Artfully Edmonds: Edmonds through the lens of Bob Sears, plus wine and all that jazz

Bob Sears in his natural element. (Photo by James Spangler)

I witnessed a drive-by shooting the other day. Hold on – it’s not what you think. This is Edmonds. A photographer jumped out of his car, disappeared into a realtor’s office, emerged with a guy and snapped several pictures. Turns out it was the perfect opportunity to capture the realtor, whose motorcycle was perfectly positioned in front of his office. A target of opportunity.

The shooter, Bob Sears, has been fascinated by photography since he was a little kid. So much so, that by the time he was in high school his father had set up a dark room so that he could develop and enlarge his own film. That worked out well for him. When he was accepted at the LA Art Center College of Design, he was able to get a side gig working at Bob Olsen Photo Blowup. They produced giant photos for studios with shows like Sonny and Cher and The Glen Campbell Show.

Armed with a diploma, he landed in Chicago and worked in advertising at one of the largest advertising firms in the world – Leo Burnett, USA. Burnett created ad characters like Snap Crackle and Pop, Tony the Tiger, Charlie the Tuna, the Keebler Elf, Ronald McDonald and many others. After being “downsized,” Sears and long-time partner Marianne Legg found that they could agree on a move to the Pacific Northwest. Reconnoitering in South Snohomish County, they got lost and found themselves traveling down Edmonds Way on a gorgeous, sunny afternoon. Edmonds won their hearts. That was some 20 years ago.

Wherever Bob goes, his camera can’t be too far behind. As he looked around Edmonds, he hit on the idea of shooting the exterior areas of commercial buildings with the current occupant standing outside. “One of the things I liked about Edmonds was the wacky architecture. I felt like someone should document it before all the destruction — excuse me, construction — got to it,” he quipped.

Over the last couple of decades, he’s accumulated over 100 of these exterior shots. Bob describes himself as an opportunistic photographer. Some of his major influencers are Gustave Caillebotte, Stephen Shore and Thomas Struth. Sears is always looking for the human component, and seeks to simultaneously showcase both common and exceptional elements in his compositions.

Chasing the human element took him inside many of the businesses in downtown Edmonds as well. His interiors collection also exceeds 100 images. He always generously offers the subject of his work a copy or two, making him a pretty popular guy around here. He volunteered his expertise in creating a series of  “Then and Now” photos for Edmonds’ 125th anniversary celebration.

He’s done several projects for the Edmonds Historical Museum, The Driftwood Players and others. Recently he’s been focusing on the fishing pier here in town. He calls it the “United Nations of Edmonds.”

“There’s Norwegians and Vietnamese folks standing side by side down there, pulling salmon, crab, squid and eel out of the water,” he said. “On nice days, you can get some great shots.”

Occasionally, he’ll do a exhibition or he’ll enter one of his pieces in a local contest. He won 1st place in the photography category at the Kenmore Art Festival last year, and best in show in the photography category, 2016, at the Edmonds Art Festival.

He’s amazed when he hears people say there’s nothing to do in Edmonds. From his side of the camera, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Art State: Washington paintings at Cafe Louvre.

Thursday, May 17
5-8 p.m.

Art Walk Edmonds

Join Art Walkers this month for what promises to be an AWEsome evening of fingerpainting, portraiture, photography, glass, pottery and music.

One sure highlight will be Café Louvre, where multiple artists featured in local artist and printer Lillyann Hendershot’s book “Art State: Washington” will be holding a reception.

Hendershot’s book will also be available at the reception. More information about that here.

Earth and Clay Pottery by this month’s featured artist Stacey Murphy, showing at Soundview Family Dental 201 5th Ave. S.
(Photo courtesy Art Walk Edmonds)

Another great option for the evening will be dropping by Soundview Dental (201 5th Ave S.) to check out the pottery of this month’s featured artist Stacy Murphy.

Also on Thursday night, don’t forget the Edmonds Bookshop author event:

This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home

The bookshop will hold a reception for authors Kirsten Lunstrum and Elisabeth Eaves, who will share their stories and insights on this thought-provoking collection of personal essays about home.

Described as a “breathtaking, thought-provoking collection, 30 women writers explore the theme in personal essays about neighbors, marriage, kids, sentimental objects, homelessness, domestic violence, solitude, immigration, gentrification, geography, and so much more.” More at

There’s lots to see and do, so download the Artwalk map and plan your route here.

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Saturday, May 19

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Edmonds Jazz Connection

Big Bands — Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Chorales – North Sound Center
404 Bell St.

