Whether you’ve lived in Edmonds for forty years or have come through for that lobster roll you saw on TikTok, there’s probably something new for you to learn about the city’s artful institutions. From the Arts Commission to our status as the state’s first Certified Creative District (brushing our shoulders off just a little bit), Edmonds has a long and enduring history of art in all forms. In this article, we’re digging deeper into the history of some places you’ve probably heard of and several we’re sure you’ll add to your list, starting with our favorite (almost) centenarian, The Edmonds Theater. Edmonds TheaterThe Edmonds Theater

Opened as The Princess Theater in November 1923, across the street from the town’s original theater (now The Edmonds Bakery), The Edmonds Theater has been entertaining people from all around the Sound—and beyond—for one hundred years. Early on, it shared news from World War II. Now, it’s streaming everything from Hollywood classics on “Throwback Thursday” to a Taylor Swift tour docuseries. With a fresh paint job and the best popcorn around, this theater is worth a stop on your Edmonds itinerary. 

It also shows off art on art: In 2013, local artist Andy Eccleshall painted a mural in the theater lobby. 

The Edmonds Driftwood Players

Started in 1958 by a group of actors tired of commuting to Everett to perform, the Edmonds Driftwood Players (EDP) is not only a 501(c)3 non-profit community theater but also one of the oldest continually operating community theaters (Wade James Theater) in Washington State. Every year, its group of committed artists puts on musicals, non-musicals, comedies, dramas, and more. The Driftwood Players also produce an annual Festival of Shorts, which includes short plays centered around a different theme each year. Eight plays are selected from hundreds of submissions. 

Want to send your kids to a camp with them? You can! And, be sure to check out their list of shows while you’re clicking around their site

"Aosagi" mural in Downtown Edmonds

"AOSAGI" by Shogo Ota with Urban Artworks 

The City of Edmonds Arts Commission

At any given time (and since 1975), there dwell within Edmonds seven residents who serve four-year terms as local Arts Commissioners. The team also includes a student representative. They advocate for things like public art installations, both permanent and temporary, featuring Northwest artists; visual art exhibits at the Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds Sno-Isle Library, and City Hall; summer concerts in the parks; Write on the Sound, a nationally recognized writers' conference; Poet's Perspective, a public exhibit of a collection of poems by Puget Sound area writers of all ages; a youth art program that offers students the opportunity to display their artwork around the city; and grants and workshops for individual artists and arts organizations. 

How many cities can say they have arts advocates in official positions? We’re not sure about the number, but we are certainly glad Edmonds is one of them.

Back to public art installations for a second because they are so cool (and free!) to see: The Edmonds Art Commission put together a fabulous map that highlights the city’s public art, segmented by neighborhood. You can check that out—and start planning your self-guided art tour accordingly—here. Keep coming back to it since we’re always adding new pieces. 

For a guide that also includes pieces that are in progress, bookmark this page. We plan to see you here often. 

Edmonds Arts FestivalEdmonds Arts Festival

A city tradition for more than six decades, the Edmonds Arts Festival is hosted by the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to education and the cultural enrichment of the community through the arts. The Festival, typically on Father’s Day Weekend, is run entirely by volunteers and is the main fundraiser for the Foundation, which gifts more than $80,000 annually in scholarships and grants. 

Curious about the cool murals around town? Over the past forty-plus years, grants from the Foundation have provided more than $1,000,000 in funding for public art installations and large special projects in Edmonds.

Ballyhoo Theatre

As you’ve probably noticed, whether they state it explicitly or not, Edmonds arts organizations typically offer youth programming and education. Ballyhoo Theatre, founded in 1999, focuses on children and young adults primarily. Many of its alumni work professionally in theatre, film, music performance, technical theatre, and theatre education. If your child is interested in theatre, you may find yourself in Edmonds—and at Ballyhoo—often. We’re confident we’ll all be better for it. 

Interested in seeing what kinds of shows they produce? Check out what’s on their slate for the season here.

Art Walk EdmondsArt Walk Edmonds 

In the perfect combination of offering local artists a consistent platform to show off their work and visitors a reason to stroll through the city, Art Walk Edmonds was born in 2002. After earning its 503(c) accreditation in 2014, Art Walk Edmonds expanded to put on Art Walks every third Thursday of the month and host events like the Summer Edmonds Wine Walks. There truly is nothing like walking around downtown to find artful inspiration, and Art Walk gives us all a recurring calendar block to do just that. 

In 2017, Art Walk created Mural Project Edmonds, which implemented a framework and plan for professional murals around the city. Some of the most well-known projects the group has coordinated include “A Mother’s Love,” “Float Lines,” and “Before Edmonds” on—or right off of—Main Street. As of this writing, its two most recent projects are the vibrant “Returning Home” on 4th and “Journey of Salmon” on top off the Main Street Commons. 

Edmonds Center for the ArtsEdmonds Center for the Arts

Commonly called the “ECA,” the Edmonds Center for the Arts is housed in the original Edmonds High School. It’s owned and operated by the Edmonds Public Facilities District (PFD), a publicly funded government agency that renovated the historic building and opened what is now a very comfortable state-of-the-art theater in 2006. Every year, the ECA team curates roughly thirty performing artists each season. It also provides arts education and family programming both in and outside Edmonds. 

The ECA facilities proudly serve as a home for more than 130 events produced by local and touring performing artists and community organizations, serving more than 85,000 patrons annually. 

Yet to see a show there? Now’s your time. Check out the calendar and book your next art experience at your new favorite venue. 

Cascadia Art Museum

This airy space celebrates Northwest visual art created between 1860-1970. Its main emphasis is on the work of women, minorities, and other artists who made substantial contributions to our region’s cultural identity. Through rotating original exhibitions, public programs, and publications, Cascadia Art Museum helps visitors connect, process, and learn from the perspectives and experiences of everyone in our region. 

Creative District EdmondsWhere will your next Edmonds arts adventure take you?

We’re just scratching the surface of art in Edmonds, which is a beautiful problem to have. We didn’t want to overwhelm you, though, so this list should keep you busy for years to come. Visit us in Edmonds and see all the things that are happening, especially in the arts. 

While you’re out, show us what brought you here by tagging us on social media. We’re @exploreedmondswa on Facebook and Instagram

Photos by Matt Hulbert