Let’s embrace new arts center | Letter to the Editor
August 2, 2011 · Updated 2:48 PM
Whether we should be thinking about a new performing arts center on Vashon when social service, education, transportation, etc. budgets are tight is a subject for another letter. My frustration is with the argument that our Island doesn’t deserve one.
It reminds me of the restoration of the old Methodist Church building in 2000. My husband Gary and I were very involved in that project and the years-long debate that led up to it. The dear old building even smelled like its deterioration. However, a small but vocal group of congregants argued that a spotty roof repair and maybe a coat of paint was all that was needed. A compromise might include the addition of a “new” (which meant used) carpet for the fellowship hall.
Like the VAA’s proposed theater, the church project was ambitious. But almost half the necessary funds were pledged (by both Methodists and non-Methodists alike) at one fundraising breakfast event, and ultimately the rest of the loan was paid off years in advance. The result: a gorgeous, restored historic building enjoyed by many for worship and by the whole community as a performance venue with fine acoustics (a happy accident) and reasonable seating capacity.
Yes, we could continue asking our artists, actors and musicians to try to make do using our churches, the inadequate high school theater, the small, uncomfortable Blue Heron gallery and any other space they can scrape up for their productions. But why not dream of something first-class, versatile and, yes, beautiful for our amazingly talented artists and our community that loves them?
We’re known for our pride that “Vashon is weird,” but our town, public facilities and spaces don’t have to be unattractive, uncomfortable and inadequate to be appropriately “Vashon.”
— Nancy Sipple