Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) will be more than just a new building. It will be the artistic center of the Island—an entire community arts campus that celebrates Vashon’s rich tradition of fine and performing arts across every possible discipline—from painting, sculpture and textiles to drama, dance and opera.
Our Island is blessed with a thriving community of emerging and professional artists along with savvy, enthusiastic audience members. Because of this, there is an enormous community need for a central place to learn, create and enjoy the arts. Ticket sales to performances produced by arts groups, such as Drama Dock, Vashon Island Chorale, Vashon Chamber Music and Vashon Opera, continue to grow and the demand for rehearsal and performance space has sky-rocketed. And, as our schools’ arts programs experience budget constraints, parents and students clamor for additional after-school classes in both performing and visual arts.
The new VCA campus—which reaches from the Blue Heron’s south parking lot to the corner of Cemetery Road and Vashon Highway—will meet this demand with two buildings: a new 20,000 square-foot performing arts facility and a renovated Blue Heron Art Center. The jewel of the new performing arts facility is a 285-seat theater with great acoustics and an orchestra pit. The space will provide an ideal venue for a broad range of chorale, opera, chamber music, jazz, rock and roll, ballet and theatrical performances. The new building will also house a 1,000 square-foot art gallery and a large lobby/event space for sit-down dinners and receptions. In addition, there will be administrative offices, piano storage, a loading dock, dressing rooms and a greenroom (which also double as classrooms) and a kitchen.
In the next phase, the historic Blue Heron Art Center, will be remodeled with classrooms and a refurbished upstairs dance studio. The two buildings will share an outdoor plaza where visitors can gather. Landscaped paths will connect the buildings and take visitors further east to an adjacent two acre wetland and sculpture garden.
The cost for the project is estimated at $19.3 million. This includes construction, fixtures and furnishings, debt service, fundraising, staff costs, project management and design fees. As of January 2015, Vashon Allied Arts has raised more than $18.1 million thanks to the Center’s primary benefactor, Kay White, more than 566 other generous gifts from Islanders, the VAA staff and board, a $2.1 million grant from Washington State and $85,000 from 4Culture, funds which voters earmarked for the arts. In addition to these funds, VAA has funds in trust earmarked for long-term operational sustainability.
Please read the VCA blog for updates on the project and fundraising. And send us your comments. This is your arts center, and we are eager to hear from you!