Vashon Center for the Arts’ staff and board of directors has welcomed Erika Carleton as VCA’s new development director. She joined the team at the arts center on Feb. 22.
Carleton has been a member of the Vashon community since 2010. Many islanders may know her from her time as development director at the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, where she spent five years connecting with donors and volunteers in a variety of conservation efforts.
Most recently, Erika served as the annual giving officer with FareStart, a non-profit based in Seattle. She brings more than 18 years of development experience to VCA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from McGill University in Montreal. Erika has a passionate interest in the arts that began at an early age when she learned to play the flute and piano, as well as developed a fondness for dance, having taken ballet lessons for years as a child.
“I had the pleasure of working with Erika during her time at the Land Trust,” said VCA Executive Director Allison Reid. “I have seen her talents in action and cannot imagine a person more suited to steward VCA’s supporters and patrons.”
In early 2020, VCA was concluding its search to hire a development director. Shortly after conducting final interviews, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an immediate freeze on hiring. VCA’s development and fundraising efforts shifted heavily toward grant writing and emergency funding to weather the impacts of the crisis.
Now, with the pandemic restrictions slowly being lifted, VCA’s leadership decided that now is the right time to complete the hiring process that was begun last year. As VCA’s grant and foundation support grew, the additional support and expertise a development director will provide is a much-needed and necessary step towards building a sustainable and healthy arts organization, according to the organization.
“We are so fortunate her interest to cultivate and steward our art center’s development work had not waned but grown even stronger,” said Cathy Winjum, vice-chairperson of the arts center’s board of trustees.