Gala auction, supporting Vashon Center for the Arts, beckons

“Come celebrate the arts and their wonder and power to transform us all.”

Works by more than 100 local artists, as well as exclusive experiences and destination trips, are now on the auction block for the upcoming “Masquerade” gala at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA).

The art auction — now incredibly in its 46th year — is the biggest fundraiser of the year for VCA, supporting its rich array of programs including live performances, the presentation of visual art, and arts education opportunities for all ages through the organization’s Blue Heron Education Center.

As usual, there’s been a month-long lead-up to the auction, with an ongoing silent auction that began on Sept. 1. Included are works by almost 100 local artists.

The auction’s “Golden Ticket” raffle also began on Sept. 1, with only 100 tickets being sold, at $100 each. The prize? Two round trip tickets on Alaska Airlines, valued at $2500, to fly to any Alaska Airlines destination, with no blackout dates.

What’s new at the auction this year? At the start of the gala party on Sept. 30, patrons will find a grand buffet with an assortment of appetizers and delectable treats to nibble all night long, rather than a sit-down dinner at the end of the night.

This change in food service will help decrease event expenses and be more manageable for VCA’s staff, said Allison Halstead Reid, the organization’s executive director — and, she added, be delicious.

The event will include more old-fashioned, tried-and-true fundraising games, she said, including a wine toss featuring high-value mystery bottles, and a cake walk where winners will pick from an assortment of delectable and outrageous desserts.

Then it will be time for the main event — this year hosted by Martha Enson and Kevin Joyce, of EnJoy Productions.

Guests will be ushered into VCA’s Kay White Hall, where they’ll be treated to surprise performances and a line-up of items in a live auction. Importantly, Halstead Reid said, there will also be a special appeal for the programs of VCA’s Blue Heron Education Center and VCA’s scholarship fund.

“Specifically, funds raised during the appeal will replenish VCA’s Scholarship Fund that keeps programming accessible to all islanders, and support the ongoing renovations to our beloved and historic Blue Heron building where all these educational programs happen,” she said.

Halstead Reid urged all to attend and show their support for Vashon’s most venerable and long-lasting arts organization. She also urged all to reacquaint themselves with the work of VCA, and celebrate its staying power despite a pandemic that deeply stressed the finances of arts organizations nationwide.

She said she looks forward to sharing all of the new changes coming to VCA in the next year, including more free youth programming. Funds raised at the gala will provide a base of support, she said, to keep the arts strong and accessible for all on Vashon.

“Come celebrate the arts and their wonder and power to transform us all,” she said.

Tickets to the gala on Sept. 30 are $75 per person and can be purchased at VCA’s box office or online, at

Silent auction treasures can now be viewed in-person in the VCA Gallery during public hours, from 12 to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, or online at Donations for the Blue Heron Education Center, for those unable to attend the gala, can also be made on the website.