A Vashon Artists in Schools (VAIS) project, designed to impart awareness in youth about protecting and improving watershed habitat, has resulted in new artworks installed in the Heron Meadow — located in the restored wetlands area to the east of Vashon Center for the Arts.
This spring, Vashon Artist in Schools’ resident, endangered species and social justice artist Britt Freda worked with 5th-grade teachers Jen Lindsay, Layla Tanner, Nancy Jones, and Madalyn Brown and their students at Chautauqua Elementary to create this collaborative public art installation of painted cedar salmon.
Salmon native to this region are currently classified as threatened or endangered, yet more than 137 species, including humans, depend on salmon, according to Bianca Perla, of Vashon Nature Center.
On Wednesday, May 19, more than 90 students — both distance learners and those who attend school in person — came together in small groups to install the collective artwork in the Heron Meadow. The project was made possible with support from Puget Soundkeeper’s Alliance and The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.
Frida has authored an article about the process of working with students on this project; find it at vashoncenterforthearts.org, following the tabs for Education and Vashon Artists in Schools.
An arts education class, at 2 p.m. Friday, May 21 (Endangered Species Day) for ages 10 to adult, is also associated with this project and will create more salmon-related artwork.
Participants will join artist Freda to paint hand-crafted cedar forms to be installed as part of a collective public art piece to be installed either at the Heron Meadow or the Vashon Heritage Museum. Each participant will receive a cedar salmon form, paint and paintbrushes for the project. The workshop costs $25; register now at vashoncenterforthearts.org/event/paint-for-a-purpose.
— Elizabeth Shepherd