Local mural interpretation incorrect

My intent for the mural was to communicate some of the local history of “center” on Vashon.

As the artist of the Vashon Center for the Arts breezeway mural questioned in a letter to the editor in the Jan. 23 editon of The Beachcomber, I should make a few clarifications. My intent for the mural was to communicate some of the local history of “center” on Vashon, the halfway crossroads between Vashon and Burton. I wanted to display both the interesting and the troubling aspects of “center’s” past and to create a continuation of the drawn-wood history installation just inside the building. I also thought about all the kids sitting on the school bus and how some might actually enjoy a slow story progression, as I drew the image over two months. Many have told me they did.

The mural starts with the indigenous animals and majestic trees that were cutdown over a century ago by the white settlers who moved to Vashon in the late 1800s. It also features five indigenous SXw eBaBs islanders, a silhouetted couple and their canoe and a well know image of Lucy Gerand with two fellow male tribe members. From 1900 until present, the majority of “center” community members were of European descent, having driven most SXw eBaBs islanders from the island — so they, and their domesticated animals, are pictured. A number of Japanese families also owned farms in this area at that time. One such family, the Matsudas, are pictured on the right side of the mural. Apparently, members of the Matsuda family have visited the mural and are pleased. You’ll also notice that, as the farm animals slowly convert to domestic pets, the culture-changing car ferries and the automobiles arrive and utterly reshaped the island. The mural finishes with a nod toward the arts, which have become important at “center” today. Oh, and the cougar makes a quick reappearance as well!

VCA did not commission the mural, but gave me permission once they reviewed my concept. I’m sure they’d be very interested in reviewing other concepts. The mural was a gift and I’m always happy to talk to anyone about the project.

— Bruce Morser


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