We have a general Respect Policy (on our About page) as an all ages community venue but we don’t censor the artists who perform here. We put a ‘rating’ on some all-ages events that involve performers who use adult language. No preaching occurs here except maybe on a Sunday at 5pm if you attend a COTA service. But either way, The Abbey is an open and welcoming place for everyone willing to work together in a community arts setting.