The Edmonds Arts Festival is 60 years old, one of the oldest such free events in the state.
Throughout those years, the festival has been focused on art appreciation and education. It celebrates the adult artists who show and sell their fine art and crafts, and those who perform on the amphitheater stage.
But, all told, it’s about the kids.
As part of that focus, the arts festival chooses a student painting to use as a secondary poster to market the festival.
This year, the student poster artist is Mandy Branum, a second grader at Martha Lake Elementary School.
Mandy created her “Wild Flower Meadow” with acrylic paints using sponges, paint brushes and her finger tips. The festival marketing team recently published an interview with Mandy. Here’s an excerpt:
If you could be any crayon in the box, what color would you be?
Pink. I like pink and there’s lots of colors of pink in the box.
What do you like about doing art in school?
It’s fun. No art would not be fun. I would feel very sad if there were no art.
Who inspires you?
My teacher, Miss Hamack. She’s an artist, she’s smart and I like all the stuff she does.
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One of the reasons the Edmonds Arts Festival is ranked among the top arts festivals in the country is its focus on young people. At the festival — June 16-18 at the Frances Anderson Center — be sure to take in the exhibit of 1,000 selected pieces of art made by students who live in south Snohomish County. It’s a formidable sight and one that gives older artists hope for the future.
Bring your kids or grandchildren (toddlers to teens) to Room 112 of the Anderson Center to do art projects, free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Edmonds Arts Festival relies on more than 400 volunteers, including those who work with the kids on those art projects, to put on the fest.
Make sure your young people also visit the juried art show in the center’s gym and rooms 206 and 207 to see 600 pieces by more than 200 regional artists who paint, draw, sculpt and make prints, three-dimensional works and photographs. And everything in the galleries is offered for sale, in case you are a budding art collector.
Also for sale is the work available in more than 200 artist booths on the festival grounds. Half the fun of the festival is browsing through all the vendor tents.
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For the festival’s inaugural event in 1957, the Coterie Club of Edmonds invited 15 artists to show their work at the Surf and Sand Marina, the current location of the Edmonds Senior Center. Since 1980, the festival’s home has been the Frances Anderson Center.
Originally, all event expenses were paid for by volunteers. When the festival started making some money in the early 1960s, the nonprofit Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation was formed. The foundation now provides college-level visual arts scholarships, community grants for non-profit arts organizations, funding for art in public places and educational grants to ensure arts education is available in the Edmonds School District.
“We are proud of our focus on kids,” said Julaine Fleetwood, the festival’s marketing director.