By Ellen Chappelle
Do you have certain names on your Christmas list that you keep skipping as you shop? (It’s not that you don’t love those people, of course; they’re just so difficult to buy for!) But you can only avoid those names for so long. Eventually you’ll make your way through your list and those names will still be there, staring up at you from that slip of paper. So now what? Christmas will soon be here and you are out of ideas!
Never fear, tired shopper! We’ve got a great idea: How about the gift of art?
We’ve already established that surrounding yourself with unique, handcrafted objets d’art can decrease anxiety and depression, as well as increasing good health and overall satisfaction with life. Similarly, giving a creative experience, such as art classes or tickets to a performance, can uplift the spirit and create joyful memories. In fact, a study published in the UK’s Daily Mail last year says that creative and cultural activities “were significantly associated with good health and satisfaction with life. The more often people visited cultural places or were creative themselves, the more benefits were seen.”
So, in the interest of healthy gift giving, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming events, classes and other artsy things that you can give to your loved ones, as well as to yourself! And all of these are available right here in Edmonds, so you can skip the driving, the parking hassles and the crowds, too! (Note: While this article highlights events you can enjoy this month, we’ve posted links so you can purchase tickets to future events to tuck beneath the tree.)
Performances to experience
Our friends at Edmonds Center for the Arts are going to be busy this month! Their bursting calendar includes several must-see performances.
Modern-day swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy delivers its Christmas gifts early with a “Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party.” Yuletide classics like “Blue Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and “We Three Kings” become rollicking big band extravaganzas, with a few original songs added for good measure. The boys in the band take over the ECA stage on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
The Sno-King Community Chorale, under the direction of Frank DeMiero, is a community-based choral organization providing both performers and audiences the opportunity to experience the joy of music. Join the Chorale on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for this special evening of holiday music celebrating Christmas around the world.
Cascade Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Michael Miropolsky present their 50th season holiday concert on Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The song sheet lists holiday music by Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson and others. The audience will even get involved, with a Messiah sing-along. Featured performers include 11-year-old champion ballroom dancers Polina Dickenson and Nathan Murstein.
Olympic Ballet Theatre’s exciting full-length production of “The Nutcracker” brings to the stage a growing Christmas tree, a booming cannon and, of course, outstanding dancers! Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18.
The Driftwood Players are currently enjoying a successful run of the well-loved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic “The King & I,” running through Dec. 18. The show’s lavish score features showstoppers including “Getting to Know You,” “Hello, Young Lovers” and “Shall We Dance?” Due to special partnerships with local businesses, the theatre will offer delicious treats during this run, including cupcakes by Cupcake Luv, coffee by Waterfront Coffee Company and “dunkers” from Trader Joe’s.
The Driftwood Players are presenting a special showing of Irving Berlin’s 1954 classic Hollywood film “White Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Come enjoy this story of a successful song-and-dance team that becomes romantically involved with a sister act, with whom they team up to save a Vermont inn. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen and features the hit songs “Count Your Blessings,” “Sisters,” “Snow” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.” It’s so much fun, you’ll want to sing along!
The Edmonds Exchange Club presents its annual holiday concert at Driftwood’s theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 pm. A family favorite, the concert includes the magic of Aaron Wheeler, The Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Ensemble, The Big Blue Ball Marimba Ensemble, and Zest, a Sweet Adeline quartet. Tickets at $10 for adults, $5 for Children 12 & under, can be purchased in advance at Edmonds Pharmacy, Edmonds Bookstore, Pancake Haus and Nama’s Candy Store or at the door on the day of the concert. Proceeds from the concert help support several Snohomish County charities.
Phoenix Theatre presents Christmas Belles through Dec. 23. A church Christmas pageant spins wildly out of control as three squabbling sisters try to rein in the mayhem. Amidst an ailing Santa, a vengeful sheep and a reluctant Elvis impersonator, a family secret emerges that just might derail the entire production. And on top of everything else, the pageant will be shown live on cable access television for the first time ever.
Art gifts to enjoy
Cole Gallery has earned a reputation as one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier art galleries. They have always featured nationally acclaimed Northwest painters and sculptors and have recently added more 3D works, such as jewelry and smaller sculptures, to their artfully chosen collection.
Semantics Gallery features original works in sculpture, glass, pottery, wood, basketry and paintings. The gallery is currently hosting is hosting the regional juried art show of the Seattle District Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the local group.
Gallery North visitors enjoy a new exhibition of paintings and photography each month, as well as sculpture, pottery, woodwork, glasswork, baskets and jewelry. Each item is created by a Gallery North artist member and each purchase supports the gallery and its efforts to keep this unique community tradition alive. This month’s show, “Mixed Exposure,” showcases the work of watercolor artist Kim Caldwell and lampwork glass artist JR Hause.
Manya Vee Selects specializes in “contemporary, fine American craft in a variety of media, including glass, metal, jewelry, textiles and mixed media.” Gallery owners Manya Vee and Jeff Stilwell love art you can use! “Wear it, dine on it, burn it, put flowers in it, and so much more,” they say. The gallery reflects Vee and Stillwell’s “affinity for color and texture combined with excellence of skill.” Preferring artists with small studios, they seek out the most unique and beautiful of handcrafted items to display.
Autumn’s Framing features art in the modern realism style and work with craftsman, art nouveau and pre-raphealite influences by outstanding local artists. “You will find the perfect greeting card for any occasion, lovely artwork to grace your walls, or something sparkly to complement your neckline,” says owner Autumn Kegley.
Classes to express yourself
Cole Gallery has a busy classroom below the gallery where many people are discovering their artistic ability. Here are two upcoming class listings to give you a taste of what you’ll find:
“Making Watercolor Work for You” with Denise Cole
One-day workshop Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $80
Winter Miniatures (& Cards!) Learn the secrets of mastering watercolor and have fun! While working from photos and still life, each student will work on projects of their own choice with personal help from Denise. Paint your own holiday card or masterpiece just for you!
“Pastel Painting ‘FUN’damentals” with Patty Forte Linna
Thursday evenings, Dec. 8, 15, (ongoing) 6-9 p.m.
$35 each (or $30 if signing up for three or more)
Join national award-winning artist Patty Forte Linna for an ongoing weekly class in learning the fundamentals of painting with pastels. The class will provide in-depth coverage of the following topics: composition and design, value, color and edges.
Gallery North also offers workshops in their own basement classroom, where member artists teach acrylic and watercolor painting, encaustics and jewelry making.
ArtWorks hosts classes from talented local artists in drawing, painting and mixed media. They also offer an Open Studio Art Spa once or twice weekly, so you can get some work done in a comfortable space. With all the room you need, hot and cold running water, easels, inspiration and a full kitchen, you may never want to leave!
So if you’re stumped by what to buy for those on your list, make quick work of your Christmas shopping this year by giving beautiful art pieces and memorable creative experiences. Your loved ones will thank you for it!
With a background in theatre and journalism, Ellen Chappelle is perfectly poised to covers the local arts scene for My Edmonds News. She also keeps busy writing and editing for artists and small businesses, publishing an informational site for dog owners and creating handcrafted jewelry. Please keep her posted about all things artistic in Edmonds by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.