Five things worth knowing this week . . .

Big Chairs, Big Work.  You’ll just have to come see James Chesney’s chairs in person.  Any pictures I might post will fail to capture the emotional jolt and superb workmanship of these amazing pieces of art.  What I love about this show is how well the work “works” in our building . . . the scale of the pieces is superbly contained by the soaring space in which they sit.  The bonus is how the chairs relate to the work already on display.  Like I said, you really have to see it all in person which you can do starting this Friday, August 3 at 6:00 PM.

MakerSpace Gone Wild.  And it’s not just chairs.  Neil Wiesblott has curated an absolutely stunning show that includes Linda Stemer, Norman Edson, Victoria Hunter, Izak Anderson, Lyle Harris, and yes, James Chesney. Vashon Makerspace is a place where islanders can create, learn and share their art and we are thrilled to showcase their members’ photographic processes, handmade sculptural jewelry, and lathe-turned wooden vases and bowls.

There will also be a full slate of fabulous classes on Saturday.   Check them out!

Vashon Center for Dance loves our Alumni.  Summer on Vashon means ice cream, warm nights, and the return of our fabulous alumni.  Tess Mueller, home for the summer from Macalester College in St. Paul, has been keeping our intermediate and advanced dancers in shape in her 2 weekly ballet classes.  Joy Ghigleri, an Acting and Directing major at Pacific Lutheran University, spent a couple of days at the Blue Heron teaching Tap and Jazz in our 4 Day Dance Sampler summer camp.  Madeline Morser, who graduated from Skidmore University with a BFA in Performance and Choreography and spent the last two years at Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company in Albany, returns to the northwest to lay down roots and teach Ballet and Modern in our Dance around the World dance camp.  Joining the ranks of these esteemed alumni, Emma Rose DeSantis will teach ballet to intermediate/advanced dancers after 3 weeks dancing at Cornish College of the Arts, and before she leaves to study performing arts at Western Washington University.

We beam with pride over these lovely people who return home to mentor and teach the next generation of Vashon dancers.

Big news at VAIS – teaching artist Alisara Martin has been accepted to the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab (TAT Lab for short)!  This incredible opportunity will see Alisara getting hands-on professional development in creating strong learning plans, clearly articulated learning goals, and formative assessment techniques.  She’ll be working for 7 months with a cohort of teaching artist peers from around the state in workshops, teleconferences, and individual coaching.  We are so proud of her!  To help make this possible we are offering funding to offset the tuition costs and couldn’t be more thrilled to support Alisara as she boosts her already considerable skills in the classroom.

In other news, our application for the National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works II” grant is complete and submitted.  If awarded, this grand will fund residencies in the 2019-20 school year – CROSS YOUR FINGERS as we wait patiently for their decision in April 2019!

Japanese Immersion Art Camp Gerie Wilson and Yuka Mullen have been leading the most amazing and energetic group of students in discovering Japanese language, art, stories and culture. These young people are enjoying a wonderful immersive experience at Mukai Farm making wind bells, learning Sumi calligraphy, doing Japanese food preparation, practicing indigo dyeing, hanging Kokedama (moss balls), playing Tama-ire and Hanetsuki games, writing haiku and more, more, more.  I went by on Wednesday and honestly I didn’t want to leave.

Finally, and this is a sixth thing, I want to share two dance videos for different but similar reasons. The first video comes courtesy of Matt Harding and his sublime and somewhat crazy escapades he’s undertaken these past years to dance (badly according to him) all around the world.   I had the opportunity to meet him a few years ago and his story is really extraordinary.  You can read about it here.

His motivation is pure and simple: To show us directly that the world is a lot closer and a whole lot friendlier than our current narrative suggests.  As you watch the video, notice the locations and then imagine yourself setting up a camera, turning on some music, and then inviting people to dance.

The second is a charming video from Bulgaria, called I Charleston.  It’s happy, delightful, and just like Matt’s video, reminds us that art/dance/music/drama is one of the few and best ways we have to connect us to ourselves and to each other.


Why “Fish Wrap”? Years ago, living in San Francisco, I became a devotee of a legendary journalists named Herb Caen. While he may not have been the first to use the phrase in connection with “yesterday’s news,” he is the one I remember. Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrap. Maybe it’s a generational thing. At any rate, we call our Friday wrap up, The Friday Fish Wrap . . . Five things worth knowing about VCA this Friday.

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