Sponsor spotlight: Making the Edmonds Arts Festival magic happen — part 2, Edmonds Arts Plaza, the festival’s ‘hidden gem’

Photos courtesy Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation

On Father’s Day weekend, hundreds of artists converge on the Frances Anderson Center to sell and to show their amazing creations. Their artwork attracts tens of thousands of visitors, transforming the Field of the Edmonds Arts Festival into a bustling hive of activity. As a contrast and complement to the high energy of the Field, on the opposite side of Frances Anderson Center, a peaceful oasis awaits. Perched above the library and tucked away from the noise of the street is a park-like setting with incredible views. The smaller footprint, live music and wide-open vistas create a relaxed ambiance and leisurely experience for all. This “hidden gem” of the festival is the Edmonds Arts Plaza.

Everything about the Edmonds Arts Plaza calls out “sanctuary.” Browse spacious artist booths and the Edmonds Plaza Room filled with art from Edmonds-area artists. Strike up a conversation with the local nonprofits who dot the Plaza to become informed and inspired. Soak up the joy coming from Kids Create, where young people have a space to explore their artistic side. Sit down at a table where you can catch your breath, rest your feet, and take in the stunning views of the Salish Sea and Olympic mountains while enjoying mellow musical performances at the Edmonds Arts Plaza Stage.

Showcasing the Artists and Musicians of Edmonds

Edmonds singer-songwriters perform on the Edmonds Plaza Stage.

Edmonds was the first certified Creative District in Washington, and Edmonds-area artists make up a large part of the community. However, getting a booth on the Field of the Edmonds Arts Festival had become so coveted and competitive that many local artists weren’t able to be represented. Director Julaine Fleetwood had a vision to change that. Four years ago, she created a special venue at the Festival that would exclusively feature Edmonds-area artists. The Edmonds Arts Plaza was born. Today on the Edmonds Arts Plaza, visitors can meet and mingle with nearly 50 established and emerging visual artists from the local region.

Inside the large Edmonds Plaza Room, enjoy a preview show of one of Edmonds’ time-tested events: the Edmonds Art Studio Tour. Guests can meet some of the artists who participate in this popular annual tour of local art studios and have an early opportunity to purchase their art.

In addition to perusing the visual arts, you can listen to live music at Edmonds Arts Plaza all weekend. Entertainment features Edmonds’ singer-songwriters, groups from the Edmonds Senior Center, and student performers from the Edmonds School District. There is plenty of open seating with tables for you to relax and enjoy the entertainment.

A Platform for Nonprofits

Nonprofits play a key role in the Arts, so Julaine made sure to include them in the Edmonds Arts Plaza. Grab a treat from the snack bar run by Edmonds-Woodway High School Music Boosters. Kids will be clamoring to get their faces painted by EWHS art students. Get inspired by Art for All, featuring art for sale and live demonstrations by individuals with disabilities. Olympic Ballet, Edmonds Waterfront Center and Edmonds Food Bank are other nonprofits at the Edmonds Arts Plaza, showing how art touches our community in so many ways.

Kids Create

For younger children, a favorite place on the Edmonds Arts Plaza is Kids Create. Located in a large, tented space, there are fun, hands-on art experiences and instruction for kids — or for those that are simply young at heart.

Directors Kavina LaDean and Tiffany Sharn facilitate Kids Create, a playground where curiosity thrives and cognitive skills are honed through hands-on exploration. With access to art supplies, compassionate guidance, and attentive volunteers, children are empowered to authentically express themselves.

As an artist herself, Kavina has witnessed the transformative power of art. She is passionate in her belief that the Edmonds Arts Festival is more than just a fun event – it is truly a catalyst for igniting creativity and stimulating young minds.

Where can you find the Edmonds Arts Plaza?

The Edmonds Arts Plaza is located at a separate area on the west end of the Festival grounds above the Edmonds Library, accessed from 7th Avenue and Main Street or through the Frances Anderson Center building.

About the Festival

The Edmonds Arts Festival has been a cherished event in Edmonds since 1958. Tens of thousands of people flock to this event held annually on Father’s Day weekend to browse the galleries, meet artists, shop, socialize with friends, and be entertained by local performing artists in a beautiful setting in the charming, waterfront city of Edmonds – home of the first certified Creative District in Washington state.

A portion of profits raised by the festival each year is given to the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports educational and cultural enrichment of our community through the arts. The foundation awards art scholarships, education grants and installs public art. In addition, it supports multiple nonprofit art-related programs and organizations.

This year, Edmonds Arts Festival runs June 14-16, 2024 (Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St., Edmonds.

Save yourself the hassle of trying to find street parking and utilize the free Festival shuttle at Edmonds College. You can park your car in the parking lot at Edmonds College on the west side of 68th Avenue West. Just enter from the roundabout on 204th Street Southwest and follow the signs to designated patron parking lots H, I or J. Then jump on one of the free shuttles that run every 15 minutes from Edmonds College to the Edmonds Art Festival in downtown Edmonds.

Learn more about what there is to see and do at edmondsartsfestival.com.

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