In these unprecedented times, panic and terror seem to take the fallback position — our new normal. But when we’re in fight-or-flight mode, we don’t think clearly, and there’s certainly no room left for love and understanding.

That’s where art, all kinds of art, comes in, like a good friend, to pick you up when you’re down, and let you know that you’re not alone; we feel the same highs and lows, and we’re experiencing them together, wherever we happen to land.

Well, land here. Edmonds artists will catch you, softly, with pieces of themselves expressed in all kinds of wondrous, original art, in so many vibrant and compelling forms.

Art has untold powers to move you to tears, with one glance: make you forget what you were doing in the drudgery of your routine laundry list...even for a moment, wash over you with overwhelming hope and inspiration, and the courage to move on, move forward, despite the setbacks, challenges, and horrible losses life throws at you.

As we deal yet again with fluctuating, spiking, decreasing, easing COVID numbers — and newer strains — along with subsequent, rolling mandates, the art world has adjusted accordingly, just as it had the first time, back in the March 2020 madness of the first worldwide lockdown. 

Edmonds art galleries remain open. Maybe not traditionally, depending on current pandemic restrictions, but virtually at least — and this means everything to lost souls struggling to adjust to this new normal. 

Artists are in a unique position to show and tell, through virtual gallery tours, and, depending on where we’re at with the COVID guidelines, viewing by appointment. Simply click the links, reach out by phone, and dream.

You never know. You may end up with art that moves and sustains you, powerfully, through these storms.

Cole Gallery, 107 5th Ave. S., is the premier Edmonds gallery, featuring local artists in their element — acrylics, oil, mixed media, encaustic (melted, pigmented beeswax and resin) — and exhibits of their work. Artist and art patron Denise Cole opened the gallery in 2006, with a vision of giving NW artists a platform worthy of their diverse talents. Cole Gallery’s exhibitions are world-class, full of depth, drama, and whimsy (Angela Bandurka — “A Spring Tea," Kristen Reitz-Green — “Summer Celebration of Art"). Ph.: 425-697-2787.

Gallery North, an art cooperative since 1961, personalizes the experience with featured monthly shows by local artist members. In October, Irina Kirienko Milton’s still life collection, “Melodies Held in Silence,” revealed the everyday — Christmas ornaments, hard-boiled eggs, a vase full of citrus, blooms in various poses — in soft, romantic hues, as if through the prism of a half-remembered dream. Cooperative artists express through many means, paint, photography, woodworking, fused glass and jewelry-making, and pottery. Located on 401 Main St., 425-774-0946.

Driftwood Modern, open since 2016, focuses on sharp, smart mid-century art and furnishings. Owner Hannah Alex-Glasser’s visual aesthetic stems from a background in ballet and modern dance, clay sculpting, home design, and appreciation of the natural and the handmade. 

Art pieces express that intentionality with specificity and poetic stillness, where less is more.

Symmetry, juxtaposition of light on shadow, shrouding the humble with mystery...all work together organically to elevate Zen Buddhist priest/artist Richard Kirsten Daiensai’s meditative “Nocturnal Offering to a Stone Image,” a 1960 oil and encaustic piece that literally feels as if it’s alive. Waiting to be found, Mark Tobey’s “Scroll of Liberty,” circa 1973, a forensic, textural lithograph hints at a seascape drowning in fireworks and cloudy airwaves. Info: 403 ½ Main. St., 360-298-1246.

The Curious Nest sells a lot more than curious knick-knacks on 405 Main St. (206-729-6378). Curated, antique-y treasures from artists in and outside the PNW include fine art paintings, assemblages, textiles, up-cycled art, paper art, ceramics, and more. Store co-owner/house jewelry designer Andrea Savar’s Victorian-inspired pieces of found objects and semi-precious stones linked together…feel like you stumbled upon pirate booty on a long-lost island, off the coast of Normandy. Vintage discoveries, rare, striking…an 1800s French pearl-escent shell-encased jewelry casket, Micromosaic, flower-encrusted Venezia jewelry box, beveled and glowing…

“I have always been intrigued by the Victorian concept of the Cabinet of Curiosities. Collecting unique treasures to then weave into an eclectic one-of-a-kind adornment is what makes my heart sing. This magpie tendency has taken me all over the world and eventually became the foundation for The Curious Nest, the store that I share with my husband,” Savar wrote on her site. 

“In addition to jewelry, ideas for paintings and stories are constantly swirling in my head. They wake me up at night demanding to be expressed on blank pages with brush or computer key. I cordially invite you to take a stroll through my little world of creations in jewelry, books and paintings in the hopes that they fill you with wonder and curiosity.”

There is meat to the bones of ZINC’s woman-empowered art. In March 2020, ZINC Art + Interiors owner Laura Zeck closed her 3rd Ave. S. storefront, having served the Edmonds art community for over six years. She still runs the Seattle store in Pioneer Square. 

"Our clients have truly become friends. We have so loved being a part of this community — creating the Edmonds Localvore brand and events, taking part in...Art Walk [Edmonds] and providing inspiration to locals and visitors alike," she told Teresa Wippel on My Edmonds News, April 2, 2020.

Art can still be accessed via ZINC contemporary's virtual viewing rooms for free-thinking, thought-provoking artists and their exhibitions, enabling art lovers everywhere to absorb all that these artists have to aspire to. The art here is current, intelligent, brimming over with thought and opinion, often addressing painful, but necessary, social injustices. 

Award-winning, multi-disciplinary artist Holly Ballard Martz employs outside-of-the-box materials (men’s detachable shirt collars, sequins, wire coat hangers) for her recent, outside-the-lines collection that evokes soul-deep double-meaning, some obvious, others…one dares not say aloud…in her Oct. 15-Nov. 15, 2020 exhibit, “Dirty Laundry & Domestic Bliss.” 

At first glance, her pieces look like bejeweled food — steak, bacon, baked potato — maybe for a clutch, or paperweight. On second thought, maybe something closer to home, sexualized, phallic, gender-objectified images fluttering in the outskirts of our consciousness, unbidden. 

In “painstakingly bending hundreds of wire coat hangers into the likeness of the female reproductive system, an exercise in endurance for my hands and a representation of the slow and painful trudge towards full reproductive rights for women in America,” Martz considered the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, reproductive rights in jeopardy, and the slow, long climb toward true equality in pay. There’s more where that came from.

Call: 206-617-5775
Email: [email protected]

For much more of the art world, visit Downtown Edmonds Alliance (Ed!).