Artfully Edmonds: Back To the Future

Creative Age jPeg

The City of Edmonds has enjoyed a number of arts renaissance and development eras – among the early high points being the 1890 construction of the Opera House, which currently houses community activities and is home to the Masonic Temple.

The post-WWII boom brought to Edmonds’ residents the drama troupe, Driftwood Players (1957); and Edmonds Arts Festival (1957).

After the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, the area’s classical musicians established the Cascade Symphony Orchestra (1962). And by 1965 the cooperative art space, Gallery North, was formed.

The ’70s saw the emergence of the DeMiero Jazz Fest and so it went.

During the past two years, there has been a fresh revival of arts institutions for Edmonds, including the decision of Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) to add Edmonds to its concert offerings, the opening of Cascadia Art Museum and more – the merging of arts events and Edmonds.

On our horizon is the relocation of art exhibition UNCLAD 2016 to Edmonds, and the emergence of CAFE (Creative Age Festival of Edmonds).

This week, Artfully Edmonds (AE) had the opportunity to sit down and speak with someone who had an early inspiration for CAFE, and to learn how arts initiatives develop from seeds of inspiration to full-bloom community events.

One of the driving forces behind CAFE, Dick Van Hollebeke, (DVH), tells an inspirational and compelling story as final plans for this two-day event take shape.

Owner of Van Hollebeke Financial Services, Dick and his wife Monda have been residents of Edmonds for the past 38 years. Van Hollebeke’s four-year term as president of the Board of Trustees for Edmonds Community College ended this past December.

Please join us as we discuss what inspired one of Edmonds’ newest arts and events traditions to take root:

AE: Dick, what a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for the opportunity to give our My Edmonds News readers some perspective on the upcoming CAFE; which I understand is an acronym for Creative Age Festival of Edmonds.

Let me begin with a question on how the concept of CAFE came about.

DVH: CAFE began its real development on the Edmonds Civic Field about one and a half years ago during a gathering at one of the Edmonds pétanque courts.

My friend and fellow pétanque club member, Jerry Fireman (President of the Edmonds Pétanque Club), approached me about an idea that he had discussed with Farrell Fleming, director of the Edmonds Senior Center. The idea was to start a festival in Edmonds that would bring about the creative side of people who were retired or approaching retirement.

Jerry, in his online research, had discovered a study by Gene D. Cohen, MD, PhD on which his book, “The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life” was based.

Jerry was fascinated by Cohen’s thesis of redeveloping the creative side of one’s life after retirement.

He went on to explain that according to Cohen, aging used to be treated as a disease. Of course, that is no longer the case. Many more people are taking advantage of their golden years by returning to the interests they had when they were younger, but might not have had time for because of the demands of careers and family. Those interests usually involve art, music, volunteerism and travel.

Another developing societal phenomena, the “age wave,” relating to trends set by the baby boomer generation’s influences on attitudes about aging, also came to our attention.

This was a conversation that spilled over at the pétanque court on one particular occasion when travel blogger Trish Feaster was present.

Jerry, Trish and I quickly realized that we had a core of three individuals keenly interested in pursuing “something” that would celebrate the creative opportunities available among older people – a festival!

– – –

AE: From its current core composition, which now includes Julie Colgan as executive director and; of course, with Trish Feaster, CAFE doesn’t seem limited to retirement-age people. What transpired?

DVH: The idea of cross-generation mentorship for sculpting an inspirational retirement took shape. We realized how much each generation had to learn from the other. We now have 10 individuals of all ages involved in the development of CAFE, along with many more community leaders offering leadership and insight.

– – –

AE: Why call the festival “CAFE”?

DVH: We did some research and realized that the concept of the “creative age” as well as “creative age festivals” were springing up in numerous communities such as Edmonton, Alberta; London, Ontario; Bloomington, Indiana and Scotland. At that point we were very enthusiastic about our efforts being coined for our hometown of Edmonds, thus “Creative Age Festival of Edmonds” – CAFE!

The acronym also includes words that represent the values:

Creative — Adopting new skills that bolster imaginative, artistic and innovative action;

Active — Embracing lifestyle choices that support and improve physical and mental fitness;

Fulfilled — Pursuing meaningful efforts that nurture personal, family, and societal improvement;

Engaged — Participating in endeavors that strengthen civic and interpersonal connections.