Combos – Edmonds Theater
415 Main St.

Love jazz? The Edmonds Jazz Connection is a local music festival, including a full day of performances from nationally recognized and award-winning High School and Middle School jazz programs from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Sponsored by the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary, it highlights numerous student groups that have performed in prestigious competitions nationwide. Jazz Connection is an encore for these accomplished students who perform for the community, and showcase their improvisational talents while playing side-by-side with professional musicians.

Jazz Connection is also a pivotal fundraiser that directly supports school music programs and students.

For more info:

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Friday – Sunday, May 18, 19 and 20

Fri – Sat – 8 p.m.
Sun – 2 p.m.
(one weekend only)

Edmonds Driftwood Players Present:
Gutenberg! The Musical

Directed by Shileah Corey
Produced by Ted Jaquith

Wade James Theatre
950 Main St.

The hilarious musical spoof Gutenberg! The Musical! is coming to EDP. Local theatre favorites star as two aspiring playwrights performing a staged reading of their new passion project for potential producers: a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg.

In this side-splitting comedy, writers Bud Davenport and Doug Simon sing all the songs and play all of the parts in their crass historical epic, all with an unending supply of enthusiasm. The New York Times called the show, “a smashing success,” while the New York Post enthused, “There are lots of genuine laughs in Gutenberg!”

Tickets here.

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New York Voices

Saturday, May 19
7:30 p.m.

ECA presents: New York Voices: 30th Anniversary Celebration

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

Known for their close-knit voicings, inspired arangements and unparalleled vocal blend, New York Voices’ chameleon-like musicianship allows them to move seamlessly from setting to setting, be it orchestral/big band to the intimate trio lineup.

Learn more here.

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Sunday, May 20
4 p.m. – VIP
5 p.m. – general admission

Decant Edmonds – a Festival of Fine Wine

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

The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce presents the first Decant Edmonds! Are you ready to savor incredible wine while enjoying delectable bites from local chefs? Sip wine from 12 local wineries, sample craft beer & cider and taste great local cuisine. Don’t miss this evening of fine wine, food and music in the beautiful ECA.

Purchase tickets here.

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The music of the Nordic Choir will transport you to Norway.

Sunday, May 20
2 p.m.

Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle and Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle present:

Songs of Norway

Ballard First Lutheran Church
2006 N.W. 65th St.

How about a little excursion into Ballard on Sunday? If you love choral music and Scandinavian culture, this might be just the ticket for your Sunday afternoon.

Suggestion donation: $15 general admission/$12 senior/$5 students/children free.

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Friday, May 25
5:30 p.m

SIFF Opening Night Benefit Party

Shoreline Community College Theater
16101 Greenwood Ave. N.
Building #1600

Click for map link.

Join the folks with the northern most Seattle International Film Festival’s venue for an evening of wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, a meet and greet, and the screening of this year’s opening night film.

Proceeds benefit the Performing Arts and Digital Filmmaking Scholarship awarded to students each year by the Shoreline Community College Foundation.


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Now – May 20

(See link below for showtimes)


Everett Performing Arts Center
2710 Wetmore Ave.

A brand-new story with a mythological twist, this world premiere musical is a fun and fresh fable about fate, love, and the wonders of chocolate. On a mountaintop high over ancient Greece, three sisters – goddesses known as the Greek Fates – are responsible for spinning, measuring, and snipping the String of Life. After falling out of favor with Zeus, they find themselves banished to a modern skyscraper in the mortal world. But when the eldest sister falls in love, the very fabric of the universe begins to unravel. With a book and score by the award-winning Sarah Hammond and Adam Gwon, String takes a charming new look at the imperfections that make us human.

For showtime information, visit

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Friday, June 1,      3-10 p.m.
Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 3,    11 a.m. -7 p.m.

Edmonds Rotary and Daybreakers Rotary Clubs Present:

The Edmonds Waterfront Festival – 2018

The countdown is on! Edmonds’ annual three-day festival of food, performance, vendors, entertainment and great fun is just around the corner. Be sure to mark your calendar.

Learn more at

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Artist Danny Pierce – Tom Codding – 1963

Now through – Sunday, July 1

Modern Alaska: Art of the Midnight Sun, 1930–1970

Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset Ave. #E

Cascadia Art Museum will present works of art created by mid-century Northwest artists related to their travels to Alaska. Photographer Verna Haffer, painter and printmaker Danny Pierce, Stephen Fuller, and native Alaskan artists Bernard Katexac and Joseph Senungetuk are featured. More at

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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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