Friday Fish Wrap 5.17.19

Five things worth knowing this week

1 – Get your Garden Tour on

Island artist Ilse Reimnitz let us use a stunning image to promote the tour and gala.

A “who’s who” of island businesses jumped in with donations and sponsorships (and I do mean a Who’s Who, see the bottom of this page for the list).

We got Ciscoe Morris. Yeah!

There’s going to be a cider, perry and beer tasting. Yum!

Dawna Holloway, founder and director of studio e gallery in Seattle, has curated an art exhibit like none other. Yes!

Island restaurants and sipping spots are throwing open their doors (and some sweet deals for ticket holders). Yum. Again!

There’s a fabulous dinner available. Three times a Yum.

And then there are the gardens!!! Of course.

All we need is you . . .

Here are all the links you’ll need to go full Garden Tour, June 21, 22, and 23.  Bring everyone you know.

You can read all about the gardens and what’s on offer here.

You can buy tickets to the garden tour by clicking here

You can buy tickets to the fabulous garden gala, catered by Herban Feast and hosted at the newly restored Mukai Farm and Garden, by clicking here

You can buy tickets to the wild and wonderful garden guru, Ciscoe Morris and the Nashi Orchards, Dragon’s Head Cider, and Camp Colvos tasting by clicking here.

Yes, you can buy tickets same day, but why wait!!!

2 – It’s not too early to get excited about Seattle Dance Collective

Speaking of tickets . . . Readers of the FishWrap know we’re home, host, and partner to the shiny new Seattle Dance Collective, a forward-leaning effort to focus dance energy and goodness in the Seattle area through a highly concentrated one-week season at Vashon Center for the Arts.

I tracked down the Artistic Directors, Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore about the world debut performances that open July 12thand run through the 14th.  This is what they have to say about Program One, the eponymous title for their first collective efforts.

We have selected works by five choreographers from three continents for Seattle Dance Collective’s debut performances. Program One will present seven diverse pieces of contemplative emotional journeys, high-octane athleticism and riveting exploration of movement, all designed to challenge expectations through the universal language of dance. SDC artists include dancers from internationally recognized Pacific Northwest Ballet and acclaimed Seattle-based contemporary dance company Whim W’Him.

You’ll hear and see more about this exciting project in the weeks to come.  Meanwhile, I’m pleased to tell you tickets are now on sale for all four performances . . . Including a “Family Matinee” on Saturday, July 13th.

Who will buy the first ticket??? Why not you?  Buy tickets for here.

3 – Amazing Ambassadors came and went

There are times when you just know you’re in the presence of something special. Tuesday night was one of those times. But I’m ahead of myself (not the first time).

The other day I got a note from local amazing artist and VCA friend Britt Freda. It went (mostly) like this . . .

I would like to invite a small group to a viewing of my newest solo show “Ambassadors,” right before I ship it out on Wednesday, May 15.  

I’ll bring 10-15 paintings to the atrium or gallery and place them against the wall on the floor (like when we are laying out a hang) for about 3 hours. I’d like to open a couple of bottles of wine, talk about the collection of work and be done.  Nothing can be for sale as all that work is committed to the Jackson Hole Gallery.  

That had to be about the easiest thing we’ve ever said “yes” to. Britt is a fine and elegant artist who gives so much and so deeply to our community. She is teacher, gallerist, artist, and friend to so many.

Yes, yes, yes.

So, on Tuesday evening she and this stunning collection of paintings (along with a groaning board of goodies and beverages) showed up, followed shortly thereafter by a double helping of collectors, friends, family, and fans.  Maybe the most heartening part were all the young folks who came.

What follows is Britt’s artist statement about the show, words that approximate her moving message when she spoke.

Allegorically, this series is about the gathering of animals in an aspen grove.  The clonal colony nature of an aspen grove, typically derived from a single seedling, is symbolic of the interdependence of ecosystems in the natural world and one generation’s impact on another. When a person enters a space where the collection of paintings is hung together they enter the grove.  The ambassadors are already there, waiting, eyes sharply focused on the viewer.  

The animals and the environment is quiet, there is no hooting of the great grey owl or howling of the grey wolf.  The ask is to look. To contemplate.  It is clear that the animals, the ambassadors, appear to be inquiring, keenly, fiercely.  The titles of the paintings for most of the paintings begin with The Honorable, a title indicating eminence or excellence, the Latin Name, Common Name and the ambassador’s distinction as a representative or promoter of perspective or a way of being.  For example: The Honorable Leo Montes, Mountain Lion, is the Ambassador of Patience and The Honorable Ursus Arctos, Grizzly Bear, is the Ambassador of Intuition.  The areas of ambassadorship were designated with reference to indigenous traditions and folklore.  

As the artist it is my hope that this collection of works reminds the viewer that ambassadors throughout the natural world bring crucial wisdom, balance and insight, essential to the decisions that we make as a human species.  It is critical that we, in this time of rapid ecological change, not forget to listen to the other-than-human inhabitants of our planet, when considering the health, wellbeing and future of the our rapidly changing ecosystems.  We are all in this boat together.  We must meet, maybe in a cool aspen grove, and learn from each other, listen, look and connect with patience, vulnerability, honesty, humility, balance and creative fortitude, even when it is hard, to cultivate a future in which generations of inhabitants will thrive. 

This body of work was created specifically for Rare Gallery in Jackson Hole, with the Gros Ventre Valley, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole ecosystems as research sources and inspiration.

