On Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, Edmonds City Council will decide whether to include $75,000 to support the operation of Edmonds Center for the Arts as part of its FY 2019 Budget.
We believe such an investment would be consistent with the values and interests of the citizens of Edmonds.
- The City of Edmonds values arts and culture, and its own Edmonds Center for the Arts is one of the most impactful performing arts centers in the region. Each year, ECA presents 30 concerts by performers from around the world, hosts over 100 additional partner and rental events in its beautiful and historic auditorium, and engages more than 8,000 students and seniors in arts education and outreach programs that truly change lives.
- The City of Edmonds values history, and its own Edmonds Center for the Arts operates the original Edmonds High School campus. This historic property includes the 1921 addition to the original High School, as well as the 1939 Works Progress Administration (WPA) Auditorium and Gymnasium projects. These buildings are meaningful to longtime Edmonds residents and to hundreds of alumni from Edmonds High School, Edmonds Jr. High and Puget Sound Christian College, and they preserve essential pieces of our community’s history.
- The City of Edmonds values community, and since ECA opened its doors in October 2006, it has been the home for many local arts and community groups (Cascade Symphony Orchestra, Olympic Ballet Theatre and Sno-King Community Chorale), and for hundreds of local volunteers, for students of all ages, for senior citizens, for members of our community living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, for teachers learning how to incorporate the arts into their daily curriculum, for thought leaders sharing new ideas and finding solutions to challenging problems, and for audience members enjoying spectacular performances by world-renowned artists in a beautiful and intimate facility close to home.
- The City of Edmonds values prudent financial management and thoughtful investment, and its citizens value a strong return on the investments they make. An investment of $75,000 in support of the continued operational stability and programmatic success of ECA will help yield even higher impact on the local economy, preserve our historic facilities, and increase access to vital programs and services for students, seniors and families in need.
Important investments have been made in ECA by other government agencies, community partners and individuals:
- The State of Washington has invested more than $11 million in the renovation of our 1939 Edmonds High School Auditorium into what we now call Edmonds Center for the Arts.
- Private citizens, corporations and foundations have invested an additional $5 million into ECA’s historic facility.
- In the most recent three-year period, Snohomish County, the State of Washington and ECA itself have combined to invest more than $775,000 in facility maintenance including a new roof over the 1939 gymnasium, and upgrades to essential infrastructure and equipment.
- Hundreds of volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to ECA through their work as ushers, concessionaires, administrative staff and special event support. The value of volunteer support contributed to ECA each year is estimated to be in excess of $200,000.
The recent Edmonds Arts and Culture Economic Impact Study notes that ECA is estimated to have an annual impact of $7.5 million on the local economy. The operation of the center, the 25 team members it employs, and the activities and audiences it hosts bring significant business and tax revenues to the City of Edmonds.
The City of Edmonds recently assisted ECA with a refinancing of bonds originally issued to help pay for the renovation of its historic auditorium. This refinancing will help free up resources for ECA to more quickly begin repaying its loan from the City. None of the savings realized from this recent refinancing will be utilized for ECA operations as these funds are dedicated to paying down debt related to the 2006 auditorium renovation.
The future of ECA is very bright. New partnerships are in development with major regional institutions and they promise exciting new program and facility development on the ECA Campus, helping ECA to preserve history, while opening doors to new possibilities. ECA is growing, serving more members of our community every day with more rental events, more presentations and more education and outreach programs. With the City’s help, ECA can continue to do more, grow more and provide more for its citizens.
Edmonds Center for the Arts is a tremendous asset for the City of Edmonds and its citizens. We urge Edmonds City Council to support Mayor Dave Earling’s budget proposal to invest $75,000 in ECA in 2019. And we thank our Edmonds City Council Members who support including this item in the City’s FY 2019 Budget. Their leadership and vision, and their belief in the value of ECA to the Edmonds community is inspiring and is appreciated by the many thousands of Edmonds citizens who also invest in and benefit from Edmonds Center for the Arts.
On behalf of the Edmonds Public Facilities District Board of Directors, the Edmonds Center for the Arts Board of Directors, and the Staff and Volunteers of Edmonds Center for the Arts