Business Spotlight: Ethereal Arts off to a flying start
Rigging units, silks, hoops, and ropes hang from the ceiling of a studio space in the lower level of Narrows Business Park in Gig Harbor.
Young people — and some not-so-young —climb, twist, and seemingly defy gravity as they practice acrobatics and circus arts. They wrap their feet, legs, arms, and bodies around the apparatuses to lift themselves high above the ground where they stretch and flip into various poses.
What began as a connection between mother and daughter has become a business that continues to bring families together, and create new ones.
‘I was hooked’
Katie Lynch started her business, Ethereal Arts Northwest, in January 2019 and moved to a new location in 2021.
While Lynch was home on a break from college, she accompanied her mother to an acrobatic arts show in which her mother performed. “I was hooked,” she said.
“This was three months after she had started training. I went and watched her, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I think I’m done with school,’ and I started pursuing circus,” she said.
Lynch finished her bachelors degree and came home to Gig Harbor to start training. She visited other studios and trained for a year, then decided it was time to open her own studio.
Ethereal Arts Northwest began in a space that Lynch rented from 7Seas Brewery on Judson Street. Lynch moved the business to a space of her own on Jahn Avenue, in Suite 104 on the lower level of Narrows Business Park, in September 2021.
A family feel
She runs the business with the help of Julia MacDonald, who was a student at Ethereal Arts Northwest for a year before joining Lynch.
MacDonald said she loves her job, and is inspired each day by her students.
“I’ve seen the confidence in my students, and I get to see them bloom. People get to be who they are here, and we’re all rooting for each other,” MacDonald said. “This place helps me remember my worth.”
Familial ties and support were echoed by students as one of the benefits of training at the studio.
Juliet Ladd, turning 14 years old next month, has been taking classes since she was 8 years old.
“It’s a really fun sport and I really enjoy it, it makes me really happy,” Juliet said. “There’s a good amount of kids close to my age, but also a lot of younger and older, and a lot of adults too.”
Moms and daughters at Ethereal Arts
Her mother, Kristie, is also a student there. She said training in it together has given them a new language that they share. “When I’m having a bad day (in the studio) she can understand what that means.”
The camaraderie and support of the other students have been important to them, they said.
“It’s a really uplifting and positive environment, and students cheer each other on, and the whole studio is excited for you.”
That and more are what keep Megan Hopkins and her family coming back.
“There are so many things about it that I love,” Hopkins said. “It’s challenging. You can be in a room full of other people trying to do the same things, and rooting for each other.”
There aren’t any reps, she said, so it’s not like going to a gym. “There’s more community to it. I’ve lost 30 pounds doing it, and it really did change all of our lives. My girls have strong role models.”
Hopkins said she makes decisions for activities that are good for her children, “But, as it turned out, it’s also best for me.”
Hopkins and her 12- and 10-year-old daughters, Catherine and Allie, are all participating.
“Being stronger than you think, being able to do something that most people can’t, is rewarding,” she said. “I was not strong. I wish more people would get past the idea of being strong before you do it. You can do amazing things if you give it a go.”
Encouragement is part of the studio, she said.
“I hear so many say, ‘I just don’t have the arm strength,’ and we say ‘yet.’”
Introductory classes cost $200 and run for eight weeks. The studio offers a variety of classes including hand balancing, and yoga.
For more information about Ethereal Arts Northwest, class schedules, fees and performances, visit etherealartsnorthwest.com.