First Friday gallery cruise offers up expansive exhibits

Ready, set, go … for a stroll, that is, to take in new exhibitions hosting opening receptions during Vashon’s monthly gallery cruise, with most venues open from about 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 3.

Vashon Senior Center

An exhibit set to open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, at Vashon Senior Center, will mark almost three decades of one photographer’s loving gaze on Vashon, and the sunrises, rainbows, sparkling waters and vistas of natural splendor he has captured over the course of those years.

The retrospective, “Island Home: 29 Years of Photographing Vashon,” will take viewers along for the ride of discovery with Ray Pfortner, a photographer and educator who moved from New York City to Vashon with his wife, Nancy Wing, in March of 1994.

Over the years, Pfortner has returned to some locations, including Tramp Harbor Dock, time and again. And his favorite time to photograph it and many other places also remains the same — an hour before sunrise.

Pfortner’s exhibit at the Senior Center will also include two talks, during which he will share more favorite photographs. The talks will take place from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Friday, March 3, with “My Photography Origins and My Photography on Vashon-Maury 1994-2008,” and from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Friday, April 7, with “My Photography on Vashon-Maury, 2009-2023 and the Future.”

The exhibition will run through April at The Senior Center.

Vashon Center for the Arts

This month, Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) will present “Choice,” an invitational art exhibition that brings together 30 artists to explore themes of autonomy, choice and self-determination in response to the reversal, last year, of the Roe vs. Wade decision.

The gallery will also feature the work of local ceramic artist Christine D. Beck, in its gift shop. Both shows have opening receptions from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday.

Beck is one of a group of local artists known as the “founding mothers” of the Vashon art scene for their efforts to establish the Blue Heron Art Center as a place of support and exhibition for local artists. Beck was also instrumental in founding Vashon Island Visual Artists. Her own artistic career has been long and fruitful, as she has exhibited and sold her work widely on Vashon and beyond.

Beck’s pottery collection features pieces crafted from porcelain with various glazes. Her casserole dishes come in both covered and open styles and are oven safe. Her noodle bowls come complete with chopsticks. Also, check out Beck’s limited-edition mugs – each one is handmade with its own distinctive character.

The “Choice” invitational exhibition features a variety of mediums including mixed media, painting, photography, and fiber. One piece, a large crochet uterus installation, “Where are you from?” by Seattle artist, Fumi Umano, invites viewers to climb inside it as they ponder and discuss reproductive rights.

The exhibition will run from March 3 through April 2, during Women’s History Month, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 3. Regular gallery hours are 12 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Some imagery may require parental discretion.

“This show provides an opportunity for viewers to engage with art that speaks directly to this moment in history when women’s rights are being threatened,” said gallery director, Lynann Politte.

The call for art for the exhibition drew interest not only from artists on Vashon but also from surrounding areas in Washington state, New York, Utah and Ohio, said Politte.

Artists included are Julie Speidel, Alex Echevarria, Alicia Harvey, Anne Acker-Mathieu, Beverly Aarons, Beverly Naidus, Caroline Robin, Collin Veenstra, Fiona McCargo, Fumi Amano, Gail Baker, Judy Takacs, Julie Thurber, Julie Speidel, Keeley Green, Kristen Reitz-Green, Margaret Chodos-Irving, Mary Coss, Melissa Butler, Mercer Hanau, Meredith Ojala, Morgan Grimes, Nicole LaRue, Nicole Anderson, Ophelia Arc, Pamela Wickard, Peggy Ellis, Susan Gross, Suzanne Eller, Tina Anderson and Willow Kosbab.

The exhibition was conceived by and co-curated with Kristen Reitz-Green and the VCA Gallery. For more information visit or call 206-463-5131.

Vashon Heritage Museum

Yard signs, featuring colorful graphic art by Puyallup artist Daniel Baptista, will be given away at Vashon Heritage Museum from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday. Baptista’s art, encouraged by a local group of islanders and facilitated in a partnership with the Puyallup Indian Tribe, proclaim Vashon’s place as the “Land of the Swiftwater People,” with that phrase also translated into Twulshootsheed, the language spoken by tribes living around the Puget Sound area in Washington state.

Puget Sound Community Credit Union

An exhibit of paintings by Donna J. Caulton will be on display at the credit union, with a reception planned from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs through May 2.

Swiftwater Gallery

Swiftwater Gallery, a 51-member nonprofit artists’ collective that opened in February at 17600 Vashon Hwy. SW, will unveil new works by its members in a variety of genres and price points. The gallery’s collective includes both long-time island artists and well as some artists who have moved to Vashon more recently.

A reception will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday. Find out more, including regular gallery hours, at

VALISE Gallery

VALISE Gallery will host an opening reception on Friday afternoon and evening for “VALISE Invitational,” an exhibit of 13 artists who are new to VALISE Gallery. The show is in keeping with VALISE’s long practice of sharing its venue while championing new ideas.

Artists in the show are Manuel Alvarez, Joel Colvos, Tom Gross, Lisa Guy, Jon Rader Jarvis, Michelle Lassaline, Richard Lipke, Andrea Marie, Greg McBrady, the monarq, Jayne Quig, c. j. ritchie and Bryon Stewart.

The group will bring varied experiences and viewpoints to the show. Islander Michelle Lassaline, for instance, will exhibit a series of animated masks. A Seattle artist, who calls herself the monarq, explores issues of identity and self-transformation through photography, collage, pattern making, and portraiture. Manuel Alvarez, a Vashon printmaker, addresses themes of self-discovery and growth, and c.j. ritchie, also from Vashon, will show photography that aims to take viewers somewhere unexpected.

The show will run through April 1 at VALISE.