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Vashon Island Garden Tour 2014

Vashon Island Garden Tour 2014

Join us for the 24th annual Vashon Island Garden Tour, June 21-22, 2014! Vashon Allied Arts is pleased to announce this year’s exciting lineup of Vashon gardens, including North America’s largest private stumpery and the edible garden oasis of Jo Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of Eating on the Wild Side.

Watch this short 2-minute video to learn more about this year’s tour.

For more info and tickets visit:

Benaroya Bound!

Benaroya Bound!

Vashon Island Chorale sings Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor in a combined choirs concert at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, on Sunday, March 30, 2 pm. Jennifer and Andrew Krikawa are two of the four soloists for this concert. Eighty Vashon singers, plus pianist Linda Lee and violinists Karin Choo and Gaye Detzer, perform under the direction of Gary D. Cannon for the Chorale’s own set of three songs.

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25% of the Chorale’s Benaroya ticket sale profit will be donated in support of risers for the new Vashon Center for the Arts stage.


Following the Benaroya concert, the Chorale begins rehearsals Tuesday, April 1 to prepare for its celebratory 25th anniversary concert No Bridges on Sunday, June 29. For session registration information, write to or consult the website.

$100,000 Match DOUBLES Your Impact!

$100,000 Match DOUBLES Your Impact!

UPDATE: We’ve met our match! Thank you to the donors who helped us reach this goal. (Psst… There’s another match on the way!)

We are thrilled to announce that on February 18, 2014, a generous Island supporter pledged $100,000 in matching funds towards Vashon Center for the Arts! This means the next $100,000 in new gifts will be matched dollar for dollar. From now through June 30th is your opportunity to double your impact.

Of the $2.5 million needed for the completion of our public community goal, an astounding $1.1 million (as of 3/7/14) has already been raised since October. With your help we will reach our goal together and make this dream a reality for Vashon.


Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) will be the artistic center for the Island – a community arts campus that welcomes people of all ages and interests, and celebrates Vashon’s rich tradition of visual and performing arts. Be a part of this historic achievement and help VCA break ground in 2014.




Senator Nelson

State Senator Sharon Nelson,  (D-Vashon-Maury Island ) came out to the Blue Heron to share some great news with us last week.  After working tirelessly to pass the state budget, she told the crowd gathered at VAA that $2 million in capital funds had been allocated for Vashon Center for the Arts!  The cheers were instant; the gratitude apparent. Clearly the audience understood that this news brought VCA leaps and bounds closer to breaking ground.  Vashon Center for the Arts is just around the corner!

The funds were appropriated through a section of the State’s capital budget aptly named, “projects that strengthen communities and quality of life”. Half of the new funding replaces a Building for the Arts grant VAA received from the State in 2009.  The grant expired in June of this year, so it was a great relief to have these funds replaced.  The additional $1 million is entirely new funding, and further strengthens the VCA fundraising efforts.

Senator Nelson recognizes that the art campus brings this community together and is good for all Islanders.  The campus will serve not only as a cultural hub and arts education center for our kids, but it will also serve as a boost to our local economy and provide a home to many other arts groups on Vashon.

Thank you, Senator Nelson for all your hard work.   And thanks to all of you who have helped us get this far.  It truly takes the entire community to create something of this magnitude.  Thank you, Vashon!



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Islanders gathered for an Open House at VAA this past Sunday to find out the latest news about Vashon Center for Arts.  On display were the new architectural renderings which showed off the spacious new lobby and art gallery.  The  new renderings are the most visible evidence of the progress we’ve been making.  A lot is going on behind the scenes as we ready ourselves to break ground on the Island’s new art campus.  Kudos to the hard work of everyone involved.





We’re having an Open House to show off the beautiful new renderings of Vashon Center for the Arts, and answer all your questions.
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Here’s a great chance to preview Vashon Island’s most exciting coming attraction.
Come on by the Blue Heron on Sunday, June 9th, from 4-6pm, and see what the future holds for each and every one of us who love art, dance, theater and music.  This beautiful new building will be the frame that holds it all.
I’ll see you there!




didyouknowWe started to map out some of the facts about VAA, and what emerged is a detailed picture of a vibrant art scene on Vashon.  Here are some things you might have heard, but here are also some facts that might take you by surprise.

