Gather Vashon, a shop that championed local art, to close

In an email to customers, Raines and Rose detailed what they called a “heartbreaking” decision to close the shop.

Gather Vashon, a downtown gallery and shop that has for the past five years featured the work of many well-known and longtime island artists, will close its doors on Sept. 4, as the owners, Kathy Raines and Whitney Rose, move on to other pursuits.

Gallery hours until that time are Friday through Monday, from 12 to 4 p.m, but the gallery will also be open during First Fridays, Aug. 5 and Sept. 2.

Prior to founding Gather Vashon, the owners managed The Heron’s Nest, the volunteer-run art outlet of Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA), that long occupied a retail space in town — most recently in the same location as Gather Vashon. When VCA closed the outlet, in 2018, Raines and Rose made the business their own.

Local visual art stalwarts who showed their work at both Heron’s Nest, for decades, and then at Gather Vashon, include Eric and Margaret Heffelfinger, Chris and Darsie Beck, Elaine Summers, Terry Donnelly, Mary Liz Austin, Lynanne Raven, Irene Otis, Zuz Korbelarova, and Rose Belknap.

In an email to customers, Raines and Rose detailed what they called a “heartbreaking” decision to close the shop.

“When we opened on February 14, 2018, our vision was twofold,” they wrote. “First, we wanted to feature the work of emerging and established Vashon artists in a beautiful, professional setting. Second, we planned to provide a welcoming space for our community to gather and enjoy local artwork and events. Just as we were hitting our stride, the pandemic hit all of us, preventing us from fully realizing our goals.”

Adding that they would both continue to look for opportunities to create and share the work they love, the pair thanked local artists for making their business possible.

Stop by Gather, during the First Friday gallery cruise on Aug. 5, to start to mark the end of an era and honor a space of support and revenue for accomplished local artists. A final farewell event will take place on Sept. 2.

Raines said she did not know what type of business would take over the retail space, but said it would be wonderful if it were to focus on island art.