Edmonds business owners Mary Olsen and Tracy Felix announced this week the purchase of the property at 202 Main St. to be used as the location of their recently formed foundation, Art Start Northwest.
Mar-Vel Marble has occupied the corner of 2nd Avenue and Main Street for the past 30 years, according to Alisa Meyer, sales representative for the downtown business.
The foundation board met with city officials two weeks ago, and according to Felix, “The existing buildings will be torn down and replaced with a new structure. Most likely, no changes will be made within this year.”
Meyer told My Edmonds News in an exclusive interview that it was the intention of well-established Mar-Vel Marble to remain in Edmonds, at a new location.
A site with zoning for light manufacturing would be necessary for Mar-Vel Marble’s fabrication work, as well as showroom and sales space. The company designs and installs counter tops and cabinets, tub and shower surrounds, shower bases and shower doors.
Once the downtown property is renovated and Art Start Northwest has opened its doors, the foundation will “bring art education to those who can not afford private classes and into the classrooms at our local schools,” according to Felix, who is co-owner of ARTspot Arts & Crafts Supply store.
In forming Art Start Northwest, “We wanted to keep the mission statement wide open so we could grow our program to encompass any aspect of need in the community,” Olsen explained to My Edmonds News. “This is an intentional commitment for me to fulfill my dream to make art accessible to many people. I am especially interested in supporting teachers who want to bring art into their classrooms.”
Felix and Olsen met in a classroom. The two women had taught art at Maplewood K-8, an Edmonds School District special choice co-op school. After their Maplewood experience, they went their separate ways until three years ago, when Olsen strolled into ARTspot.
According to Felix, “[Our] conversation started with a shared desire to create an entity that would bring art education to those who could not afford private classes and into the classrooms at our local schools.”
According to Olsen, “it was that conversation that led to the formation of Art Start Northwest, a non-profit with a straight forward mission: to provide access to art education for all.”
Edmonds residents should not expect immediate changes, Felix warns. “We are at the beginning stages of planning,” she said. “We do know that this will be a beautiful addition to both our city’s streetscape and to our thriving art community. We will create a place for art to be created and celebrated!”
— Story and photo by Emily Hill