Arts and Entertainment

Take in an art cruise | First Friday Listing

Mixed media work by Brian Brenno, such as this piece featuring the Jesus Barn, will be on display a the Blue Heron.  - Courtesy Photo
Mixed media work by Brian Brenno, such as this piece featuring the Jesus Barn, will be on display a the Blue Heron.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

As usual, Vashon will be awash with art this Friday. Plan your First Friday gallery cruise stops with the following information, submitted by local art lovers and gallery owners.


Blue Heron

Island history, worlds of imagination and new possibilities will delight the eye and stimulate the senses in Vashon Allied Art’s April Gallery show. Fifth-generation Islander and artist Brian Brenno brings Island life to art in new mixed media work. Seattle artist Emma Jane Levitt exhibits wood relief prints. And another Seattle artist, Crista Matteson, shows mixed media pieces in cast glass, bronze, ceramics and found objects. The opening, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, will feature live music by Steve Meyer, Fletcher Andrews and Jack Barbash.

Known for his breathtaking blown glass, Brenno decided to try using textures and colors of recycled cans to replicate local landmarks and landscapes. Working from photographs, Brenno showed his first pieces with wife Tara in VAA’s Partners in Art exhibition last spring. Inspired by iconic Island artists Marshall Sohl and Art Hansen, Brenno says this work expresses his deep affection for Vashon.

Most pieces pay homage to historical landmarks such as the Jesus Barn, the bike in the tree and the Blue Heron building. Using scissors and E-Xacto blades and tiny brads, he cuts, connects and builds layers of color with aluminum pieces from drawings on plywood. Background to foreground, images slowly emerge.

"It’s been awesome to transform repurposed materials into something meaningful,” Brenno said.

Boston native Emma Jane Levitt discovered inspiration for her wood relief prints from American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler. Levitt experimented for weeks before she refined her process to printing and embossing with Japanese paper on plywood. Using all black ink and working with wood grain, her work centers around rock shapes. Levitt recently completed a month-long residency in northern Vermont’s Studio Center.

Crista Matteson collects found objects and contemplates possibilities. Trained as a painter, she received a Pratt scholarship to study new techniques. She combines ceramic and colorful lead crystal with everything from wild mushrooms to sunflowers in her detailed sculpted figures.

“I run, walk and garden every day, so I just collect things in my pockets and think about all the possible things I can create with them,” she said.

— by Janice Randall, Vashon Allied Arts


Blooms & Things

The shop will continue a show by Jayne Norton and feature new organic bowls by Lisa DeFaccio.


Café Luna

Artist Kelsey Fein will show a collection of ink drawings, watercolors, cyanotype and liquid emulsion photographs.


Hardware Store Restaurant

Biffle French, an Island photographer, will refresh his "Vashon Shorebirds" show with many new pieces.


Heron's Nest

Photography by Greg Bush and fused glass plates by Karen Wylde will be on display.


Ignition Gallery

Mik Kuhlman, an Island performer and teacher who is one of the founding members of UMO, will celebrate her 50th birthday with a performance party as part of First Friday gallery cruise.

Performances will be contributed by Seattle and local artists of all ages. The performances, taking place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and emceed by Martha Enson, will include music, dance and poetry as well as fire dancing, one armed juggling, a yodeling dominatrix and some mighty and tiny Vashon clowns.

Inside the gallery, there will be a solo exhibition, “Grind,” by local artist Randy Kirk. Kirk, the owner of Vashon Steel Works, exercises his natural love of experimental creation to transform a wide range of found and salvaged metals, shaded and tinted with organic materials. He transforms old truck beds, wheelbarrows, barn roofs, and even large appliances into compelling sensory collages — rich with texture and color— with a clear compositional savvy.

Food will be available all evening from Zamorana’s Taco Truck.

— by Lisa Hurst, Ignition owner


Island Quilter

The quilt shop will feature a show of 50 works by members of The Art Quilt Sues, a special subsection of the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club in Sequim. The group formed four years ago by quilters who were interested in exploring a wide variety of non-traditional quilting methods. Members create wall hangings and garments, and also conduct workshops on various techniques.


Dr. Nicole Maxwell's exhibition space

Thirty-one fine art pieces by Island photographer and artist Ray Pfortner, most of which are photo transfers into warm beeswax, will be on display at the offices of Dr. Nicole Maxwell, 9929 S.W. Bank Road, in the Cunningham Building.

