Arts and Entertainment

In celebration of art — meet the commissioned artists for VAA's annual auction

Elaine Summers created a moscaicked guitar that will be auctioned off Saturday night. - Janice Randall Photo
Elaine Summers created a moscaicked guitar that will be auctioned off Saturday night.
— image credit: Janice Randall Photo

Vashon Allied Arts is in the midst of final preparations for its annual two-night fundraising gala an extravaganza where the work of more than 100 Island artists will be auctioned off in a lavish tent erected on the grounds of the Blue Heron Art Center.

But this year, as in years past, a special spotlight will shine on six local artists who have been commissioned to create works especially for the event.

These artists include two painters, a sculptor, a wood carver, a mosaic artist and another artist whose work is an incredible combination of silversmithing, embroidery and woodworking.

Here’s a look at those artists.

Painter Gretchen Hancock, who lives in Dockton, creates all kinds of paintings, from small acrylic works to larger oil landscapes.
For VAA’s auction, she has contributed a triptych of 10” x 10” still life perspectives of oranges. The works, painted on canvas panels, glued to boards and then floated onto a simple black wood frame, will be offered up for auction on Friday night.

Longtime Islander Art Hansen was 22 years old in 1952 when he won a Pulitzer Prize for art and had his first solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. The following year, he won a Fullbright Scholarship to study art in Germany at the Academie der Bilenden Kunste in Munich. Today, Hansen’s work — filled with images inspired by the natural beauty of Vashon Island —  is included in many private and public art collections.

Hansen’s piece for VAA’s auction, “Poppy,” reflects his love of flowers and gardening.

The piece will be auctioned off at Saturday night’s auction.

Sculptor Gus Schairer is an award-winning sculptor whose works are included in many private collections throughout the United States. He crafts his sculptures using a set of chisels, created by a friend in Italy, that are replicas of the kind of tools Michelangelo might have used. His commissioned work, “Joy Spring,” is made of African wonder stone. It will be auctioned on Friday.

Elaine Summers will contribute a red, white and blue mosaicked guitar that reflects her love of both music and visual art.

As a musician, Summers has three solo records to her credit and five with her creative and life partner Pete Droge. But for the past 12 years, she has also been creating beautiful mosaics — 900 pieces to date. Her colorful works include a mosaic for the Dockton Trails Obelisk, signs at McMurray Middle School and the Burton Coffee Stand and countless fiberglass dogs, cats and other critters.

Her guitar will be auctioned Saturday night.

Nancy Sipple is one of Vashon’s most accomplished and multifaceted artists. She is a master of needlework and has received wide recognition for her quilts, heirloom sewing, embroidered pieces and crewel work. If it involves the fiber arts, Sipple can do it — from beading, to basket making, weaving and costume design. On top of all that, she is also a highly accomplished watercolorist, pen-and-ink artist, silversmith and woodworker.

Her piece for VAA, “Vanity,”  combines many of these talents  in a flawlessly constructed one-of-a-kind dresser set that includes a wooden tray adorned with an ornately embroidered peacock under glass and a silver-embellished wooden brush, comb and hand mirror. The piece will be auctioned on Friday.

Odin Lonning, an Islander who was born in Juneau, Alaska,

has contributed a piece called “Killer Whale Matriarchs” for the auction. Carved from red cedar and painted with traditional Tlingit colors, the work is reflective of Lonning’s focus on instilling pride in Native youth. Lonning is widely recognized for his painted wood carvings, drums, leather painting and graphic designs. His work is on display at Everett Community College, the Seattle Aquarium and in private homes from Seattle to Paris.

“Killer Whale Matriarchs” will be auctioned on Saturday night.


Vashon Allied Arts’ annual auction — Hooray For Hollywood! Lights, Camera, Auction! — will be held from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 24, at the Blue Heron Art Center. Tickets for Friday night are $45, for Saturday night $120. For ticket information, visit or call 463-5131.









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