Allison Reid, Interim Executive Director

Allison Reid was formerly the Director of Advancement at Harbor School, Vashon’s independent K-8 school. An avid supporter of arts and education, Allison has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 25 years using her talents in development, event management, marketing and communications to help organizations thrive and grow. She is a former VCA board member.

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Kaycie Alanis, VAIS Program Manager

Kaycie Alanis

VAIS Program Manager

Kaycie earned a BA in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston, and has worked as an actress and director with companies such as Centastage in Boston, and Second City and Chicago Dramatists in Chicago. Most recently, she worked with Two Pence Theatre in Chicago as Interim Director of Education before moving west with her family to Vashon. She has worked as a photographer, and practices another artistic love—singing—with Vashon Island Chorale.

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Crissy Baker, Associate Dance Director / Registrar

Crissy Baker


Crissy started participating in VCA activities in the Fall Term of 2012 by first volunteering in the Nutcracker production doing stagehand help with props while her children attended the dance program. She had taken time off from work to be a stay at home mom before then, but with both children in full time school, it was time to go back to work. Having a degree in HR from Central Washington University, she has worked at both corporate Starbucks and Microsoft before having children. But now being located on Vashon and having her children so involved in the activities at VCA, she considered taking a different route when the opportunity for the Registrar position came available in Spring of 2013. It was the perfect fit being local and involved in the Arts with an organization she’d grown to love. She has always had a passion for dance and is also the Tap Instructor for VCA Center for Dance and continues to assist in the VCA Center for Dance productions.

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Ronly Blau, Assistant House Manager

Ronly Blau

Assistant House Manager

Bio coming soon.

Email Ronly:

Stephanie Johnson Blomgren, Arts Education Assistant

Stephanie Johnson Blomgren

Arts Education Assistant

Stephanie joined the VCA staff in 2016 as a helper in the Late Start Arts program, gradually joining the broader Arts Education department. As Arts Ed Assistant, Stephanie may be found fielding class registration requests, fixing ballet hair buns, or covered in paint after a particularly successful art class. She is mom to two dancer-artist dynamo kids.

Email Stephanie:

Eileen Burke, Database Manager

Eileen Burke

Database Manager

Bio coming soon….

Email Eileen:

Wendy Finkleman, Director of Arts Education

Wendy Finkleman

Director of Arts Education

Wendy joined VCA in 2010, after working in the field of education for over 15 years. Wendy worked in student services for University of Cincinnati, Western Washington University and the Art Institute of Seattle and spent a decade at Antioch University Seattle as an academic advisor and part-time adjunct faculty. In addition to being an accomplished photographer and running a portrait photography business, Wendy likes to explore different art mediums; her current favorites are felting, mosaic and encaustics.

Email Wendy:

Maria Glanz, House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, Maria Glanz, is an award-winning actor, solo performer, writer, teacher, and producer.  Maria is a member of UMO Ensemble and a new member of the Civic Rep Ensemble.  She has extensive experience in marketing and all areas of non-profit management and has worked for a number of non-profits in the region.

Michael Hayes, Technical Director

Michael is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts and brings over 25 years of production experience to VCA.  Locally, Michael previously served as Technical Director for the Capitol Hill Arts Center and Production Manager/Technical Director for Hugo House.

He has extensive experience in lighting design, audio engineering and as electrics lead for companies such as Seattle Children’s Theatre, Village Theater, and NY Harlem Productions.  In addition he has applied his talents to large festivals and corporate events when working with Live Sound and Stage and Bold Hat Productions.  Ask him about his massive project helping to build out the Old Rainier Brewery!  Michael is a most welcomed addition to the Vashon Community!

Lara McKnight, Finance Manager

Lara McKnight

Finance Manager

Lara moved to Vashon at age 10. As a teenager, she developed two loves: theatre and math. She moved off-Island after graduating from VHS in 1994, and pursued theatre between college and ‘regular’ jobs. In 1999, she unexpectedly found herself working as a bookkeeper for a busy Seattle construction company, a job she fell in love with and dedicated 12 years to. She returned to Vashon in 2007, and in 2011, finally found a way to combine her original two loves, bookkeeping for VCA!

Email Lara:

Lynann Politte, Koch Gallery Business Manager

Lynann Politte

Gallery Business Manager

Lynann Politte has been a promoter, director, producer, CoHousing community member, business coach, mother, grandmother, sister, activist, feminist, girlfriend and marketing strategist. She produced and directed The Vagina Monologues on Vashon in 2002 and 2003 to sold-out audiences. Lynann has an MBA and her work experience includes launching a women’s jewelry line, working in the fashion industry, being a international corporate planner, producing a syndicated radio show, managing internationally tours, and leading conference workshops. She’s lived on and loved Vashon since 2000.

Email Lynann at:

Ele McNamara-Blad, Assistant House Manager

Eleanor McNamara-Blad

Assistant House Manager

Eleanor grew up in the bush in Australia and studied art history and philosophy at Melbourne University before  moving to the States to ski, sail, paint and travel. In between she raised children, lived at length aboard a sailboat and worked in the airline industry.  Moved to Vashon in ’96 and joined VCA in 2016. She enjoys interacting with patrons and artists and plans to be around for a while.

