Artfully Edmonds: Take on artists’ challenge; take in Driftwood play during busy week

Tracy Felix showing her playful side on her Facebook page.
Tracy Felix showing her playful side on her Facebook page.

The Great ARTSpot Paint-Over Challenge

ARTSpot Arts & Crafts Store

408 Main St.

Local artist and Edmonds businesswoman, Tracy Felix met with Artfully Edmonds last week for an exclusive My Edmonds News interview to discuss her newest challenge to (and for!) the art community.

Co-owner of ARTSpot Arts & Crafts Supply, Tracy has dubbed her newest arts initiative, The Great ARTSpot Paint-Over Challenge. This 2nd annual ARTSpot-challenge is meant to “encourage participating artists to try out new techniques, get over any ‘blocks’ and allow for exploration in an empowering” format, she tells us.

Registration is now open for any artist who would like to participate in the Challenge, which will end on Wednesday, Aug. 31. The first 15 registrants will receive gift certificates for art supplies from manufacturer Golden Paint Company. Judging by last year’s ARTSpot challenge (“25x25x25”) Artfully Edmonds recommends early registration.

The Great ARTSpot Paint-Over Challenge began as a very personal challenge,” Tracy tells us, revealing that the objective of a paint-over is to overcome any tendency to be too “fussy over something for too long” and to prevent “stalling out.”

ARTSpot Arts & Crafts Store (408 Main St.) will serve as a support hub and post-registration check-in point for registered entrants. The $125 registration fee will provide each artist with one high-end canvas, three painting sessions, and studio time with other Challenge participants. Tracy also promises that each artist will have an “album” on the event’s Facebook page so that friends and fans can keep up with the progress of the Challenge.

She explains that the Challenge is meant to be “a transforming experience for both beginners and experienced painters.”

No Rules

“There are no rules as to how you go about this”, Tracy says. “Artists can use any variety of media you want. You can use acrylics: a perfect medium for quick dry times, with collage and/or water media if you like! You can use oil paints and blend layers, or add quick dry additives to oil paint to make it dry faster. Any mixed media techniques you want to intersperse is fine to try. This will be the time to experiment and discover new ways of working. There will be up to 30 layers of paint on one canvas.”

The Challenge will run through June, July and August. Each artist’s actual challenge will begin on the day that they register. The event will culminate with “The Great Reveal Party” on Wednesday, Aug. 31 with invites going out to participating artists.

Tracy told us that she came to terms with the inevitability of this year’s event after hearing back from last year’s participants that “they were ready to be challenged again.” She began planning for the paint-over challenge four months ago after being inspired by the experience of artist Judy Wise, who inspired Tracy with her own experiences in a similar challenge in 2015.

Before we completed our interview, Artfully Edmonds asked Tracy how an artist views the world around them. She responded, “Walking this path means seeing everything from an artist’s perspective. Artists process visual information very differently [from non-artists].”

Artfully Edmonds looks forward to seeing that perspective as developed over 30 canvas renditions this summer as artists participating in the Challenge develop their work.

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Driftwood Players troupe is holding rehearsals for its upcoming production "Suite Surrender". The production opens Friday, June 10.
Driftwood Players troupe is holding rehearsals for its upcoming production “Suite Surrender”. The production opens Friday, June 10.

Driftwood Opens
“Suite Surrender”

Production run: June 10-26
Driftwood Players at
Wade James Theatre
950 Main St.

1940s USO-themed Comedy Brings Laughter to Edmonds

Beginning this Friday the Driftwood Players theatre company pays tribute to the 40s through the Michael McKeever farce, Suite Surrender.

From Driftwood Players’ managing director Kim Smith, we receive this communiqué:

Michael McKeever’s comedy, Suite Surrender, pays homage to the screwball comedies popular in Hollywood during the ’30s and ’40s.

Starring Driftwood regulars Cindy Giese French, Melody Mistlin, Justin Tinsley, Jason Bradford, Ryan St. Martin, Greg Cochran and some new faces (Mary Sabetto, Jennie Babcock, and Kate Wirth), this show comes complete with a beleaguered general manager, two over-the-top divas, a hen-pecked personal secretary, a lovesick assistant, and a pair of bellhops who keep the action moving all while organizing a USO benefit for the troops at the Palm Beach Royale Hotel.

What’s it all about? WWII entertain-the-troops personalities Athena Sinclair and her rival Claudia McFadden are accidentally booked into an upscale hotel at the same time for the same concert. They are not about to share the limelight, as they can’t stand the sight of each other.

How will the poor hotel staff and personal staff of each woman keep the two apart and also pull off the concert for the troops? Well, not without slamming doors, mistaken identity, physical comedy and fast-paced action, is what we are promised from the Driftwood Players box office!