Ultimately we introduced our idea to city officials and received favorable feedback for holding a creative age festival.

– – –


April 15/16

AE: What will the festival offer?

DVH: Our keynote presentation will be delivered by Dr. Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington, at Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N.

Her topic will be “Love and Intimacy Midlife and Beyond”. Following the talk by Dr. Schwartz, there will be a VIP Sponsorship Reception. (Information on sponsorships are available on the CAFE website.

Bill Holman Courtesy SRJO
Bill Holman will grace the ECA stage along with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra during the upcoming festival, CAFE. Photo courtesy of SRJO.

Then, concluding the evening will be a jazz performance presented by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra featuring “a composer’s composer”, octogenarian Bill Holman, who is 89 years old.

Our participation-based sessions cover a wide range of topics from visual arts opportunities to music and performing arts, writing, technology, travel, community engagement, volunteerism, continuing education and wellness.

The two days of offerings are meant to inspire creativity, encourage activity, ensure fulfillment and foster engagement.

Our full line of offerings can be found at the CAFE schedule  but some of the highlights include travel tips for those who are embarking on travel during their retirement years, or rekindling an interest in photography. There’s memoir writing, dance; topics on wellness and enriched living. Music offerings include participation in Negro spirituals and developing one’s jazz skills.

For those volunteer and civic-minded individuals, Mayor Dave Earling is offering a seminar on Edmonds’ boards and commissions. There will be representatives from United Way, Edmonds Senior Center, Edmonds Center for the Arts and many other worthy civic involvement opportunities to discuss.

– – –

AE: Dick, what special features do the organizers and sponsors of CAFE have in mind for attendees?

DVH: CAFE will be held at the Frances Anderson Center (700 Main St.). We plan to set up a large tent on the plaza patio where participants can socialize, network and exchange ideas. Refreshments will be available free of charge.

On Saturday, April 16, we are pleased to be hosting a private wine and cheese reception at Cascadia Art Museum for the first 75 ticket-holders. An ensemble from the Cascade Symphony Orchestra will provide musical accompaniment.

– – –

AE: What do you think these creative age festivals say about the baby boomer generation?

DVH: I believe it is testament that baby boomers represent a very giving generation. We have the capacity to enrich our own self-esteem by our actions.

– – –

AE: What is your vision for CAFE?

DVH: One aspiration is to kindle a passion for retirement – a retirement that is laughter-filled and fun; enriching and revitalizing.

– – –

AE: What life catalyst has driven you to follow through with developing (and the many hours it must have taken to organize) a festival intended to show retirees possibilities of the good life beyond one’s career?

DVH: I would have to say the inaugural speech of John F. Kennedy. His January 1961 words became my driving inspiration early on, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.

– – –

AE: Dick, what a joy to spend time with you and learn how this particular event on Edmonds’ horizon came together with its stakeholders and sponsors.

As an aside, as I look over the CAFE offerings, “Aging is a Laughing Matter” catches my attention – how fun!

My Edmonds News wishes you and your colleagues and sponsors well in this endeavor!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Red Bud” by Deirdre Murphy, showing at Zinc Art + Objects. Photo courtesy of Zinc Art + Objects.

Artfully Edmonds believes that readers are ready to shake off their winter coats, and don colorful springtime wraps and bright raincoats – the exact style seen at Zinc Art + Object  this past weekend during the opening of artist Dierdre Murphy’s exhibition, “Archivist of the Sky,” which runs through April 18.

This YouTube presentation, produced by Shannon Black, highlights the bursts of spring color which Dierdre features in her work.

About the artist: Zinc Art + Objects says of Murphy, “Philadelphia artist Deirdre Murphy artistically documents the social patterns of birds in her new works [which are] receiving national attention through bold color and dynamic shapes . . . ”

One great way to take a comprehensive look at Edmonds’ downtown gallery showings is during Thursday’s Art Walk Edmonds (AWE).

– – –

Note: Gallery space representatives who would like an in-column shout out are encouraged to contact Artfully Edmonds  Wednesdays at Noon is the content submission deadline for that evening’s column.

