River duo makes waves with a mission to love on Seattle creatives

While strolling Belltown, you might pass by the unassuming windows of River without even realizing it. But inside this surprising 3,000 square foot space in a 100-year-old historic building are two passionate event organizers with a crush on creatives.

Erika Vasquez and Jessica Ghyvoronsky pose in front of art in their gallery/creative event space, River, in Downtown Seattle.
Erika Vasquez (left) and Jessica Ghyvoronsky (right). Photo credit GrowingBoyMedia

Dynamic Duo

Jessica Ghyvoronsky and Erika Vazquez are the temporary tenants (and best friends) taking this otherwise empty space and turning it into a haven for eclectic creative events. 

“We actually met at a mutual friend’s funeral,” said Erika. “Stephen Reed was a passionate person with a huge community, and loved curating events for artists.” Jessica and Erika wanted to keep the love for creatives their friend embodied. Since then, they’ve been inseparable.

They began their journey by trying a pop-up experience and gallery in Kirkland. But after 2020, events—and “non-essential” work—were abruptly shut down. “Artists needed exposure to in-person audiences again–they were telling us that was their number one need,” said Jessica. “When the mayor declared there was a storefront opportunity coming soon, we were so ready to jump on that.”

Seattle Restored allows River to “love on Seattle artists”

A guest and Jessica Ghyvoronsky chat at a recent River event in downtown.

That’s when Jessica and Erika met Seattle Restored, which calls on local artists and entrepreneurs to reinvigorate Seattle by activating empty storefronts. With 24 current pop-up shops, window galleries, QR code shopping, and cultural experiences—and growing—Seattle Restored not only revitalizes empty storefronts; it also matches small businesses and creatives with resources to grow and make their careers sustainable.

“Seattle Restored is thrilled to support a pop-up space that not only contributes to the success of those engaged in the program but to the wider net of artists and markers River supports through their business model.” said Andrea Porter, one of the Seattle Restored Program Managers. “It’s exciting to see the multiplier effect in action and the wide variety of programming they are supporting in their space.”

With its 17-foot high ceilings, welcoming entry that opens into a spacious 226-person capacity, built-in bar, green room, and coat closet—not to mention the rustic brick walls—River is a venue with not only the heart but the capacity for an event straight out of an artist’s dreams.

Deejay Hershe at a recent musical and fashion event at the River event space.
Photo credit GrowingBoyMedia

According to the dynamic duo, the River space has unlimited potential. When we talked to them, they were planning for Puppy Yoga that weekend, with both a class on commercial leasing and a combination art show/concert coming soon. “The possibilities are endless,” said Jessica. “Silent disco? Fashion show? This place is ripe for a dance teacher to bring their classes here.”

River is more than just an event venue; it’s also a ripple effect that helps uplift other Seattle creatives.

“I just want to love on Seattle artists,” said Erika. As artists ourselves, it was hard not to feel emotional when Erika spoke about her community with such intensity: “Not every artist has this community and resources to get to do what they love.”

She said that Seattle Restored is one of those resources, and she wants to share that support with as wide a net as she can.

Get Involved

Blocks away from downtown hotels, Pike Place Market, and the Great Seattle Wheel, River is always looking to host new events for artists. In Jessica’s words, “I’d love to have this space full every day of the year!”

River can be booked at an hourly or daily rate. But River’s flexible pricing system was inspired by BIPOC-led organizations working to undo systemic economic inequity. Erika and Jessica believe these events NEED to happen, and creatives, BIPOC, and nonprofits have the option to pay in admission prices or a percentage of ticket sales. They aim to make their space as accessible as possible.

If you want to help meet River’s goal of filling the space every day of the year, visit River’s website to book an event.

You also don’t need to book a private event to experience River. They have upcoming public events, including monthly night markets every First Thursday featuring local vendors and makers. Find upcoming Seattle Restored events


Erika Vasquez adjusts the curtains inside the River event venue behind the lettering: AN EVENT VENUE WITH A CRUSH ON CREATIVES
Photo credit GrowingBoyMedia

Visit River

Address: 1927 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Open hours: Visit River’s profile to find upcoming events

Dates: October 22 – April 30

Instagram: @riverseattle


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