Look down when you walk through a certain street in Edmonds. Not typical advice, we know. But if you haven’t experienced the downtown arts district of Edmonds, Washington, at night, then you may not know where to look for one of its hidden gems.
An artist installed 177 LED solar-paneled lights in a roadway, or corridor, that spans three blocks. At night, bright dots liven the decades-old asphalt that links retail shops on Main Street to the Edmonds Center for the Arts. The artist, Iole Alessandrini, called it Luminous Forest because she wanted to reference the community’s history with cedar forests.
Frances Chapin, the city’s arts and culture manager, said there were originally more extravagant plans for the roadway area. But the recession hit and it was tough to find the money. Even though the original idea had to be scrapped, some community members said a temporary art piece could make it interesting in the meantime. So, they rallied.
“It transforms the corridor,” Chapin said. “People weren’t ready to let that concept go because the economy wasn’t in great shape. They said, ‘Let’s take a different approach that costs less money but keeps this concept alive.’ That’s what is special about this community. People have this energy and enthusiasm and commitment that they put toward things they think are important, and they clearly think that arts and culture are important.”
Edmonds is the first city to receive a distinct designation from the Washington State Arts Commission: the state’s first creative districts certification. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the certification in November.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.