LETTER: Are grassroots arts welcome at island arts center?

Something is happening. The vibrant grassroots arts community on this Island, it seems, is no longer needed. It appears the board of the new Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) may actually wish to ignore the local arts community. This is the impact of the board’s recent unilateral decision to close the Heron’s Nest; the uptown multiple-artist gallery shop next to Herban Bloom. It is simply gone.

For several years now, the Heron’s Nest has served faithfully as the important gallery for all artists on Vashon Island. Staffed by a professional curator and in-store volunteers, the Nest provided a professional space for year-round local art exhibitions and sales. The space was unique, because unlike the main gallery at VCA, it was inclusive, showing the work of many island artists together and with VCA support. Whereas, the main gallery in the Center has limited exhibition dates, awarded only to the lucky few, and is not exclusively for Vashon artists.

The many artists and the community which supports them deserve respect and a voice. True, the new building does add to our existing vibrant art culture. It is not, however, a reason or excuse for the board to refuse to fund the Heron’s Nest. This closure serves to limit presentation of local art to non-galleries, such as restaurants, coffee houses and to periodic Art Tour weekends.

What I really wonder is if closure of the gallery space at the Heron’s Nest is indicative of the board’s intent to have the new Center be exclusively a high-brow, high-price venue? Is there a new attitude about who the Center will serve? My protest is that to change the presentation of the arts on Vashon by a wholesale and exclusive minded makeover is just not called for and will likely not pass muster on Vashon.

— Lori Kay Gustavson

More in Letters to the Editor

Food bank benefits from fruit stand owner

Without exception, the East West Produce stand has donated unsold fruits and… Continue reading

VYFS seeks support

Vashon Youth & Family Services is the quiet foundation supporting many lives… Continue reading

Kids: Pick up a free light and wear it

Lots of kids are off to school before the sun gets up… Continue reading

Proposed refinery in Kalama should not be built

The final environmental impact statement for the world’s largest fracked gas and… Continue reading

Volunteering with nature center imparts important lessons

About a month ago the Vashon Nature Center put out a call… Continue reading

Beachcomber’s VCA coverage has been thoughtful

I want to commend The Beachcomber for its thoughtful coverage of Kevin… Continue reading

Tacoma plant poses large risks for Salish Sea

Thanks to Maia Syfers for her article on Puget Sound Energy’s plan… Continue reading

Make your mailboxes colorful

Every summer as I drive around the island, I see lines of… Continue reading

Hospital district is solution to island’s health care problems

Hospital district There is solution to island’s health care problems This October,… Continue reading

Downsizing: Let’s try new approach to auctions

After a lifetime of accumulating, most of my generation is intent on… Continue reading

Donations to church will go to good cause

A big shout out to the folks who parked their cars and… Continue reading

Changing Vashon: New eateries are for the affluent

I applaud the success of “Destination Vashon.” Mission accomplished. You have created… Continue reading