Arts and Entertainment

Got an invention? If so, VALISE wants you

VALISE Gallery is doing it again — throwing open its doors to anyone on Vashon who wants to exhibit work in a special show slated for May.

Organizers of the show, dubbed “The Art of Work and Invention,” are seeking inventions to fill the downtown gallery space. Islanders can contribute home-designed widgets, hand-made gadgets or other creative gizmos that they have constructed or imagined.

A press release from the gallery urged potential exhibitors to think of “apple presses, tied flies, musical instruments, specialty tools and clothing, earthquake early warning systems, Rube Goldberg machines, global warming correction systems, etc.”

This is the third such open exhibition for VALISE, an artists’ cooperative gallery.

The series was inaugurated in 2010 with “Vashon Jam/Slam/Glam All-Island Art Show,” a themeless show that prompted 124 Islanders of all ages to show up with artwork.

The show included quilts, sculptures, photographs, paintings, collages, tiled works and even a few Dada-esque installation pieces. Children came, too, bearing drawings framed by their doting parents or imaginative doodles and cartoons scrawled on notebook paper.

The gallery’s second open show, “The Elephant in the Room, the Snake in the Suitcase … or What is Censorship,” was held in response to a much talked-about incident that happened on Vashon in early 2011, when the owner of the building housing the Two Wall Gallery removed several artworks from a show hanging in the space. Islanders also showed up in droves to contribute more than 75 works for that show.

VALISE, which currently has 18 members, opened in early 2009, and since that time, it has become a fixture on the Island’s art scene, with monthly exhibits showcasing art by gallery members and guests.

The gallery’s name is an acronym for Vashon Artists Linked In Social Engagement, and in keeping with the moniker, past exhibits have included thought-provoking installations that touch on political and social issues. The gallery has also mounted more traditional exhibits of paintings, sculpture and photographs, and of course, its all-Island shows.

Carol Schwennesen, a VALISE member, said she and her other VALISE artists have been heartened by the community’s response to past open exhibitions at the gallery. She’s looking forward to seeing what Islanders walk through the door with this time.

“It started with my thinking, how can we get people who don’t think they are making art to participate,” Schwennesen said. “It’s just another vector for us all to look at.”


Items for submission may be brought to VALISE gallery from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 30, and from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 1. Information forms will be at the gallery, or you can download them from the VALISE website,



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