Time may be running out for popular Edmonds mural

Muralist Andy Eccleshall is joined by his wife Ingrid Junker, putting themselves into the scene of Window in Time. Over its five-year run, the mural has been a popular photo backdrop for residents and visitors to town. (Photo courtesy Andy Eccleshall)

It’s been drawing attention since first appearing five years ago facing an alleyway along 4th Avenue North. But with the recent opening of SanKai Sushi in the northeast corner of the 315 Main Building, word has it that the Window in Time mural by local artist Andy Eccleshall will be painted over at some point in 2020.

Window in Time is one of several downtown murals originally commissioned by the Edmonds Mural Society, the precursor to Mural Project Edmonds (MPE) It’s one of those works that draws you in, taking the viewer on a walk through Edmonds’ past from the present to the year 1850 in a five-block visual stroll down Main Street.

Window in Time bears the name of muralist Andy Eccleshall and its completion date of 2013.

Along the way, the viewer’s eye passes historic Edmonds landmarks. These include the Edmonds Theater, the art deco Beeson Building, the Shumacher Building (first commercial building in downtown and current home to Chanterelle Restaurant), and the Edmonds Bank Building — finally blending into plumes of smoke rising from the early 20th-century waterfront shingle mills. Other things change too. The atmosphere moves from a full-color present to an ethereal sepia-tone past, and from a modern electric vehicle to a tall ship under full sail.

Borrowing perspective techniques from no less than Leonardo DaVinci, Eccleshall’s work tricks the eye into thinking it is looking directly down the center of Main Street regardless of the viewer’s angle — left, right or center. Window in Time continues to draw visitors as a popular backdrop for photos, allowing the subjects to become part of the scene.

On his The Muralworks website, Eccleshall describes Window in Time as follows:

“Painted for the Edmonds Mural Society this mural is a journey through time. The mural depicts Edmonds Main St. The further down Main St.  you look in the mural, the further back in time you go. At the end of the street (the waterfront) the year is 1850. As your eye moves each block further towards the front, the year becomes 20-30 years later until you reach modern day on the bottom right. Each building is correct for its time in its block, according to the period.”

Window in Time takes the viewer from present-day Edmonds to 1850 in a visual stroll through time down Main Street.

But time, as they say, moves on and Window in Time appears poised to become part of the past it celebrates.

“When the initial mural society was formed back in the mid 2000s, most murals were under contract for a period of usually five years,” explains Denise Cole, who heads up Mural Project Edmonds, a subgroup of Art Walk  “After that period of time, the owners of the walls and businesses have the right to paint over or replace anything on their walls.” Recently, Cole said, SanKai Sushi owner Shubert Ho approached her about the possibility of painting over the current mural, and wondered if Mural Project Edmonds might consider doing a new one in its place.

Ho, who owns SanKai along with Andrew Leckie, adds: “I am not actually in charge of the mural nor have any final decision-making power as I don’t own the exterior of the building, We do not plan on painting over anything without prior approval of the landlord.”

The building, which also houses The Churchkey Pub, Salt and Iron restaurant and several other businesses, is owned by Third Avenue South Properties LLC and managed by Azose Properties of Mercer Island. Governors are Jon Mayo, Michelle Mayo Clark and Stephanie Mayo, children of the late Jacque Mayo, Edmonds dentist, booster and local entrepreneur who was involved in several Edmonds-based businesses. His obituary notes that the Edmonds Theater was his favorite. Notably, Dr. Mayo appears on the mural in the theater lobby (also painted by Andy Eccleshall), juxtaposed among some of his favorite screen stars.  His likeness is in the right corner, next to James Dean.

According to Cole, one idea for a future downtown mural is a Japanese art-themed tribute to Edmonds sister city Hekinan, but whether it would be on this wall or another — or indeed even come to fruition — is still to be decided. Also under discussion is extending future contracts with wall owners from the current five years to 10 or more years as new murals go up, Cole said.

Cole explained that MPE is still in the evaluation and planning process for spring and summer 2020, so the question of what, if anything, might replace Window in Time remains undecided.  She went on to stress that ultimately, it is the property owners and business owners that have control of their walls, and that MPE exists to bring “beautiful, diverse, professional art to walls in downtown Edmonds.”

Eccleshall, who has been painting murals his entire professional life, is no stranger to the ephemeral nature of this art form.

“By their very nature, murals are transient,” he explains. “The walls I paint them on are borrowed. These are private buildings, and often the owner of the building or business wants to go in another direction. They have the absolute right to do whatever they want with the building, and there’s no obligation on their part to keep anything. Muralists completely understand that these are not permanent fixtures — we’re not creating art for the ages. This will happen to all murals in the end; it’s part of the cycle.

“Am I disappointed to see it go? Of course I am,” he added. “I had so much fun doing it. Researching the project, and then actually putting the paint on the wall was an absolute blast. People would stop by and talk — I had some really great conversations. My friend Paul Anderson was a regular visitor while I was doing it and to honor him I included his car — the Nissan Leaf — in the foreground. I really appreciate the show of support and positive comments that have come our way since word got out that Window in Time would be going away. It’s lovely to hear how people feel about it.

“Edmonds is an arts culture; it’s one of the reasons we chose to live here and I’m very proud to have been able to leave my mark on the town,” he concluded. “I’ve gotten away with leaving my graffiti for years and not be arrested! We wish Shubert the best of luck with the business; we’re excited to see what comes next.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

27 Replies to “Time may be running out for popular Edmonds mural”

  1. Add my name to the disappointed list. I would be in favor of keeping the mural and so would our grandchildren and friends.

