Hoffberg was a model of leadership

I was devastated by the news that Kevin Hoffberg was leaving the Vashon Center for the Arts. And in a way I totally understood how he could be burned out.

Kevin Hoffberg saved the VCA from what could have been years of confusion and alienation. He took the reins when our art center was at a make-or-break crisis point in its relations with the artists who created VCA in the first place.

Kevin was all-in. You could feel it in his weekly Fish Wrap newsletters, which not only told of VCA happenings but peered into Kevin’s soul. Quite deep. Kevin and his wife Eddy could be found at the VCA at all hours, tending to everything from financial reports and grant requests to ticket systems and garbage pickups.

Kevin, to me, modeled what leadership looks like at a lively arts nonprofit in the 21st century … at least, in a predominantly white middle- and upper-class community.

To be honest, the first time Kevin hugged me, I was a little taken aback … but only for a second, when I felt his heart leap out in affection — not only for me personally, but for VCA and what I might have to offer on this island. I eagerly returned his hugs when I saw him after that.

Yes, there are men in the Joe Biden tradition who love hands-on touch with both men and women. Our planet needs more loving touch, for gods’ sake.

I personally have nothing but praise and thanks for Kevin. (He is not a personal friend; I only know him through VCA.) Meanwhile, my hat’s off to Allison, Lynann, Maria, Ellie, Joe, Michael, Porter, Britt and all the others who are holding up the fort at our dear VCA.

— Stephen Silha

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