Do we all know Edmonds is an Arts Community? You bet we do! We know we have something new called a “Creative District” (the first in the state). We know we have the Edmonds Center for the Arts, and of course we know we have the Cascadia Art Museum, Cascade Symphony, Sno-King Choral, Mosaic Choir, Olympic Ballet, Barclay-Shelton Dance Studio, Driftwood Theater, and Phoenix Theater. And of course we have art galleries, art studios, an Art Festival, writer’s conferences, art walks, jazz festivals, and Concerts in the Park.
I’m sure I have left something out, but you get the idea. We are known as an “arts community”… and with pretty good reason. From the city government viewpoint, as we have reported, the arts are very good in many ways. The arts, when mixed with our “scenic seaside setting,” small town atmosphere, terrific parks, wonderful shopping, and treasure trove of restaurants, increase our presence as a prominent “arts hub.”
Using the arts as a focus certainly has begun to assist in developing our reputation as a daytime destination for visitors from across the region and beyond. And no, it’s not all about the dollars the arts bring to the city! Having a strong and vibrant arts program brings other benefits. A good example would be the high-quality retail jewelry stores we have in Edmonds. Candidly they all consider themselves, as they should, artists. Besides being artists they are also good business people with high reputations.
Another example of the enrichment from the arts is the high-quality arts programs in our public and private schools. The music program in Edmonds schools is outstanding! Although not as often noted, the drama, art and writing programs in our schools are among the best. The arts student from the local schools go on to two- and four-year colleges and many of them, when returning, find ways to engage with their art form in our community and the region.
The final benefit I will mention of having a high quality arts community, whether as individual artists or larger performing groups, is we create an atmosphere which recreates itself, benefiting the ongoing cultural expectations we have of ourselves. Additionally, with the cultural enrichment we have created, the sense of the importance we give the arts spreads the word that we are in fact an arts community.
So we need to ask ourselves, how many communities of 42,000 citizens provide the broad exposure of so many art forms? Few and far between is the answer. The arts not only set Edmonds apart in our region, they also bring a rich cultural experience which enriches our community as well as our neighbors.
— By Dave Earling, Mayor of Edmonds