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Arts center would fit well at historic corner | Letter to the Editor
Think of Island history and you must think of Vashon Allied Arts. Its rich contributions to Island life reach back to roots planted in 1949 by Norm Edson and Art Hansen. That’s history — history that counts for a lot more than a decrepit quonset hut with a false front. The McFeeds building started life as the Zarth Garage, pumping gas and selling cars. Maybe folks would like to see a gas station and car lot in place of the beautiful entry of the new Center for the Arts?
My choice: Let’s enhance and expand an existing historic use on the corner, the state’s oldest continuously operating independent arts organization. The new Center for the Arts will serve hundreds of children and adults each year and enrich us with wonderful music, dance and drama performances.
Within easy walking distance of our schools, VAA has for decades helped fill the Island’s arts education gap — a gap that our strapped school district can’t fill as it scrambles each year just to maintain basic education.
Did you know the Zarth gas station and car lot replaced a school and church? So why not revive the real historic usage of the corner by enhancing a historic, superb community educational service?
As for scale, the roasterie and adjoining Mitchell Construction building run about 100 yards end to end. In other words, the proposed Center for the Arts perfectly matches the frontage of the existing use on the opposite corner. And the building’s position allows for restoration of a wetland, the headwaters of the east fork of Judd Creek, perfectly in tune with Vashon’s character.
The Center for the Arts offers immense value for our community, a truly historic opportunity.
— Rick Wallace