Director Dale Westgaard says of Suite Surrender, “Early in our rehearsals, it became clear that some of the cast members were unfamiliar with the USO and its importance to entertainment history.” So the team spent time researching some of the fabulous personalities who entertained the troops and the nation during the war; names like Bob Hope, Martha Raye, Red Skelton, Jimmie Durante and more. This show strives to be worthy of those great names. Westgaard says, “Now, sit back and watch what happens when a fine hotel has trouble meeting the demands of one of its guests before she performs for the ‘the boys’”.

About the Playwright

With wit, insight and a healthy dose of his quirky sense of humor, Michael McKeever continues to entertain theater audiences throughout America, Europe and Russia. Among his plays are 37 Postcards, Suite Surrender, Charlie Cox Runs with Scissors, and Stuff and Melt.

Driftwood performs Suite Surrender Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

For your convenience, tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 425-774-9600, option 1.

The ASL Interpreted Performance is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 8 p.m.

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Susan Connors, Jeannie Early, Bonnie Roman, Ana Marie Lake, and Melanie Calderwood

Dixie Swim Club
The Phoenix Theatre
9673 Firdale Ave.

Plays through
Sunday, June 26

Laughter continues this Friday at The Phoenix Theatre thanks to the cast of “Dixie Swim Club” directed by Simone Barron.

My Edmonds News’ review of the production can be found at this link.

Tickets for the show are available online at the theatre’s online box office.

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Gallery North begins its exhibition titled, Earth, Dust and Oil" this weekend.
Gallery North begins its exhibition titled, Earth, Dust and Oil” this weekend.

Saturday, June 11
1-4 p.m.

Artists Reception
Gallery North
401 Main St.

Gallery North announces that its June exhibit will feature two Gallery North members: painter Leah Rene Welch and potter/sculptor Melinda O’Malley.

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Edmonds painter Leah Rene Welch often experiments with non-traditional art-making tools and surfaces, sometimes using kitchen utensils or her fingers to apply paint, and using copper or highly textured painting surfaces.

In this exhibit, Welch shares her latest artistic interpretations through her lively and expressive oil and pastel paintings.

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Melinda O’Malley’s specialty is functional sculptures in the form of dragons. Her dragon teapots and jars are very popular. In her home studio, O’Malley forms the dragons’ bodies on a potter’s wheel, while other elements are hand-sculpted. Each detail is carefully crafted and placed to create the finished dragons. In addition to her sculptures, this show also will include O’Malley’s more traditional functional ceramic pieces.

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David Varnau and Cole Gallery celebrate an unveiling this weekend.
David Varnau and Cole Gallery celebrate an unveiling this weekend.

Saturday, June 11
6-8 p.m.

 Varnau Unveiling
Cole Gallery

Edmonds sculptor David Varnau and Cole Gallery invite the public to an unveiling of his new bronze sculpture, entitled Joie de Vivre.

The local artist whose bronze works are showcased throughout downtown Edmonds describes his latest project thusly, “[Joie de Vivre] depicts a young girl standing with her arms outstretched and her smiling face gazing up into the sunshine.  A breeze blows her clothing and hair, creating a dynamic image and capturing a joyful moment in time.  It reflects the moments of our lives when all is well, our senses are heightened and we feel the grace of being alive.

You can follow news and studio updates on Varnau’s work at his official website.

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Artist and writer Julie Gangler is showing at MaJe Gallery.
While you are downtown on Saturday, also take in the work of artist Julie Gangler, who writes Day Trip Discoveries for My Edmonds News and shows at MaJe Gallery, 409 Main St.


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Summer is coming and Edmonds Senior Center has sunny plans!
Summer is coming and Edmonds Senior Center has sunny plans!

Edmonds Senior Center
220 Railroad Ave.

Summer Barbeque
Monday, June 20

A fun Old Time Radio Show (including commercials) will be the highlight of the Center’s Summer Barbeque to be held in the beachside dining room of this popular gathering spot.

The fare will include salmon burgers, salad, dessert and a beverage – all for just $10/members and $14 for non-members.

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Open House
Wednesday, June 22
4:30 p.m.

Edmonds Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, who enjoys a strong affiliation and years of service with the Edmonds Senior Center, invites the Edmonds area to “see what is new” [and upcoming!] at the Center.

Make your reservation (and fill out your membership application at the same time) at the Center’s main office. You may also call in your reservation at 425-774-5555.

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Son-King Community Choral has a wonderful family event in mind for all to enjoy -- It's a Carousel!
Son-King Community Choral has a wonderful family event in mind for all to enjoy — Carousel!

