Five things worth knowing this week.

Arts and Identity. I’ve said this so many times it probably doesn’t register any longer.  One of the best parts of working at VCA is wandering over the The Blue Heron Education Center to bask in the glow of kids and art (and dance, and, and . . .).

This week a group of insanely talented artists have been working with kids to proudly explore their racial and cultural identity through writing, graphic stories, theater games, improvisation, and mask making. Each day of camp features a different amazing instructor.  The work has been so inspiring but the stuff that really got my smiling was the multi-talented and thoroughly amazing Alisara Martin leading the crew in creating life-sized maps of their bodies using plastic wrap and packing tape!

Dance Intensive. Just upstairs from art camp has been our amazingly hard working Dance Intensive group.

For 5 hours a day over 10 days, these ballet students have been in the Upstairs studio at the Blue Heron Education Center dancing, studying, and choreographing.  Following a 2 hour ballet class daily, they have taken deep dives into dance related topics like alignment, flexibility, nutrition, supplemental conditioning, and dance-related careers.  Then took another 1.5 hour class to finish-out their day.  VCD alum, Tess Mueller, hosted a Q & A on what it is like to study dance at the collegiate level.  They have worked diligently on turns, extensions, turn out, and leaps.  Each of them grew significantly as a dancer over the past two weeks, and as a group they have made huge contributions to two new pieces for the advanced dancers to perform in the fall.  We are very proud of these students!

Focus Group We formally kicked off our strategic planning effort this week with a wonderful group of experienced instructors from our Arts Education program.  Incredibly inspiring and exciting to think about the future we all want to create together.

Gold rating. Vashon Center for the Arts was recently recognized for our transparency with a 2018 Gold Seal on our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile!

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.

In order to get the 2018 Gold Seal, VCA shared important information with the public using our profile on Now our community members and potential donors can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress. We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world.

Check out our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile here.

Welcome new board members!  We are incredibly grateful and pleased to welcome six new members to our Board of Trustees: Britt Freda, Kimberly Jackson, Wendy Kearns, Allison Reid, Margo Tantau, and Michael Tracy.  You can see their short bios here.  A proper press release is going on next week.  You can say you read it here first.

Finally, and this is a sixth thing, some of us got on to different versions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a song written by Harold Arlen, made famous by Judy Garland, and judged by many as one of the most beautiful songs ever.

It’s seldom the case that a cover comes even close to the original, and that may be true here, but what about Ray Charles’ version?  I know it speaks to me.

Chet Atkins did a famous and fabulous guitar version that was taken steps further by guitar-great Tommy Emanuel in the 1970s.  Lovely.

And finally, there is Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s transcendent rendition that has been viewed on YouTube about a zillion times.

Enjoy and remember, don’t be afraid to dream because sometimes they do come true!

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.