First Friday ushers in two weekends filled with art

It’s only the start to two weekends brimming with art.

First Friday, the island’s monthly art crawl, is riding in on May’s sunny coattails.

But it’s only the start to two weekends brimming with art — Vashon Island Visual Artists’ Spring 2023 studio tour, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6-7 and May 13-14. Visit, or pick up a brochure in shops around town, to see the map of tour locations that include studios, galleries and retail locations.

Work in the tour includes every medium imaginable, all created in the cauldron of the island’s bubbling and bright visual art scene.

But first, First Friday shows include:

Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union

Line up from 6 to 8 p.m. for a triple header of local artists presenting their cozy fiber arts and whimsical bird houses, from Andrea Walker’s handcrafted quilts inspired by her rural Pennsylvania roots to mixed-media artist Pamela Wickard’s weavings rich in color and texture. Phillip Owens’ birdhouses, made of scrap, reclaimed cedar, and treasures from Granny’s Attic, will make you gush, with music by Jim Burke and Mary Shackelford of Catbird.

Regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

SAW – Starving Artist Works

From 6 to 8 p.m., the island art gallery will display the works of featured artist Willy Marsh, a lifelong Vashon Island resident. Marsh’s favorite subjects are beaches, landscapes, meadows, wildlife, and marine scenes, as well as family portraits and other island celebrations. Several of his images have been broadcast on local news networks.


“Dot & Dad,” a new exhibit at VALISE gallery, is the first-ever collaborative gallery show between VALISE member Dot Cherch and her artist father, John Hillding. This first-ever daughter-dad display offers a chance to see almost 50 years of art in the making, all centered on one family and their love of art in the Pacific Northwest.

The display will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. on First Friday, May 5, at VALISE Gallery. It is also open to the public from 1 to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through May 27.

Hillding has impacted the Seattle art world since the early 1970s. As one of the founders of Bumbershoot, he exhibited his large inflatable art at the festival for over 30 years in addition to showing around the country in places like Chicago, Houston, Detroit, and San Francisco. As a child, Cherch was always at her father’s side at his art installations in the Pacific Northwest.

The VALISE show includes a selection of 20 enlarged photos of some of his most famous inflatables, many of which haven’t been available for viewing by the public in decades, including the “Universal Worm,” which hung down from the top of the Space Needle, and his inflatable pencils installation from when Andy Warhol visited the Seattle Art Museum in 1976.

In addition, the VALISE show includes photographs of Hillding’s work with the San Francisco-based T.R. Uthco media art collective. The show also brings us up-to-date with his more recent public art in the form of the Bacon & Eggs skatepark in Wilkeson, Washington.

A series of paintings by Cherch rounds out the show. Her father’s pop art influenced her way of seeing things.

Granny’s Attic

The treasured and iconic island thrift shop is opening its doors for the First Friday Cruise for the first time ever, from 6 to 8 p.m. Browse the store for specially priced items.

Dig Deep Gardens

From 6 to 8 p.m., the Dig Deep Gardens, 19028 Vashon Hwy SW, will host the opening reception for “Extra Credit – Oil Portraits of Vashon Teachers,” a new exhibition by artist Pam Ingall that is part of VIVA’s Art Studio Tour.

Ingalls’ latest portraiture endeavor came to fruition after she solicited islanders on social media to nominate influential teachers from Vashon so that she could paint their portraits and give them some “extra credit.” She’s now painted about 60 island educators, ranging from professors to aides to retired educators and first-year teachers.

According to Ingalls, she put together the collection in the hopes that students would recognize some familiar faces and be moved to express their gratitude to the teachers who’ve inspired them.

Vashon Center for the Arts

A new exhibition, “Scanning the Room,” featuring 20 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) artists, will debut with an open reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at Vashon Center for the Arts. The show will run until May 28.

“Scanning the Room” speaks to the identities, sentiments, and politics of the artists involved — and their perceived place as ‘the other’ in predominantly white space.

The concept for the show was conceived by June Sekiguchi, who also served as co-curator.

“I have always scanned the room everywhere I go, stemming from being a minority,” she said. “Within increased anti-Asian hate, I felt it was important to bring light to how we feel.”