The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the cancellation of this year’s Edmonds Arts Festival, but it hasn’t detoured festival volunteers from their mission to support the arts and art education across the Edmonds School District.
Board members from the Edmonds Arts Festival and Festival Foundation assembled art kits and this week are distributing them to families at 10 Edmonds School District (ESD) Grab-and-Go meal sites, which were created to help feed families after schools were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The effort was spearheaded by foundation board member Diane Cutts and arts festival board member Barb Childs. Cutts recruited volunteers and secured foundation funding, while both Cutts and Childs — who also serves as the school district’s community arts program coordinator — purchased $10,000 in art supplies for the kits, which included pencils, chalk and paint.
According to arts festival spokesperson Julaine Fleetwood, coming by supplies was difficult at first, but “everything came together to create a tremendously successful program.” Tracy Felix, owner of Edmonds-based ARTspot, used her resources to order 2,000 paint pallets and over 600 colored pencil sets. Foundation members acquired sidewalk chalk. The Edmonds School District provided paper. Then festival foundation volunteers pulled it all together. “It was a win-win for all involved,” Fleetwood said.
“It’s heartbreaking to not ring in the summer with our beloved arts festival,” Cutts said. “It truly is a city gem, and our loss of income for future grants, scholarships and art programs is hard to think about right now. So, we are focusing on the here and now. Blending with the ESD’s Grab-and-Go program, our art supplies can feed the student’s creativity and fill their souls.”
TSince schools closed in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the district’s Food and Nutritional Services Department has worked to ensure students who rely on school meals get something to eat by providing to-go meals.