Art Beat: Sketcher Fest ticket sale, exhibit opening, a comedy and ballet summer show

I spoke briefly this week with artist d’Elaine Johnson, whose exhibit, World Waters, opens next Monday (interview to come). Johnson is in her 90s and she spoke so joyfully of her craft. Also this week, I’ve been helping prepare young artists for the Sherwood Elementary talent show. One of the singers said singing “makes me feel taller.” It struck me, speaking with Johnson, the importance of a lifelong commitment to art and creativity. Whether the artist is 9 or 90, there is an infectious beauty in the creative process.

Sketcher Fest Edmonds tickets on sale Friday morning at 8 a.m. 

Sketcher Fest Edmonds has announced their event schedule and programming, including workshops, sketch walk and more on July 14-16.

Registration for Sketcher Fest programming is a la carte. You purchase separate tickets for each event you want to attend.

Please take the time to review the programming closely so you are ready to make your choices when tickets go on sale Friday, March 31 at 8 a.m. PDT. They anticipate that tickets for some workshops may go fast. Tickets for other events are also limited due to the capacity of the venues.

For more details and pricing, see the FAQ section on their website or send an email.

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Edmonds Artist, d’Elaine Johnson exhibit, World Waters

d’Elaine Johnson

April 3 through May 22
Edmonds Art Festival Gallery in the Frances Anderson Center
700 Main St., Edmonds

The Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation in partnership with the City of Edmonds Arts Commission presents the exhibit World Waters by Edmonds artist d’Elaine Johnson at the Edmonds Art Festival Gallery.

The exhibit features Johnson’s celebration and acknowledgement of the cultural and mystical variety that make up the history and background of North America in the visual context of her signature interest in water, the sea and ocean. Silent Sea, a recent artwork donation to the City of Edmonds Public Art Collection, is a focal point in the show.

A long-time Edmonds resident, Johnson is a prolific painter with nearly 2,000 paintings to her credit. Her work has been featured in hundreds of exhibits over the past 50 years and is included in many public, corporate and private collections.

She is an integral member of the Edmonds arts community, having served on the inaugural planning committee for the Edmonds Arts Festival, and as part of various initiatives over the years to establish the city as a welcoming place for artists to work and live and a destination for all who are interested in the arts. She is a regular participant in the Edmonds Art Studio Tour and a member of Women Painters of Washington. Johnson has two other paintings in the Edmonds Public Art collection: Raven, which hangs in City Council Chambers; and an early work called Haines Wharf, located in the lobby of Edmonds City Hall.

A former teacher and scuba diver — having once enjoyed diving with Jacques Cousteau during his visit to the Seattle area in the 1950s — Johnson moved to Edmonds with her husband John in 1956. They lived in the Five Corners neighborhood before purchasing acreage in north Edmonds atop a bluff with a panoramic view of Puget Sound/Salish Sea. She and her husband willed the property to Edmonds College (then Edmonds Community College) in the late ‘70s, and 20 years later established a trust for the college’s foundation in recognition for its support of art education.

Her home also houses her studio, where she builds both her canvases and the frames for her paintings. Becoming a full-time artist in 1978, Johnson cites the inspiration for her artwork as her teaching career and her experiences as a scuba diver. Her style evolved from the abstract expressionism of the 1950s and the poetic visuals of the ‘60s. Fully embracing the myths and lore of the waters of the world, Johnson uses many layers of washes of paints applied to rice paper stretched over board, creating a sense of objects seen through a fluid and liquid space. Recently celebrating her 91st birthday, Johnson’s excitement about being an artist is undiminished and her creative exploration of water, which connects to all cultures, continues.

For more information about d’Elaine Johnson, visit her website. Information about the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation is available here, and for the Edmonds Arts Commission here. The Frances Anderson Center is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and is closed on Sunday.

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Sharpen your swords: The Phoenix Theatre’s ‘I Hate Hamlet’ tickets on sale now

April 7 – 30, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
The theater will be closed on Sunday, April 9
The Phoenix Theatre
9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds

Andrew Rally seems to have it all: celebrity and acclaim from his starring role in a hit television series; a rich, beautiful girlfriend; a glamorous, devoted agent; the perfect New York apartment and the chance to play Hamlet in Central Park.

There are, however, a couple of glitches in paradise. Andrew’s series has been canceled; his girlfriend is clinging to her virginity with unyielding conviction and he has no desire to play Hamlet. In the midst of his confusion about what to do about all of it, he is visited by the ghost of legendary actor John Barrymore as a mentor, and Andrew’s life is no longer his own.

Hijinks ensue and the laughs are nonstop as Andrew wrestles with his conscience, Barrymore, his sword, and confronts the ultimate question:

Who he wants to be, or not be?

The show is written by Paul Rudnick. The talented cast features Josiah Miller as Andrew Rally, Susan Connors as Felicia Dantine, Mary Guthrie Leedy as Deirdre McDavey, Dawn Cornell as Lillian Troy, Jag Griffin as John Barrymore and Thomas Glass as Gary Lefkowitz. The show is directed by Keith Dahlgren and produced with the permission of Dramatist Play Service, Inc.

Tickets for adults are $25 and $20 for Seniors 55+/Students/US Military and Veterans.

Get tickets here!

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Olympic Ballet Theatre summer performance tickets available

Taylor Lim & William Lin-Yee in Borderland. (Photo by Into Dust Photography)

Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.
Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N., Edmonds

Olympic Ballet Theatre (OBT) closes its performance season with an eclectic display celebrating the diversity of ballet. This annual production honors tradition and spotlights innovation, featuring excerpts from classical ballets by famed choreographers of the past and new contemporary ballet works by talented choreographers of today.

The 2023 production of Summer Performance includes Paquita Grand Pas Classique. This classical ballet excerpt with original choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Ludwig Minkus was added to Act III of Paquita in 1881. While most of the original ballet has been lost to time, Paquita Grand Pas Classique is a treasured part of many ballet companies’ repertoire to this day. This passage is considered a masterpiece of classical ballet, featuring a parade of variations, solos, and corps de ballet.

The performance also features a world premiere by OBT company dancer, Alberto Gaspar. Gaspar’s choreographic resume includes works created for St. Louis Ballet and Ballet Memphis, video works used for museum exhibitions, and two contemporary ballet pieces previously premiered at OBT – Transfigurations in 2019 and 1 in 10^2,685,000 in 2022.

Get tickets to this one-night-only show here.

Also make sure to grab tickets to OBT’s The Sleeping Beauty before they sell out.

— By Elizabeth Murray

Photo by Brittany Gross

Elizabeth Murray is a freelance writer thankful to call Edmonds home. When she’s not busy wrangling her two kids (and husband), you can find her playing ukulele and singing with The Band LeLe.


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