Artfully Edmonds: What’s next for the Frances Anderson Center gallery, plus theatre, music and art events


The Frances Anderson Center is a veritable hive of activity with dozens of ongoing programs. There’s a professional ballet school, a Montessori school, a pottery school, daycare, a youth club, fitness and gymnastics, open gym, a weight room and a multitude of classes, to name a few things.

As people traverse in and out of the front door, they’re met with an adorable little art gallery that’s been capably curated for years by Darlene McLellan – a major influencer in the Edmonds art community for decades. McLellan has decided to step down from this position, and her absence will be sorely missed.

In a worst-case scenario, the gallery might have reverted back into the hands of the lessor, the City of Edmonds. It might then have been turned into additional office space.

Faced with making a change, the Arts Festival Foundation, which manages the space, will be trying a new approach. Foundation board member and former arts commissioner Samantha Saether explains: “Since there isn’t anyone with the skills to curate the way Darlene (McLellan) did, we’re going to have a gallery that will be more ‘hands off.’“

Now, rather than shows of single artists, groups of artists and associations will be invited to exhibit and curate themselves under the supervision of a foundation board member.

Saether envisions the installations as being unique, since each group will bring their own signature to their respective shows. They’ve just completed installing a new gallery hanging system — channels that provide a way for us to show work without damaging the walls.

The goal will be to continue to entice the multitude of Frances Anderson patrons to take a few moments to venture into the gallery. Part of the foundation’s mission is to reach out to the youth of our community and expose them to fine art. The gallery at Frances Anderson is tailor-made for that. Thousands of kids and their parents wander in and out of the building every month. It’s a great example of bringing art to the people.

Even in a community like Edmonds, with residents who are sensitive to the importance of art, making art accessible to those who might not otherwise have an entry point for it, is critical.

I remember the many trips we took to the Anderson Center when my kids were little. Gymnastics and “Mom and Me” gatherings (I was one of THOSE dads) were teachable moments. I would shepherd my little ones into the gallery month after month through a series of impressive exhibitions. I never missed a chance to check out what was hanging there.

Saether sees all sorts of possibilities for the gallery going forward. One month it might house the Edmonds Art Festival’s poster submissions; the next, the work of students from a program conducted right there in the Anderson building. “We’re trying something new — it’s an experiment, we’re prepared to be adaptable. We’ll see how it goes,” Saether said.

The Edmonds Art Festival Foundation’s wonderful new website is up and running here. If you’re not familiar with the foundation or the distinction between it and the Arts Festival itself, take a moment to check it out — they do some amazing things in our community. There are also lots of opportunities to get involved.

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Phoenix Theatre’s “Bowling” runs through Feb. 25

Friday, Feb. 2 – Sunday, Feb. 25
8 p.m.

The Phoenix Theatre
More Fun Than Bowling

By the hilarious Steven Dietz – writer of last year’s hit Becky’s New Car

Directed by Eric Lewis

2673 Firdale Ave
(Firdale Shopping Center)

Need a good laugh? The latest Phoenix production (opening on Groundhog Day) has got you covered.

See my review here.

Jake was once a promising pianist, but a foul ball broke his fingers, which subsequently healed into the perfect bowling grip. Jake now owns a bowling alley, but spends much of his time sitting on a hilltop where two of his ex-wives are buried. (Both women died due to tragic bowling accidents.) As Jake replays the key frames of his life, he is frequently visited by his daughter Molly, who has become adept at talking women into marrying her father for love and free lane time. But who is that mysterious stranger dressed in black and holding a gun lurking in the shadows? This play runs through Sunday, Feb. 25.

Tickets here. 

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HAPA comes to the ECA.

Thursday, Feb 8
7:30 p.m.

The ECA Presents: HAPA
Featuring Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole

410 4th Ave. N.

Described by the Maui Times as “the most exciting and beautiful contemporary music the world knows,” the overriding quality of HAPA’s music is one of beauty and serenity. Joining HAPA is Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, who shares a deep understanding of Hawaiian culture and her identity as a transgender Hawaiian singer, chanter and dancer.

