Edmonds Kind of Play: Events that promote inclusion, diversity

The “Screaming Down Main Street aka Live Large by Loving Life” art installation on the Frances Anderson Center playfield fence.

Once we decided we wanted to have a baby, all I noticed were pregnant ladies. I mean, they seemed to be everywhere, when before, I hadn’t necessarily noticed. The same thing happens when I pick a topic for “Edmonds Kind of Play.” A couple weeks ago, I did a column on camps for the non-student days in the Edmonds School District, which led to finding out about local Parents/Kids Nights Out and some great camp options for winter break.

This week was no different. After getting an email from Gillian Jones, Director of Programming for the Edmonds Center for the Arts, about a “sensory-friendly experience for kids on the autism spectrum called Red Kite, Brown Box,” sharing information on events for different needs became the goal. Then I noticed a local news story, art and events that were based on inclusion or explored diversity.

I saw here on MyEdmondsNews.com that a resolution proposed by the Edmonds Diversity Commission resulted in the second Monday in October being known as Indigenous Peoples Day with the goal of “providing a more balanced representation of our region’s cultural history.” Then on my “Mom Walk” this week, my walk partner noticed the “Screaming Down Main Street aka Live Large by Loving Life” art installation. That’s the big red upsidedown phrase on the fence of the Frances Anderson Field on Main Street, which casts a shadow on the sidewalk of the phrase “right side up,” if you will. After stopping to take a million pictures, we read the description of Minh Carrico’s time as the only Asian-American student in his rural Arkansas school. Carrico struggled with “fitting in with his peers, despite knowing the lyrics to popular STYX and Journey songs” and says an “exposure to a diverse range of human experience” through his career is embodied in his “Live Large by Loving Life” mantra. I would definitely suggest stopping by to check out the installation if you can. It’s just not that same with a quick glance while driving by.

Red Kite, Brown Box for children on the autism spectrum is coming to Edmonds Center for the Arts Oct. 14 and 15.

Next month, the Edmonds Center for the Arts has a unique multi-sensory experience created specifically for children aged 5-plus on the autism spectrum. School groups and families are invited to register for these interactive performances, which recur 10 times over the course of two days in ECA’s Center Classroom space. Red Kite, Brown Box will have specially-trained teaching artists from Chicago’s Children’s Theatre gently guiding participants into a home filled with empty cardboard moving boxes, ideal for climbing and hiding inside, that also morph into magical forts, vehicles, and even robots. Each showing is limited to an audience of just 12 children (each with a caregiver or parent, whose admission is free) so that all participants receive individual attention.

The ECA is incredibly understanding, accommodating and supportive, which we found out when my son, who is impacted by learning differences, was struggling at a summer camp. So if you have any questions or concerns ahead of time, I definitely suggest reaching out to them. Pre-registration is required for the events held on both Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14. To register, contact ECA Education and Outreach at 425-275-9483 or [email protected].

The ECA also features a Dementia Inclusive Series, which include Saturday matinees. These events are “designed to be welcoming to people with memory loss, but are also open to an all-ages, all-abilities audience.” Jones also told me that these showings can be a “great fit for families of kids with special needs” as they are “informal” in that patrons are invited to get up, talk, laugh, and sing during the show. On top of the movie, Barclay Shelton Dance Students volunteer to open each film in this series with a dance number that connects to the film! The next showing will be Fiddler on the Roof on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. The film events continue with Mary Poppins on Jan. 13, which keeps showing up in my Facebook feed because friends have clicked “Interested” on the event page, and a FREE Golden Era Sing-Along on May 5. For more information and to buy tickets, you can visit EdmondsCenterfortheArts.org.

After recently seeing a Facebook event for a children’s movie at the Edmonds Theater that featured captions for deaf or hard of hearing patrons, I noticed that they having showings like this for other movies as well. If you’re into horror movies, the scariest one I can imagine — “It,” the killer clown movie based on Stephen King’s novel — will play at the Edmonds Theater with caption on Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. before it leaves the theater. If you are interested in this showing, you can find more information on their “It” Facebook event page. On this event page, The Edmonds Theater explains that they are “committed to making our movies as accessible as possible!” On top of the weekly captioned show, the theater offers “assistive listening devices at all showings. These devices can boost the original soundtrack, provide captions on an individual basis, and provide descriptive audio for those who are blind or hard of sight.” The Edmonds Theater encourages you to “speak with our box office staff when purchasing your tickets to make arrangements for the device of your choice.” For more information, you can visit TheEdmondsTheater.com or reach them at 425-672-9366.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”

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