Darlene McLellan: A force for arts in Edmonds

EAF Foundation curator steps down
Apr 11, 2018
Courtesy of: Edmonds Arts Commission Darlene McLellan, left, with daughter Dawn and grandson Harry in the Edmonds Arts Festival Gallery.

If you are familiar with the Edmonds Arts Festival or Edmonds' arts scene, then you probably know Darlene McLellan.

Last year, she decided it was time to dedicate her energy and focus to her family and her new grandson. McLellan is probably best known as the manager of the EAF Gallery.

For over 21 years, she brought in dozens of shows of prominent regional artists, as well as featuring local artists and the annual Edmonds Arts Festival Collection show.

She stepped down from the EAF Foundation at the end of 2016 and curated her last show in the Frances Anderson Center EAF Gallery at the end of 2017.

A graphic designer and accomplished fiber artist, McLellan grew up in Edmonds and graduated from Washington State University. After studying at Nihon Daigaku in Tokyo, starting a family in southern California and enjoying another opportunity to live in Japan, she and her family returned to Edmonds in 1985.

From then onward, Darlene wove her way into the fabric of the Edmonds arts community. She started as an Edmonds Arts Festival volunteer, then a director, and then became a member of its Foundation board in 1990.

In 1996, she was appointed to a four-year term on the city of Edmonds Arts Commission and served as its chairwoman in 1999.

During her years with the Arts Festival and the Commission, McLellan was integral to many projects and programs.

These included being an active participant in the first Community Cultural Planning process in 1994; siting most of the artwork in City Hall in 1997 after the building was acquired; helping establish ArtWorks as a gathering place for artists; participating in the selection process for the signature artwork "Cedar Dreams" at Fifth Avenue and Main Street; and assisting with the acquisition of several of the city's public artworks through gifts to the City by the EAF Foundation.

Recently, she designed the Dayton Street Plaza installation titled "Fibonacci?"

Her experience living in Japan, and familiarity with both Japanese and American arts, made her an excellent candidate to assist with Edmonds' Sister City exchanges with the city of Hekinan, Japan.

She coordinated the first selection of artwork by Edmonds artists to present to Hekinan and arranged special art exhibitions of the city's Hekinan art collection.

She traveled with the Edmonds delegation to Hekinan in 2001.

McLellan's commitment to the arts community in Edmonds extended to many other projects.

She was an adviser for the Brackett's Landing South park development; worked on the capital campaign for the Edmonds Center for the Arts; served on the city of Edmonds Park Plan Update and the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor Advisory Committees; and put her graphic design and literary skills to work creating a commemorative book for the Edmonds Arts Festival's 50th anniversary.


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