    We enjoyed our first dinner at SanKai but eliminating the mural will leave a sour taste.

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  2. We all have our favorite murals. Some have already been painted over. The only way to preserve a mural if for you to purchase the building, or pay the owner to leave the mural. On the positive side it does give artists an opportunity to continue with new works of art. Visitors have something new to look at, like in an art gallery. As an artist that restores paintings, I certainly appreciate restoration of meaningful art. I loved our used bookstore and the mural of painted books along the exterior. I have taken several photos, and soon will paint my own painting on canvas to remember a piece of history.

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  3. My only thought is why would you paint something Japan over Edmonds? VIsitors to our area would be scratching their heads. KEep to the history of Edmonds or Edmonds themes would be smarter.

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  4. It’s good to have Andy weigh in on the possible disappearance of his mural. He has done other good murals in town and I hope he wil be able to grace us with his talent in another area of Edmonds.

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  5. Painting over this wonderful mural would make us very sad indeed. This is our favorite and depicts a real bit of Edmonds history. We would be disappointed if the owner of the building allows the mural to be replaced. We pass it every day on walks and it never fails to lift our spirits.

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  6. This is one of my favorite murals. It reminds us of Edmonds past. I love it. I can understand painting over the wonderful books but not our Edmonds historical mural. If the restaurant decides to paint over it. I will be not be a patron

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  7. Since the beautiful mural on the front of the building has already been painted over, why not replace it with one to match the restaurant and leave the side mural that Andy painted alone? Businesses can change quickly in Edmonds and the thought of loosing this spectacular mural that actually draws tourists for a (perhaps, but hopefully not temporary!) business seems sad. Who decides this anyway? Hopefully this out pouring of love will help sway the committee!

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  8. I hope the building owners will reconsider painting over this mural. It’s the best in Edmonds and the one I take my grandchildren to see.

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  9. In days gone by when people were writing and drawing/painting on parchment, I’ve heard sometimes they were re-used, writing/drawing on top of previous works

    In The Edmonds Bowl there are still plenty of other walls for new murals! We don’t need to destroy perfectly good, beauty!

    I hope the building “God(s)” check with residents and visitors before destroying a perfectly good piece of art!

    and/or . . .

    perhaps somehow, there is someone with the ability to start a campaign to allow it to remain for future visitors to enjoy???

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  10. To see the Window in Time mural painted over would sadden me simply because the mural includes important pieces of Edmonds history while providing a great backdrop for those Edmonds residents and visitors who wish to take a picture and create a memory. Were the Window in Time mural to be painted over, I would want to see it repainted at another Edmonds location to provide am historic glimpse of Edmonds.

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  11. It is, by far, my favorite mural in Edmonds. I have lived here since early 1960 and relate to some of the images depicted in this “Window in Time.” I always show our visitors this mural. I would be so sad to see in go…

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  12. My favorite mural in Edmonds. Would hate to see it leave. It’s a well illustrated piece of history. The use of perspective is wonderful.

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  13. The mural is my favorite and hope the owners of the building will reconsider painting it over. I don’t think it will help the new restaurant to have this wonderful image of Edmonds destroyed. Please reconsider!

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  14. The only real history remaining in Edmonds are the buildings, and they will remain longer if we do not increase building height. Long ago lumber mills along the water was the history long gone by.

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  15. Just what is driving the act of removing or painting over the mural? Are we tired of it? Is the paint failing by fading or flaking off? Does the building owner not like it or feels that the space should be devoted to something that better supports his/her business interests? If it is failing some how, could the artist be prevailed upon to fix it? This just seems like kind of an arbitrary decision of someone in the mix here. It doesn’t sound like public input will be much of a factor in whatever this decision ends up being.

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  16. Part of what makes art good is that it is sometimes temporary. This is one of the better murals, some of the others should be sunset too. Props to the artists putting themselves out there.

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  17. This is an interesting discussion. At it’s core is private property rights. We have codes that control the use of private property like building heights and other codes dealing with the physical attributes of the structures themselves. The murals are in keeping with our Arts Community look and feel around town.

    What is missing in our community conversation is the idea of “how do we preserve the character of downtown?” We have the preservation commission but they focus on individual buildings and not areas. Council has tried to keep the look and feel of DT but generally they do that by preventing something from happening rather then encouraging something to happen.

    All the candidates who ran for council said they want to preserve DT. Now that their will be 4 new council members, a majority, we can get to the discussion of how would we create a “Preservation District”?

    A community discussion would be great! The city has Free Access to Survey Monkey and could craft some questions to get the conversation started. If the questions are posed correctly the results can be obtained with no detailed analysis on the part of staff. A portion of the Parking Study was instant and no work required. It all depends on how one phases the questions.

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  18. On this particular issue, if it is strictly up to the building owner what happens, maybe the preservation commission should reach out to the owner(s) to see if he/she or they want public input. If not, it’s a moot point and waste of time to worry about it. The mural is only a representation of what was, not what was. That’s a big difference I think. Saving the Carnagie building -was important. The mural – probably not that important.

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  19. F it’s up to the owner then your right moot point. In most cases it looks like it would better the building owners property. Who pays the artist?

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