Vashon Allied Arts

  • Established in 1966 makes it the oldest non-profit community-based private art center in the state of Washington
  • For 32 years VAA has operated out of a 100 year old landmarked building
  • In 2012 VAA retuned $300,000 to artists for teaching, performing and for the sale of art

Arts Education

  • $51,155 given out in scholarships for Dance, Visual and Performing Arts classes
  • In 2012 paid $84,000 to teaching artists

Dance Program

  • 1/3 of students have been with the program 10 years or longer
  • 50 classes offered every year
  • Student age ranges from 2.5 to 65
  • 250 students trained each year
  • Over 1600 audience members attended the Nutcracker and Spring Ballet in 2012

Visual and Performing Arts Classes

  • VAA offered nearly 70 classes in a variety of mediums during 2012
  • 26 Vashon artist instructors were hired to teach in-house classes
  • Arts class enrollment reached 500 students in 2012

VAA Gallery

  • Last year, 235 artists had their work shown in the Gallery.  Over 200 of those live on Vashon

VAA Performance

  • In 2012, VAA produced, co-produced and presented nearly 40 individual shows including: Chamber Music, Jazz Series, rock, Youth Musical Theatre, comedy and New Works Series, Family Series, mixed media and more.
  • Vashon artists comprised more than 50% of performances.
  • Audience members range from infants to 100 and more than half were sold-out performances

Vashon Artists in Schools

  • VAIS celebrates a 25-year partnership between VAA and Vashon Island School District
  • In 2013 there are 24 VAIS residencies, each between 10-30 classroom hours long
  • The program serves nearly all of VISD’s 1,500 students every year

Heron’s Nest

  • The Heron’s Nest started as a small shop in the back of the Blue Heron in 1985
  • 95% of the art sold in the Heron’s Nest is created by Vashon/Maury Island artists
  • 100% of proceeds earned by Heron’s Nest directly or indirectly supports island artists and art programs
  • More than 100 artists show their artwork at the Heron’s Nest


  • 650 Households are VAA members
  • Members receive discounts of up to 15% off all VAA classes.
  • Members receive discounts of up to 22% off performance tickets
  • Members receive 10% discount at the Heron’s Nest


GiveBIG on May 15 and watch your gift grow!

On May 15, Vashon Allied Arts will be one of over 1400 non-profits participating in the single biggest day of charitable giving in King County.

GiveBIG is a one-day, online event designed to inspire our neighbors to give generously to non-profits that make our region a great place to live. Every credit card donation made between midnight & midnight on Wednesday, May 15 at receives a pro-rated portion of matching funds.

Throughout GiveBIG, random drawings give additional $1,000 gifts to winning charities. In 2012 an amazing demonstration of the philanthropic spirit in King County generated $7.43 million in online contributions.   When you GiveBIG, please remember VAA. All gifts count for the match when made online that day. Please support our other Island non-profits, too.

Thank you!


VCA Main Entry

VCA Main Entry

Below is a letter from former Board Member, Fred Albert.  Fred served as Seattle Children’s Theatre Public Relations Manager and Seattle Repertory Theatre Publications Manager.  His rich background in theater certainly gives him insight into our new arts campus.

In the movie Field of Dreams, a ghostly voice whispers to Kevin Costner, “If you build it they will come.”  Building an arts center is different from building a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield; an arts center requires thorough financial planning to ensure sustainability.  

Since Vashon Center for the Arts was proposed in late 2007, Vashon Allied Arts has worked to be certain VCA will be on solid ground well into the future.  VAA Board and staff members looked at similar projects in other communities and learned what worked and what didn’t work with their projects.

Consulting with Vashon arts groups, VAA Deputy Director Angela Luechtefeld mapped a typical year of events in the new facility, then projected revenue and expenses for the building’s first five years.  She explained that you can look ahead as far as you like, but if programming were to significantly change, formulas would also need to change.  This is why business models for arts organizations typically encompass a period of about five years.  Her goal in establishing the business model was to develop an economic strategy that would steer VCA toward financial stability starting Day One, while keeping user fees and ticket prices affordable. 

“There will be increased costs to take care of the building,” acknowledges Luechtefeld.  “But we are also going to have increased ticket revenue because our seating capacity will triple and we will have the opportunity to attract a wider variety of performers.  “We’ll be able to pay a fee, rather than a cut of the door,” Luechtefeld says,.  Expanded classroom and gallery space will also increase revenue.

No one is suggesting that every VCA performance will sell out.  But even conservative estimates suggest that annual attendance will increase by 250 percent.  Larger audiences will allow VAA to compete for sponsorships from corporations.

Vashon arts organizations demonstrate a long track record with proven audience histories, unlike some other communities that built buildings and then scrambled to develop programs to fill them.  Even so, Luechtefeld anticipates there will always be an operating revenue gap although it will reduce each of the first 4-5 years.  Most of the revenue gap will be covered by a substantial operating reserve (currently valued at $8 million) and ongoing fundraising will preserve the principal.

Why not use that money to fund the building’s construction instead?  The majority of the sum is in a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust, and at the donor’s direction will be used for long-term sustainability.  This fund will serve as a valuable cushion to cover any future shortfalls and to keep programs affordable.

With this safety net in place and continued rigorous planning, VAA hopes to create a building that will serve the Island’s arts needs now and for many years to come.