Many pieces are in the much smaller format that Pfortner has embraced recently, many as small as 6x6 inches, on cradled boards, clay and encaustic, mostly without formal frames.

Pfortner said he loves this transfer technique for its organic nature, soft, muted and historic look, and for the similarity in the look of the work to Polaroid emulsion lifts he did until Polaroid went out of business.

He will also sign copies of his book, "Island Home: Vashon-Maury Island Volume I" and is eager to answer questions on photography and the business of art.


Raven's Nest

Artwork and more depicting killer whales of the Pacific Northwest will be on display at Raven's Nest.

The Northwest Coast is home to many species of whales, of which the distinctive black and white killer whale or orca is the most common. Killer whale is a very important crest and mythic being among many tribal groups and one of the most commonly depicted in the art. The symbol of mysticism, these majestic creatures are associated with strength, dignity, prosperity and longevity. Killer whales are thought to be reincarnations of great chiefs. The killer whale is sometimes called the Wolf of the Sea.

Raven's Nest has a wonderful selection of arts and gifts that feature killer whales, including art cards, matted and framed art prints in both open editions and limited editions. In addition, there are sculpted killer whale spirit boxes, apparel and embroidered patches. New pieces, recently arrived at Raven's Nest, are wonderfully crafted diachroic glass killer whale brooches.

The shop is open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday. Visitors will receive a black and red vintage killer whale print by Tlingit master artist Israel Shotridge, while supplies last.

— by Sue Shotridge, Raven's Nest



Steve Amsden and Wally Bell will play music.


VALISE Gallery

Dan Corson will continue his exploration of the phenomenological use of light in "Photonic Sketches: 3 installations created for Valise Gallery: Homage to Burle Marx, Lilian and Frank Gilbreth and Heliopolis."

Corson is a nationally recognized sculptor and public artist living in Seattle. Corson received his BFA in drama from San Diego State University in 1986 and his MFA in sculpture from the University of Washington in 1992. He was a Skowhegan Scholar in 1991 from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and a Pilchuck Scholar in 1993, 1994 and 1996 at the Pilchuck Glass School. Among his various awards, Corson has been honored with eight Public Art Network Year-in-Review National Awards, received the Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies fellowship in Italy, and was tapped by Seattle Homes and Lifestyle as one of the top people who define Seattle Design. He has also partnered with architects and landscape architects for four AIA Awards and three ASLA awards.

His website is

His show at VALISE consists of three parts:

Homage to Burle Marx: This installation uses electroluminescent banding to create a series of dimensional bas-relief drawings inspired by the work of internationally renowned Brazilian modernist landscape architect and artist Burle Marx. Corson has been a great fan of Marx ever since exploring his work while visiting Brazilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marx’s love of bold patterning inspired from botanic and natural references inspires these wall-sized glowing installations.

Homage to Lilian & Frank Gilbreth: This kinetic sculpture engages the air and our persistence of vision with tracings of light generated by multi-color electroluminescent wire. Lilian and Frank Gilbreth were the pioneers of light painting in the interest of studying “work simplification” for efficiency.

Homage to Heliopolis:  In ancient Egypt the city of Heliopolis (in Greek, or “iwnw” in Egyptian) was a famed center of healing. Residents created the first solariums that filtered light into the rooms through glass and colored silks, infusing the rooms with colored light. This early “chromotherapy” was used to treat a variety of ailments and spiritual conditions. This updated project using theatrical filters on the windows infuses the gallery with saturated indigo and creates a backdrop of color for the other projects while referencing this ancient temple and the healing practices that took place there. Notice after being in the gallery for a while that upon leaving, the brain tricks the eye in an effect called “retinal fatigue,” changing the color balance in your brain. As you exit, it will briefly give the outdoor light a decidedly golden color — the opposite of the blue.

An artist's talk is scheduled for Saturday, April 14. Check for time.

— by Heather Timken, VALISE Gallery


Vashon Tea Shop

The shop will present "Welcome the Light" — views from south Maury Island by Island photographer Martin Halliwell.

"There is an amazing light that begins every day, the transition from dark to light, you can hear the songbirds welcome it, a crescendo of life. It's an ignition, an affirmation of what is there," Halliwell said.

These photographs were taken primarily from the front deck of a beach house near Piner Point. The ever changing colors, patterns and texture prove that Mother Nature is indeed the ultimate visual artist.

— by Martin Halliwell


Vashon Textile and Fiber Arts Collective

Easter baskets and Earth Day bags are on display this month at the collective.


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