Edmonds Art Beat: A peek behind the scenes at Edmonds Center for Arts

Interview with Liz Dawson, ECA director of marketing and business development 

Liz Dawson
The exterior of Edmonds Center for the Arts

Like every other arts organization (and businesses in general), the Edmonds Center for the Arts has worked hard over the last 18-plus months to stay afloat. The focus during that time was to engage the community when live, in-person performances were not allowed, and to keep the staff on board. Through creativity and community involvement, ECA has come through some hard times and is cautiously optimistic about the 2021-22 season.

I had the opportunity to talk directly with Liz Dawson, the ECA’s director of marketing and business development. Liz joined the team just four days before the pandemic forced everyone to start working from home. An interesting start to her role, but one that allowed her to jump into all sorts of creative endeavors. The shift in focus away from in-person events gave Liz and the ECA team time to work on areas of social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Before taking the role with ECA, Liz had spent more than 10 years working with Seattle-based non-profits specifically focused on art in the community. The opportunity to work with an organization in Edmonds, where she lives, was a dream come true. Although starting in a new job and immediately having to work from home wasn’t what she expected, she appreciated the opportunity to have a voice in new programs that were created and got to see the team come together and show great creativity in a time of crisis. Now that activities are starting to slowly resume, she is excited to be able to focus on promoting artists and re-engaging the community with local events and performances.

The ECA’s 2021-22 season has a mix of shows that were postponed, and some new special engagements. She said that the season opener went well, and the ticket holders and staff all did a great job with the new vaccine and COVID testing requirements, dealing with masks and protocols, and still having a wonderful time enjoying a performance. The community has been eager to return, and the staff and volunteers at ECA look forward to providing these opportunities. There are many events coming up for this season, happening now through next summer, and the ECA team is working hard to provide a safe place to enjoy in-person events.

When I asked Liz what she was most excited about, it took a bit to narrowed it down. All of the programming and artists are worth talking about, but here are a few select highlights of what is to come:

This November, AK Dan Gwang Chill, a Korean folk pop group, will be putting on a lively performance, blending upbeat pop with traditional folk sons, led by three powerhouse female vocalists. This should be a unique and unforgettable event for all.

AK Dan Gwang Chill

Liz also mentioned her excitement for legendary ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro returning to Edmonds this December. This year he will be doing a special show Christmas in Hawaii.

In the spring, one of the standout performances on the calendar will be Ranky Tanky. They have a fun mix of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. They put on a very soulful and special performance.

Ranky Tanky

Most of all, Liz wanted to communicate to our community that ECA is back and working hard to make sure events can happen safely. The team understands that not everyone is ready to go back to in-person events and is continuing to add virtual options and livestreams wherever possible. After the success of the 2021 Summer Series, they are already developing something similar for 2022. Stay tuned for more details!

Check out the full calendar of events here, and, keep in mind that ECA is available as a rental for future events.

— By Rachel Gardner

Rachel Gardner has a heartfelt appreciation for art in all forms and believes everyone is an artist, some just don’t know it yet. A dedicated and involved Edmonds resident, she can often be spotted onstage cracking jokes between sets or in the audience enjoying local live performances. She enjoys being playful with her art and finding unique ways of expression, like forming a boho-grunge-folk ukulele trio with local Edmonds moms.

 

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