Liz Lewis, one of the founders of Vashon’s semi-annual art studio tour, will once again show her colorful bowls, pots, and dishes in the upcoming tour (Terry Donnelly Photo).

Liz Lewis, one of the founders of Vashon’s semi-annual art studio tour, will once again show her colorful bowls, pots, and dishes in the upcoming tour (Terry Donnelly Photo).

Studio tour is rite of spring on Vashon

Viewers will find treasures tucked away all over the island

It comes around every May, as dependable and vibrant as the blooms on a rhododendron — Vashon artists fling open their studio doors to friends, gawkers and buyers alike to show off what they’ve created during the rainy winter months.

This year’s spring Studio Tour runs for the next two weekends, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 4, 5, 11 and 12, at 33 studios and other locations around the island. A record 60 artists will participate this year, with sculpture, paintings, clothing, ceramics, garden art, jewelry, candles, mosaics and more displayed in the environments in which they were created.

Several galleries, including The Hardware Store Restaurant Gallery, Judd Creek Ranch Gallery, Gather Vashon and VALISE and Vashon Center for the Arts, will also participate in the tour.

Launched in the late 1970s by a small but visionary group of island potters, the tour morphed into a wider display of many art mediums by the early 1990s. Studio tours have taken place both in spring and winter for decades now. But it took until 2015 for the tour group organizers to apply for nonprofit status. Another big change came in February 2018, when the group rebranded as Vashon Island Visual Artists (VIVA) and expanded the organization’s mission to serve island artists year-round. VIVA’s activities now include not only the semi-annual studio tours but also classes, workshops, salons, exhibits and social activities for artists. Membership in the group has grown to 300 artists.

Brian Fisher, VIVA’s current president, is an island printmaker who has participated in the studio tours since their early days.

“I’ve been doing this since forever,” he said. “But it continues to surprise us by growing every year.”

Fisher said he had not even met all the new VIVA members who will show work on the tour this year, and that he hoped to connect with all the newcomers soon, at other VIVA functions including regular potlucks held by the group.

He also noted that VIVA members won’t have much time to rest after the tour — a juried exhibition of VIVA members will open Friday, June 7, at The Hardware Store Restaurant Gallery.

Brochures with maps and descriptions of artists participating in the spring Studio Tour are available at most island businesses. Visit vivartists.com for more information.

More in Arts

Folk-pop luminary heads to arts center stage

Shawn Mullins has forged his own creative path in a notable career spanning decades.

Book appreciation: “Jake & Emma’s Island Getaway”

The story was written for children but is sure to touch the hearts of readers of all ages.

What’s Happening Aug. 15 – 22

Portage Fill sweeps Ober, “The Goonies” take over Vashon Theatre, Arts Fest takes a bow, and more.

Hot new music acts have a summer show together

Micaiah Sawyer and the Americana duo Robin Alice will play a concert this weekend.

A bright light of Broadway gifts Vashon with her voice

Christine Andreas brings “Love is Good” to the Katherine L. White Hall.

Sing along for a good cause at Village Green

Sing along for a good cause at Village Green

What’s Happening Aug. 8 – 15

Roots reggae grooves, the story of a UFO sighting, the “Lullaby” guy in concert, and more.

Art Appreciation: A mother-son duo at VALISE

In August, VALISE will bring together a powerful mother and son duo… Continue reading

What’s Happening July 18 – 25

An islander takes on the heart of Paris, an ensemble acapella performance, Sarah Christine, and more

Summer Arts Fest rolls on with six new exhibitions

Jo Robinson will debut ultra-close-up photographs of blossoms as they transform into fruit.

Art appreciation: Ray Pfortner shares 25 years of memories

The exhibit is a nod to the fact that Pfortner has now resided on the island for 25 years.

A new poet laureate brings passion to her post

Susan Lynch accepted the mantle as laureate on June 27 at a ceremony at Vashon Winery.