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Edmonds Arts Festival crowd (Image courtesty of Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation)
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Edmonds Arts Festival returns stronger than ever June 17-19

A beloved arts festival returns to the PNW on June 17-19.

The Edmonds Arts Festival will feature over 160 painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, woodworkers and more. Noelle Dass is among them. She is a painter known for her whimsical style, bright colors and playful subjects. Many of her works, known as "Artimals" feature cuddly critters in various states of play. It’s hard to pass them by without smiling. Most people appreciate how joyful and happy these "Artimals" are, but there is a deeper meaning behind each of the paintings.

"People often share with me their speculation about what a joyful, happy childhood I may have had. What I tell people is that my childhood wasn’t exactly wonderful, but that I miraculously and intuitively learned to create my own joy through my art."

This form of self-therapy is probably more common with artists than we realize, and the end result is that it is not only therapeutic for them, but for us, as well. And boy, do we need it.

"With all of the sorrow and pain in today’s world, it has me even more determined to create something joyful that someone can hang in their home, that will, perhaps for a moment, slightly offset the darkness in this world," says Dass.

Artists from all over the country and Canada have showcased their craft at the Edmonds Arts Festival since 1957. It is one of the state’s oldest and largest festivals, where artists often return year after year. For Dass, this will be her 19th year to exhibit her work here. So, why does she keep coming back?

"It is one of my best art festivals," says Dass. "I keep doing this one because the staff are wonderful. They treat the artists really well, which isn’t always the case at art festivals. They also put a lot of resources into their art community, which fosters an appreciation for art, which in turn, brings more people to the festival."

Not your momma’s arts and crafts show

Spread out all over the Frances Anderson Center, the arts festival is always held on Father’s Day weekend, and it always draws in a crowd. Here you’ll find people who can make amazing creations out of wood, metal, glass and clay. Steve Lawler, owner of rePly Furniture, creates eco-friendly and beautiful furniture, from discarded plywood scraps, David Egnatz makes "Hangloose Hammocks" and Raul Carranza creates 3-D wooden maps. Cheryl Brown also uses maps in her art, although in a totally different way.

"I have always been fascinated with old maps, books, sheet music, scraps of paper and fabric, wrappers and ribbons, and see possibilities – color, value, texture in everything," she says in her bio. "Challenged to take those things that have been cast aside and re-purpose them to new life in my art is what excites and inspires me."

Cheryl’s "rock, paper, scissors" artwork consists of reproductions of old maps and a feathered friend or two is quite different from her previous craft. "I’m a reformed quilter," she says. This will be Cheryl’s sixth attendance at the Edmonds festival. Her first took place the same weekend she took ownership of her new home in Edmonds. She spent the weekend working at the festival and then coming home to an empty house and having to sleep on an air mattress. For this year’s festival, Brown will be bringing so new pieces created using nautical maps and some maps from the 1800s.

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What’s new this year

In addition to the booth artists, the Edmonds Arts Festival features numerous galleries inside the Frances Anderson Center featuring juried art from more than 400 artists created by established artists, students and emerging artists. Children's art is of value here, as well. One of the Edmonds Arts Festivals’ missions is promoting art and art education to children. This festival is one of the premier student art events in the U.S., which will display over 1,100 pieces of art from K-12 grade students all from the Edmonds area.

Even after all of this time, the Edmonds Arts Festival continues to evolve. One of the new features offered this year is the Small Works Marketplace gallery, which will showcase small artisan works, miniatures and small paintings, all of which will be up for sale and may be taken home at the time of purchase. The small artisan works (fiber arts, woodwork, ceramics, jewelry and glass) are no larger than 12” square.

Also new this year is the Edmonds Plaza, a newly refocused venue that will showcase a variety of artisans who call Edmonds their home. The art, created by 30+ artisans, will be displayed in an outdoor, park-like setting close by to live music, savory snacks and a great view of the Olympic mountains. This will be a place where some artists will be demonstrating and explaining how they make their art. Visiting artists can even find information on local art-focused groups around the area.

The art of music and food

The performing arts are not forgotten at the festival. The amphitheater will present a wide variety of acts from professional bands to local school bands playing everything from country western to classical music to rock and roll. Musical performances scheduled include The Secrets (folk), Budapest West (world beat), Stacy Jones (blues), Carly Ann Calbero (folk rock), Commander Mojo (danceable rock and roll), Jazz Punishments (big band) and a lot more. The grassy field is a great place to picnic with foods and treats found at the festival. More than 20 food and beverage vendors will be on hand throughout the festival grounds, offering a mix of traditional festival food, ethnic specialties and healthy selections. This is in addition to the Beer & Wine Grotto, serving Edmond’s own artisan beers and wines.

The Edmonds Arts Festival will be held June 17-19, 2022 at Frances Anderson Center located at 700 Main Street, Edmonds, WA 98026. Hours: Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.

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