The images you see here kind of do the original works justice.  The real things were and are magical.

4 – You want to see the Creative Action Art Circle Show.  You do.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. –Yeats

Dr. Thomas Elliott is the Director of Alternative Learning Programs at Vashon Island School District. His StudentLink students mounted an incredibly strong show of visual art in our Blue Heron Education Center.

To remind you, I’m talking about a showcase of student work in the Creative Action Art Circle, a collaboration between StudentLink and Vashon Center for the Arts. It’s a yearlong project that connects student artists with professional teaching artists.

The original plan was for 10 students to learn from one professional teaching artist per month at the Blue Heron Education Center and to spend the remaining weeks working on a project in that month’s medium.

Art-magic soon ensued as students quickly morphed into teachers and mentors as well!!  The circle revised the schedule for the remainder of the year, alternating professional artist workshops with student-led workshops. See. Learn. Do. Show. Teach.

I caught up with Thomas the other day about the class and show.  Here’s some good scoop.

Me: What was the motivation behind the show?

Thomas: The initial motivation for the show was all the new art students we’re making as we learned new skills with the professional artists VCA hired for us. Then, as more students became curious about what we were up to, I became aware of all the art-making going on in our students’ lives–some of it for school but most of it just what students are choosing to do with their time. We opened the show up to all StudentLink students (including some of next year’s incoming freshman), and the result was entries from 27 students.

Me: Describe the response to the show from students and parents?

Thomas: Lots of students showed up for the opening with friends and parents. What was the most fun for me was noticing folks showing up to see the work of a particular artist and then getting absorbed in the rest of the show.

Me: Would you describe this group as “experienced artists?”

Thomas: I think some of our students not only had never had the opportunity to show their art but maybe didn’t imagine that they would ever show their art. In fact, we had some students who said “no” early on and then later showed up with some art. Maybe something contagious happened as the energy built toward the show. It lifted our spirits to have so much of the community working toward that goal.

Me:  Tell us about the role that art plays in Student Link?

Thomas: Art is one of the high school graduation requirements, so it is often part of a students’ work at StudentLink. What was fun to discover is just how much art is part of the everyday lives of more than half of our students. We got a PIE grant this year to stock the space with art supplies, and now we’re keeping a stock of fresh sketchbooks on hand for students who fill theirs up. That said, I must confess that we need some help with thorough and timely clean-up. We ended up with some ruined paintbrushes.

We are super grateful to VCA for both the show and the partnership through this school year. We look forward to collaborating more in years to come, especially now that we understand just how many artists we have at StudentLink.

We’re super grateful as well.  Teaching artists involved in the project included Britt FredaAlisara MartinAllison Trundle and Estevan Roache.

You can see the show any week day between 10:00 and 6:00 at the Blue Heron Education Center.  Well worth a look.

5 – Bits and Pieces

Anyone with an interest in VCA has surely heard about and/or read about the member meeting we held on April 29th. It wound up equal parts reportage, financial analysis, homily and anthem to the arts.

There are three videos available of the proceedings.

The first is a bit less than six minutes and falls squarely in the homily/anthem category. It addresses what I think are the driving reasons behind the “why” of VCA today.

The second is a two+ minute soliloquy that lays out what I see as the twinned challenges of our time: Alienation from each other (thank you technology) and from the natural world we’re living in (and stressing the hell out of) and the role that an arts organization (this arts organization) might play in improving both.

The third is a video of all 75 minutes of my remarks. That’s a lot of words, so be forewarned.

Finally, you can grab the transcript and slides of the presentation here and read the financial information referenced here.

6 – Finally, and this is a sixth thing

There is something going on in the morphic field that is pushing beloved island song-maker Kat Eggleston into my line of sight. Today was another one of those instances.

Hoping this isn’t too round Robbin’s Barn . . . I moved to the island fulltime in 2013. Which means that just about 98% of what I know about Vashon, the place, the people, the history, the cosmic hum, dates to that year and onward.

That means I can divide my life along a jagged demising line of before and after.

For example, there was a time when I didn’t know Umo, and then there was all the time after. There was a long time when I didn’t know there was a Bill Fisher, yet alone a pond, and then I did. There was a time when I didn’t know there was a Kat Eggleston, and then there’s every moment since.

I know for a fact that I first became aware of Kat on one of those Wednesday night music sit-ins at SnapDragon. Showing I’m still not fully seasoned, I can’t say for sure if there was a name for the thing or even if it’s still going on. All I know is that Kat and John were there early, and the place filled from there.

He played, she played, we ate chips and gravy. Others ate too. I just assumed that’s what you did.

At some point she sang. I didn’t realize angels had just descended so I kept eating and probably chatting. I think others did too as Kat didn’t take too kindly to the level of ambient noise.

It’s a weird thing to remember because it’s not even close to being a remarkable story.  But it’s locked in there and that’s the dividing line, before and after, when I became aware of yet another island treasure.

You’re now waiting for the point of all this.

Today Kat walked in the door (along with her co-conspirator Charlotte Tiencken) to talk about a project that’s near and dear to her heart and soul. This is one of those things that needed the right space and time to come forward and the song she sang for us at the Member Meeting a couple of weeks back I think keyed the lock.

You’re going to hear more about this project in the by-and-by, but until then, enjoy this clip of three songs from her new album (errr CD) called “Speak.” It is, they are, sublime.


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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