Prior to the evening performance, HAPA will also appear from 11 a.m. to noon for a free, all-ages cultural event hosted by the Edmonds Senior Center. To RSVP, drop by the Senior Center at 220 Railroad Ave or call 425-774-5555.

Tickets here.

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Friday, Feb. 9 – Sunday, Feb. 25
Thursdays – Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays – 2 p.m.

Driftwood Players Present:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Directed By Elizabeth Herbert

Wade James Theater
950 Main St.

Scout, a young girl in a quiet Southern town, is about to experience dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. This play illustrates the social issues of her time. Scout’s father, a lawyer, is defending a young African American wrongfully accused of a grave crime. This dramatization of the touching classic tale is a meaningful work of art relevant to our society today.

Ticket and more information here.

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Saturday, Feb 10
Noon – 1 p.m.

Edmonds Bookshop Author Event
Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast Through Cross-Cultural Marriages
By Candace Wellman

The Edmonds Bookshop
111 5th Ave. S.

Throughout the mid-1800s, Coast and Interior Salish families arranged strategic cross-cultural marriages, and these alliances played a crucial role in regional settlement and spared Puget Sound’s upper corner from the tragic conflicts other regions experienced. Although accounts of the men exist in a variety of records, the contributions of their native wives remain unacknowledged. Author Candace Wellman hopes to shatter stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four women profiled exhibited exceptional endurance, strength, and adaptability. Each woman’s story is uniquely her own, but together they and other intermarried women left lasting legacies. They were peace weavers.

Wellman holds a B.A. in Sociology from Washington State University and a B.Ed. in History/Secondary Education from Western Washington University, and has pursued graduate work in sociology. Born and raised in Washington, the Bellingham resident is a local history consultant and speaks regularly about women’s history and regional settlement.

More information at

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Mountain Boys

Saturday, Feb 10

2 – 4:30 p.m.

Wintergrass Music Festival Preview
The Downtown Mountain Boys

Edmonds Library Plaza Room
(above the library)
650 Main St

This free preview performance will include an hour-long concert by The Downtown Mountain Boys, followed by a jam session led by the band. Also included will be the opportunity to experience an “instrumental petting zoo“ where attendees can try out various instruments.

Sponsored by the Edmonds Arts Commission, Edmonds Sno-Isle Library, and the Friends of The  Edmonds Library.

For more information on the Wintergrass Festival in Bellevue Feb. 22-25
go to

For more information on the Downtown Mountain Boys
go to

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Felix Kim

Saturday, Feb 10
3 p.m.

Cascade Symphony Orchestra Children’s Concert

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Carnival of Animals (Saint-Saens)

Percussion Ensemble

Rising Star award winner Felix Kim will perform as the soloist – Boccherini Cello Concerto in B flat major (1stMovement)

Under the direction of Michael Miropolsky

Dave Dolacky – narrator

Learn more at this link.

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All Spice Band

Saturday, Feb. 10
7-10 p.m.

Sno-King Sweetheart Dance
Featuring The Allspice Band

Cedar Valley Grange
20526 52nd Ave. W.

Sno-King International Folk Dance Club invites you to celebrate Valentines with dancing.  Come with or without your sweetheart. No formal teaching this night, but lots of easy dances, including couple, no-partner and set dances from many countries. They encourage potluck snacks, and it’s a good time to wear reds and pinks — be a valentine!  During band breaks there will be request dancing to recorded music.

Details at

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Thursday, Feb. 15

5 – 8 p.m.

Artists Reception
“Portals” – Tracy Felix

Art Festival Foundation Gallery
Frances Anderson Center
700 Main St.

Portals is an apt descriptor of Felix’s large, vivid, geometric focused color field paintings. Works that seek to draw the viewer into the spaces inhabited by her ethereal, atmospheric effects.

Learn more here.

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Cantus choral ensemble

Thursday, Feb 15
7:30 p.m.

