Significant works of art and funding for major artworks have been donated to the City by the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation over the past 25 years.
The most recent gift to the City consists of two outstanding glass artworks by Dale Chihuly, which have been on exhibit at the Edmonds Center for the Arts since 2006.
Following the City process for acceptance of artwork donations, the City Council held a public hearing Tuesday night and formally accepted the gift after receiving the recommendation of the Edmonds Arts Commission.
In recognizing the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation for their generous support of public art in Edmonds, Cultural Services manager Frances Chapin notes that several of the iconic sculptures in Edmonds, such as “Locals” by Georgia Gerber, “Beach Launch” by Robert Cooke, and the center of town “Cedar Dreams” installation by Benson Shaw, were funded by EAFF.
In addition to funding artwork, Chapin adds that EAFF has generously donated to the Edmonds Arts Commission annual funding for the maintenance of major sculptures.
The “soft cylinder” and “sea form” pieces, currently valued at $77,000, are exhibited in custom cases on the stairwells leading up to the balcony at the ECA.
In addition to loaning these pieces, the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation gifted to the ECA the stunning and colorful glass chandeliers created by internationally known glass artist Sonja Blomdahl that hang above the Chihuly glass in the stairwells.
The City has confirmed with the ECA the intent to continue to have the Chihuly glass exhibited in this location and an interlocal agreement will outline the arrangement.
The pieces will be included in the City Public Art brochure when it is next revised which will help bring more awareness about this artwork to the community and visitors.
Speaking on behalf of the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, Darlene McLellan, board member and incoming president, stated that the EAFF believes that through their support for major artworks gifted to the City of Edmonds Public Art Collection, the foundation “has served to enhance the reputation of the city as an arts community.”
Referring to the Chihuly glass, she added: “It is appropriate for the Edmonds Arts Commission to use their expertise to provide oversight of the care of these significant art pieces as they already do for the City Collection, major pieces of which are located in various sites throughout the community.
"Should an Art Museum be developed or changes made at the ECA, the Arts Commission would be the appropriate body to recommend change in the display location for public enjoyment.”
The EAFF acquired the Chihuly artworks in 1994, and according to McLellan they were purchased from Chihuly as a trade for a new pickup truck in an arrangement EAFF made with Harris Ford. The result was Chihuly got his new truck and thanks to EAFF Edmonds got to have two classic Chihuly artworks exhibited in the community.