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Two new art spaces roll out, another changes hands
Island art lovers will see some changes in Vashon’s gallery scene on Friday evening’s Gallery Cruise.
This Friday, Adam Cone and Megan Hastings, owners of Snapdragon Bakery and Café, will open the Hastings Cone Gallery in a space adjacent and connected to their restaurant.
The pair, who have studied art at prestigious places, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia University and Cornish College for the Arts, have renovated the small space to heighten the ceiling, creating an intimate gallery where they hope to exhibit not only wall pieces but also kinetic and other types of art.
“We’re finally making use of our art education, which is, of course, the reason why we cook,” Cone joked.
Cone, who was also a founding member of VALISE Gallery, said that opening a gallery has been part of his and Hastings’ long-term plan for some time. At Snapdragon, he pointed out, he and Hastings have always shown work by local artists and children. And in June, Hastings mounted a show of her father’s travel photography in the space that has now become the gallery. This Friday, an exhibition of paintings by Allison Crain Trundle will officially launch the Hastings Cone Gallery.
“Sometimes, you should just jump in, and so we decided to make a go of it,” he said, adding that the scale of the gallery will make it possible for it to be a warm and welcoming place.
“It’s not huge or daunting,” he said. “There can be a certain degree of frivolity.”
Cone is also excited, he said, about the expansion of Monarch Gallery, a fine art and antiques showroom space next door to his café and new gallery. That business has also leased additional space next door to its current shop and created a room solely devoted to fine art, which will have its grand opening on the First Friday gallery cruise. Works by such famous artists as Robert Motherwell, Morris Graves and Cecil Beaton, among others, will be on display.
“I just think we’re in for a good fall with these new creative endeavors,” Cone said.
In the meantime, owner Lisa Hurst has closed Ignition Studios & Gallery, located in the alley of 177th Street, directly behind Spider’s Ski & Sports.
However, four artists who were Hurst’s subtenants still remain in the space.
Two of those artists, David Blad and Heidi Stair, have spearheaded a group show, opening on Friday, intended to launch a new artists’ cooperative, Island Artistry, to be housed in the former Ignition space.
Memberships to the co-op will cost $50 a month, Blad said — enough to keep the gallery doors open with interesting shows.
Friday’s group show will include well-known island artists such as Jayne Quig, Janice Wall, Pam Ingalls and Jacqui Lown. Live music will also be provided by Jamie Jackson, Dianne Krouse and Cami Lundeen.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” Blad said. “People are interested in the gallery staying open.”
Blad credited Lisa Hurst, Ignition’s owner, in creating a multi-use concept for the venue he thinks will continue to work well.
“Lisa put this thing together and did a great job,” he said. “We’re just totally honoring everyone and moving on and continuing the saga.”
In a statement that was projected on the gallery wall during July’s First Friday gallery cruise, Hurst cited “ongoing lease, parking, signage and access disputes” as the reason for her departure from the space.
In early 2012, Hurst opened Ignition as a place that combined artist studios, classroom space and a small, well-appointed gallery. Her space, a former garage and shop, was built in 1946 as part of a downtown automotive complex owned and operated by the Brennos, a longtime island family. The Brenno family, operating under a LLC, is still the landlord of the space, as well as the storefront that houses Spider’s Ski & Sports.
Ignition was an instant hit on Vashon, drawing hundreds to opening receptions that offered islanders a chance to ogle artwork and stand around two outdoor fire pits to schmooze with friends and neighbors.
After Hurst’s departure, her subtenants entered negotiations with the new managers of the space, Laine and Christine Cruver, who own Spider’s Ski & Sports.
According to Christine, the details of the new management are still being worked out, but as far as she is aware, all four artists — Teppei Teranishi, Shelly Hurd, Stair and Blad — will stay put in their studios.
“We’re all working together to come up with a really good solution,” she said.
In the meantime, Hurst said she plans to return to teaching art at the college level, a career she had for many years before opening Ignition. She will also continue to make her own encaustic and other artwork.
“This transition has been a financial challenge, so I’m going to downsize to a personal studio,” she said. “Hopefully, Ignition will reappear again soon as a stop on