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

ECA Presents:
Cantus – Discovery of Sight

This “engaging“ (New Yorker) men’s choral ensemble is one of the nation’s few full-time vocal ensembles. Known for its trademark warmth and blend, Cantus performs without a conductor in the matter of a chamber orchestra — with each singer contributing to totality of the experience.

Light is an integral part of life, from controlling our daily habits and cycles, to providing nourishment, warmth, and protection. But what happens when light is taken away, or even restored? We all have experienced our own personal “sunrises” or “twilight hours”. There are even moments in our lives when we recognize the impact of vision in new ways.

Including seasoned masterpieces like Richard Strauss’ Traumlicht and Franz Schubert’s Die Nacht, Discovery of Sight also breaks new ground with Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque and a brand new commission from Gabriel Kahane.  But at its heart, Discovery of Sight revels in the mystery, science, and poetry of what it means to truly “see.”

More information at this link.

Kermet Apio

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Friday, Feb 16
7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb 17
6 p.m. VIP Reception
7:30 p.m. Comedy Show

Edmonds Comedy Night 2018

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave N

Enjoy an evening of gut busting laughter. This will be Edmonds 11th annual comedy night with two evenings of hilarious stand-up comedy. As if that were not enough – proceeds benefit local kids. Seattle’s own Kermet Apio headlines.

Comedy show only – $25
Comedy show with VIP reception- $55 (Saturday only)

For tickets, click here.

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Music at the Museum performers: Left to right, top to bottom – Christopher Liu, Pamela Liu, Charmian Bartlett, Dieneke Kalsbeek

Saturday, Feb 17

6 p.m.

Music at the Museum

Brahms, Vivaldi, Grieg & more

Music by Brahms, Vivaldi, Grieg, J.C. Bach, Schubert, Telemann, Satie and Paganini will be featured.

Violinist Pamela Liu (concertmaster of the Cascade Symphony) has assembled an international ensemble including Australian-born cellist Charmian Bartlett, and Dutch-born recorder virtuoso Dieneke Kalsbeek, both now living in Seattle, and classical guitarist Christopher Liu.

A concert ticket admits you to the museum, so you can arrive a bit early to view the latest exhibit, enjoy a 1-hour concert of fine music in an intimate setting surrounded by art, and be done early enough to dine out after.

Learn more at

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SRJO pays tribute to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

Monday, Feb 18
7:30 p.m.

Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra Presents:
Brubeck and Desmond – Inseparable

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave N

Composer-pianist Dave Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond—the inseparable pair took the jazz world by storm with a special blend of sophisticated swing and a cool attitude. Their style was characterized by a rare blend of inventive writing, virtuosic playing, and use of such modern techniques as odd meters, stark jazz harmonies, and Desmond’s own “dry martini” sound. When they put it all together, their music appealed to the new “intellectual listener” of 1950s jazz in a way never before seen.

“Take Five” has been the single top selling jazz hit of all time, and is just one of the many Brubeck/Desmond chart-toppers you will hear in this concert, including “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” “The Duke” and “In Your Own Sweet Way.” This show will include special works composed by Desmond himself never before heard on the SRJO stage.

Tickets here.

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Claire Cundiff
Lady of Wild Creatures
16 x 16 – Encaustone

Wednesday, Feb 21
6 – 8 p.m.

Artists Reception “Northwest Vision”

Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th St S.W.

Meet the artists at this free event and enjoy complimentary appetizers and a no-host bar.

Artists featured:

Bonnie Bucknam
Claire Cundiff
Alfred Currier
Trish Harding
Jeanne Keckler
Niki Keenan
Jason Otto

Learn more at:

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Now through Monday, April 9

Call For Writers
EPIC Group Writers

EPIC Group Writers is currently accepting entries for their 6th annual writing contest. Entries may be submitted on any theme in poetry and prose. Submissions will be judged in two categories – Adult, and Youth (ages 13 through 18)

For information:

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— By James Spangler

When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.

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