By Beachcomber Staff
Last week, Vashon Center for the Arts welcomed its full staff back to work, after receiving $230,000 in the federal CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program on April 16.
The program, signed into law last month, has provided $359 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus pandemic. In VCA’s case, the loan will be fully forgiven provided the organization uses the funds as prescribed by the CARES Act. Of the funding received, $215,000 of VCA’s loan will be used exclusively to pay its core staff and educators for the next eight weeks, said VCA director Allison Halstead Reid.
VCA’s layoffs affected nine of 19 staff members, including those working with its Vashon Artists in Schools program as well as those who planned and managed its Blue Heron Education Center programs. Front-of-house personnel was also included in the cuts.
Now, all those employees are back and working remotely from their homes, said Reid, in a video message sent by email last week to VCA supporters.
“Bringing our staff back gives us an extension, if you will, to focus our time and talent direction on the development of live streaming, online educational programming and our summer and fall classes,” Halstead Reid said. “With luck, we will be organized and prepared to reopen our doors as soon as our government officials inform us we can. And if our closure extends longer, we’ll have more to offer [islanders] in the months and weeks to come from the work we do now.”
In the video message, Halstead Reid also thanks those who had contributed to the arts center’s “resilience fund,” which has raised more than $38,000 to help support the work of VCA.
With its full education staff back on the job, VCA is also now in full swing of making flexible plans for summer arts camps, Halstead Reid said, in a later interview with The Beachcomber.
The camps for kids — focusing on arts including photography, theatre, drawing, painting, glassblowing and more — are being planned in such a way that some can take place online, if necessary, Halstead Reid said. And registration for all the camps is “risk-free” — meaning that tuition won’t be collected until it is certain the camps are a go this summer. Find out more at vashoncenterforthearts.org/summer.
The organization also announced two upcoming virtual offerings, to bow this Friday and Saturday.
“Interdependence” group show features new work from five artists
The show, “Interdependence,” will include the work of several artists from Vashon and beyond whose work examines humankind’s relationship to endangered species, climate change and the environment.
The show includes paintings by Robin Jones, who recently moved from Vashon to Santa Fe, and new works by islander Erin Schulz. Contemporary Seattle sculptor Warren Pope will exhibit his large minimalist designs; he has also co-created a few collaborative new works with island eco-advocate painter Britt Freda, who is also showing her new collection of orca paintings. Rounding out the collection will be vibrant, sea life prints by San Francisco artist and author Josie Iselin (“The Curious World of Seaweed.”)
According to a press release, the theme of the exhibit was inspired by the integration of art, science and activism and scheduled to coincide with Endangered Species Day on May 15. The exhibition was conceived in the fall of 2019, long before COVID-19, but organizers said the concept of “interdependence” is more timely than ever now, in the time of a global pandemic.
The online exhibit will run through June 30, at vashoncenterforthearts.org/gallery.
Asiya Korepanova Video Concert and Live Q&A
At 7 p.m. Saturday, May 2, VCA will debut a concert video created especially for Vashon by Russian-American concert artist Asiya Korepanova, followed by a live Q&A with Korepanova over Zoom. Both experiences will be available for free, with a suggested donation of $10 or more.
Korepanova was scheduled to play live in VCA’s Kay White Hall on May 2, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, she has now filmed the complete concert from her home in Boston.
The program will include Beethoven’s Eroica Variations op. 35, Wagner-Liszt’s Tannhäuser Overture, and Rachmaninoff-Korepanova’s Sonata for piano and cello in G minor op. 1.
Korepanova is recognized not only for her achievements as a pianist, but also for her work as a transcriber, composer, visual artist, and poet. She has won acclaim for her solo piano transcription of Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben” and Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata.
Korepanova received many awards throughout her formative years in Russia and was made an artist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society in 2009. In 2012, she moved to the United States and later that year, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Nina Wideman International Piano Competition. She has continued to garner national attention with performances at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Bargemusic Series, the Phillips Collection, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series and the International Miami Piano Festival and other prestigious venues.
Korepanova’s video concert will be shown on VCA’s website, vashoncenterforthearts.org. Registration is required to participate in the Q&A. Visit vashoncenterforthearts.org and visit bit.ly/asiyaK for more details.