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Art Walk Edmonds’ Featured Exhibition

Dorcus Harb2 Salt & Iron

 Art Walk Edmonds organizers have named the work of Edmonds watercolor artist Dorcus Harb as “featured show”.

Harb’s work will be displayed at Salt & Iron, 321 Main St., for the March art walk, and through April 18.

– – –

Kim Brayman’s work will be on view for Art Walk Edmonds and through April 26 at the Edmonds Library. Courtesy Edmonds Art Commission.

Edmonds Arts Commission holds two showings

The City of Edmonds Arts Commission invites the public to view a selection of Edmonds artist Kim Brayman’s work at the Edmonds Library now through April 30, and Leon White’s “My Love of Birds” joint exhibit with Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation Gallery in the Frances Anderson Center through April 26.

– – –

Edmonds artist Leon White’s exhibit of three-dimensional artworks, titled “My Love of Birds,” is on display through April 26 in the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation Gallery at the Frances Anderson Center (700 Main St). An artist reception will be held Thursday March 17 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Leon White 3D birds

information about Edmonds Arts Commission, please go to




– – –

Cole Gallery

Cole Gallery
“November Nasturiums” by Kendahl Jan Jubb. Courtesy of Cole Gallery.

Anniversary congratulations are due Cole Gallery, 107 5th Ave. S., which is celebrating its 9th anniversary in downtown Edmonds with this month’s art walk. The bright colors of “November Nasturtiums” that have inspired artist Kendahl Jan Jubb bring spring showers and blooming gardens to the mind.

Gallery owner Denise Cole invites art walk attendees to raise a glass of bubbly at her anniversary reception being held 5-8 p.m.

The event will be highlighted by music performed on a fused glass viola.

_ _ _

Gallery North

Gallery North (401 Main St.) is heralding the notables of their “Small Works” competition – and more, this month.

The invitation from the cooperative gallery to Edmonds-area art lovers reads, “Gallery North invites everyone to view the Small Works exhibit, meet many of the participating artists, and enjoy the reception during the Edmonds Third Thursday Art Walk on March 17, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“The Small Works Show is a once-a-year event that you don’t want to miss! This month, in addition to artwork by the member artists, 77 more artists pack the gallery with over 200 wonderful works of art!

The Gallery North Small Works Show will be on display and artwork available for purchase only through March 30.”

~ ~ ~ ~

Beyond the Canvas

Let’s go on over to Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)

and see what’s coming up over the next week.

Big Bad Wolf ECA
The Big Bad Wolf (or is he?) comes to the ECA Saturday morning, March 19

Something for kids!
Saturday, March 19
11 a.m. 
410 4th Ave. N.

The Big Bad Wolf – poor dear!

Misunderstood and not well-liked, Big Bad will try to win over the hearts of Edmonds children (and their parents – and grandparents!) in this charming production.

Someone’s bravery will take the day – but whose?

Find out by getting your tickets at the ECA online box office.

– – –

Tribute Time Machine

Wednesday, March 23

7:30 p.m.

Tribute Time Machine – John Denver

Want to add sheer joy to your life? We think that you will like this – A Tribute!

Musical theater comes to the ECA on March 23 to take us back to 1972 with the music of John Denver as performed by tribute artist Ted Vigil.

Vigil is a singer, songwriter and tribute artist whose roots anchor him to the Pacific Northwest. He was recently awarded the Rising Legend Award by the National Traditional Country Music Association.

Ted performed with Steve Weisberg, John Denver’s lead guitar player in the ’70s, who says of Ted, “Such a strong resemblance [to John]…It’s uncanny!”

Tickets for the Tribute Time Machine are available at this ticket link.

– – –

Altan ECA jpeg
Altan performs to a near sell-out crowd on Thursday, March 24. Courtesy the artists’ website.

This week’s Sell Out Alert!
Thursday, March 24
7:30 p.m.

ECA hosts “Altan” a 5-member band performing a range of melodic to lively music in the Irish tradition. Ready? The group’s repertoire will also include thrilling-to-experience reels and jogs.

Make your ticket grab now, because by next week’s edition of Artfully Edmonds seating for this show will be limited to single seat selections – and you do want to enjoy this show by sitting with your friends, don’t you?

Tickets are available at the ECA ticket outlet.

— By Emily Hill

12 Emily

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at

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