Story and photos by Larry Vogel
When the Edmonds Sister City delegation leaves next week for Japan, they will bring a special piece of Edmonds to leave behind in our sister city, Hekinan.
Late last year, the Edmonds Sister City Commission asked Edmonds artist Andy Eccleshall to create a piece of original art to be presented to the City of Hekinan to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship.
Spearheaded by then-mayor Larry Naughton, Edmonds and the City of Hekinan formally established a relationship on April 5, 1988. Since then, the Edmonds Sister City Commission, a group of volunteer citizens, has worked to enrich this relationship by promoting international communication and understanding through exchanges of people, ideas, and culture.
“This kind of exchange is key to fostering international understandings and creating important pieces of history for both cities,” said Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, who will lead the delegation. “Seventy-five years from now, the citizens of Hekinan will see this painting as a beautiful symbol of the special relationship we share.”
The painting, done free of charge by Eccleshall, reflects classic Edmonds, showing Main Street looking west with the Olympics in the background. The soft colors and textures evoke the town waking up on a peaceful late summer morning. An interesting sidelight is the theater marquee announcing the recent James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” which was partially shot in Japan. “Skyfall” was very popular in Japan, opening to near-record crowds when it was released there in December.
Eccleshall worked closely with the Sister City Commission as the painting took shape. “Michelle Van Tassell and the other commission members were great to work with,” said Eccleshall. “Their thoughts and ideas really helped mold the final product.”
Originally from the U.K., Eccleshall now lives in Edmonds with his family. His works include several murals in downtown Edmonds and the stairwell art in the Edmonds Police Station. His work is often displayed in the Cole Gallery on Fifth Avenue.
The Sister City Delegation leaves for Hekinan on Monday, April 1 and will stay for one week.