We don’t need a ‘regional hub’ for the arts | Letter to the Editor
June 19, 2012 · Updated 11:35 AM
As a longtime resident of Vashon, I am concerned and dismayed over Vashon Allied Arts’ proposed performing arts center.
Per the recent Beachcomber article, the proposed site is on one of four corners of historic value to the county and the Island. While the current building on the site is not historic (McFeeds), the flavor of the corner is reminiscent of an earlier age. I am not suggesting that all construction or modifications of structures throughout the county be stopped in time and ignore progress in materials and technology, but I do believe certain aspects of historic value representing our heritage from earlier times should be protected and preserved if possible. And, in this case, it is possible.
The proposed VAA project would erect a contemporary urban structure in the immediate vicinity of the historic structures. The structure is out of keeping in size and design with the neighborhood and with the adjacent Blue Heron building, a designated historic structure. The Blue Heron, now one of the community hubs for the arts, could become an abandoned architectural anomaly next to the new structure and without a published budget to support it. If the design team’s effort was to avoid “a literal resemblance of historic styles” (Beachcomber, May 23), it achieved that goal in the extreme, creating a design that does not come close to fitting the site in an architecturally integrated manner. The building would be placed too close to the roadway so that its grandiose size and design would loom over the intersection and surrounding buildings.
Vashon is small in both size and population. The VAA blog says it hopes the performing arts center will become a “regional hub” for the arts. Again, this is unrealistic and unnecessary given Vashon’s proximity to Seattle and Tacoma, which have international acclaim for their many facilities and exhibits. The essence of VAA’s Blue Heron is that it is a community arts center.
— Deena Eber