Sno-King Community Chorale 

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.
Family Event!
Saturday, June 11
3 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Musicals are what the Sno-King Chorale has in mind for this Saturday. With a program title, “Ticket to Broadway: Carousel-A Concert,” parents, children and grandparents can enjoy tunes from “Carousel” such as “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “June is Busting Out All Over,” “If I loved You” and much more!

Premiering in 1945 with music by Richard Rogers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, “Carousel” has gone on to become one of the greatest musicals of all times – made better with this Sno-King rendition.

Take a moment and grab tickets for the whole family at this ticket outlet.

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Edmonds Arts Festival kicks off with The pARTy -- and a preview!
Edmonds Arts Festival kicks off with The pARTy — and a preview!

Edmonds Arts Festival

Wednesday, June 15
June 17-19

Frances Anderson Center
700 Main St.

The Edmonds Arts Festival – how will it all begin? It all starts with the pARTy on Wednesday, June 15 and rises to dizzying heights by Sunday afternoon as thousands visit downtown Edmonds the third weekend in June to celebrate art – in its many forms and formats.

The pARTy is the Festival’s annual benefit to support the arts in Edmonds and kicks off the festival on Wednesday, June 15.

The pARTy is a preview of the festival exhibitions and a whole lot more. During the evening ticket holders will have the opportunity to preview hundreds of original art pieces – and all of it is for sale.

Appetizers, desserts, and beverages will be available from Edmonds restaurateurs who will be serving celebrants in the festival galleries and also at the sunset-vista tented outdoor Plaza.

Tickets for the elegant affair are available at this ticket link.

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The Festival Begins:

Then at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 17, the three-day festival begins, just as it has since 1957. Watch for full feature festival updates in My Edmonds News.

For detailed information, go to the festival’s official website.

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Arts Festival Bulletin!
Meadowdale Arts Booster Club

The Meadowdale Arts Booster Club is seeking volunteers to staff the Student Art Exhibit at the Edmonds Arts Festival on June 18-19.

Critical to the community-active organization is locating hosts for Sunday in the galleries and breakdown at 5:45 p.m.

Duties will including greeting festival attendees into the gallery, and answering inquiries that might include, “Where is my student’s art?” or “How do I get to the plaza?”

The booster club is providing a convenient online sign-up link – Have fun! Help out!

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Kayla Dreysse will direct the program to be held in Everett.
Kayla Dreysse will direct the program to be held in Everett.

Friday, June 17
7:30 p.m.

Snohomish County PUD
2320 California St., Everett

Edmonds Community College president Dr. Jean Hernandez is among seven noted local community leaders featured in a staged reading of the acclaimed documentary play “Seven” scheduled for Friday, June 17.

“Seven” tells the true stories of seven women who triumphed over obstacles to bring about improvements in the lives of women and girls in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

Called “riveting, explosive and inspiring drama” by the Huffington Post, the play has been performed in more than 32 countries and been translated into more than 20 languages.

The 70-minute staged reading is directed by Kayla Dreysse, and features the following cast members who join Dr. Hernandez in the reading:

-Dr. Sutapa Basu, executive director of the University of Washington Women’s Center.

-The Honorable Janice E. Ellis, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge.

-Pam LeSesne, retired Navy Captain and current member of the Everett Public Schools Board of Directors.

-Dr. Suzanne Poppema, physician, past president of Zonta Club of Everett and a founding board member of HEAL, an international organization of health care professionals working against human trafficking.

-Rita Zawaideh, founder of the Salaam Cultural Museum and the Arab-American Community Coalition of Seattle, and a leader of medical missions throughout the middle east.

-Sierra Zweig, mental health counselor for the YWCA and founder of Pause to Possibility.

These notable women will put voice to the stories in this gripping play, written by seven award-winning playwrights: Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz. They based their work on interviews with seven women in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network.

Of the true-life characters in “Seven,” director Kayla Dreysse says “The women are incredibly bright; there’s a huge variety of ways they fall into their advocacy. These are ordinary women who make active choices to do better things.”

For more information, visit and

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Lila Rhodes has chosen to wear authentic 15th Century English costuming to her book release party.
15th Century English costuming fit Lila Rhodes perfectly as the author of the historical series, “Albin and the Jouster” greeted guests arriving her book release this past week. Ms. Rhodes was celebrating the release of her newest edition of the “Albin and the Jouster” series titled, The King’s Beloved.

Authors and Poets Podium

In 2012, Lila Rhodes, a retired educator and Lynnwood resident, made a research trek to England to visit two battle re-enactment sites and attend several medieval fairs. She made enough missteps in her inaugural research travel to write her amusingly told tale of mishaps, How Not to Visit 15th Century England which is receiving 5-star reviews for being “funny, informative, and refreshingly different”.


— Emily Hill


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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