Email Eleanor:

Joseph Panzetta, Marketing Director

Joseph PanzettaJoseph Panzetta

Marketing Director

Joseph joined VCA in December of 2017 after 20 years of multi-media design in the technology industry, including 8 years as Creative Director and then VP of Creative for Atigeo, and 5 years at Microsoft as Executive Presentation Designer. He has resided on Vashon since 2011 and is active in the local music scene as a singer-songwriter and member of the band, Saint Ophelia. Many moons ago, he received a BA in Theater from Marquette University. He is a life-time advocate of the arts, and proud to be a part of VCA.

Email Joseph:

Jill Venturi, Director of Development Communications

Jill Venturi

Director of Development Communications

Jill returned to Vashon Center for the Arts in 2018 after 2½ years championing the Island’s senior population fundraising for the Vashon Community Care Foundation. She previously served for six years in a development role at Vashon Center for the Arts for the campaign to build the Katherine L White Hall. Before moving to Vashon Island in 2005, Jill spent eleven years as creative manager for advancement communications at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA for the $300 million Challenged to Lead capital campaign. She holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic communication from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Email Jill:

Vadne White, Director of Vashon Center for Dance

Vadne White

Director of Vashon Center for Dance

Vadne fell in love with Vashon’s artistic community, and moved to the island in 2013.  She joined VCA in the Fall of 2016, and formally became Director of Dance in 2017.  Prior to joining VCA, she worked as a Dance Teacher and Associate Director for 10 years after her first career as a Buyer for Macy’s and  Project Manager for Starbucks.  She is a certified Fitness Instructor, and has developed curriculum for ballet schools and fitness organizations.   Currently Vadne is working toward her MFA in Dance Education with the Royal Academy of Dance, while continuing to train in Latin and Ballroom dance.  Her unique mix of education and experience support the organization as she often hops from ballet class to business meeting.  Her greatest joy is providing an avenue for her students to experience dance as an art form and supporting their life goals.

Email Vadne:

Our Mission: Vashon Center for the Arts, a collaborative and community-based organization, provides a center for the arts on Vashon Island, initiates quality arts experiences for all ages and creates opportunities for artists to perform and exhibit their work.

The Board

John de Groen: President of Board of Trustees

John de Groen is a small business owner interested in the arts. He has performed with the Vashon Chorale, Opera and Drama Dock. John and his wife Beth support all the various arts as well as other not for profit organizations. He looks forward to helping VCA and its board in the future.

Jenny McMurdo, Vice President

Jenny McMurdo has called Vashon home for 21 years, and continues her family’s tradition of supporting the arts on Vashon. She has worked with a variety of organizations and nonprofits, including Clackamas Community College, the Baker Cabin Historical Society and as faculty at the Oregon Advanced Technology Center.

Mary Margaret Pearson, Secretary

Mary Margaret Pearson’s career path took her from managing her family’s farming business in Tennessee to fashion and corporate advertising at Nordstrom. Her involvement with VCA began in the early ‘90’s with the many programs her kids were a part of. She has served on the board of several island non-profits focused on supporting the island’s public education opportunities.

Wendy Kearns, Treasurer

Wendy Kearns is an intellectual property and technology partner and chair of the Technology + Privacy & Security group at the national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.  She is the mother of three Vashon-native kids who actively participate in the arts, sports and island life.  Wendy joined the board to help further the mission and reach of VCA and is the current Treasurer of the Board.  In her spare time, she cooks a mean pulled pork and brisket, travels a lot, and writes poetry.

Marcia Bruya, Member at Large

Marcia Bruya is an experienced business executive and has been an avid supporter of VCA for many years. She is a Senior Associate at Point B and has been successful in numerous roles including executive coaching, business process redesign, change management, operational support, technical project leadership and software implementations.

Britt Freda

Britt Freda is a professional working artist whose work focuses on environmental impact, climate and social justice art activism.  Britt teaches in Vashon Schools as an artist in residence creating public murals and environmental activism art as well as working with women’s studies class on creating visual narratives and at-risk youth on the personal and neurological benefits present in the creation of art.  Britt is currently working on multiple public art projects:  a mural of Endangered Birds of Vashon with Audubon, A collaborative sculptural installation for Save our Salmon with Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon Nature Center and VAIS, and a third installation with Vashon Youth and Family Services on trauma education and community resilience.

Britt studied painting, drawing and photography at Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute of Art in Florence, Italy and by invitation for intensive residency at La Cipressaia in Montagnana, Italy under internationally acclaimed South African artists Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky. After working in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Business School at the University of Washington, Britt researched and reviewed early stage bio tech, sustainable energy, tech and lifestyle companies for a local venture catalyst firm.  She co-founded her company, Grace’s Kitchen, before having children and returning to painting full time.  Britt’s paintings can be found in private collections, museum collections and exhibitions, galleries and publications nationally and internationally.

Kimberly Jackson

Kim Jackson is a recent Vashon Island resident who relocated from Dallas, TX where she was an active member of many arts organizations including Shakespeare Dallas, the Nasher Sculpture Garden and Dallas Black Dance Theater.  Her true passion is overseeing the new Make Art with Purpose Sylvia Hougland Emerging Artist Fund named for her mother. The scholarship helps young emerging artists age 35 or under with a $1500 grant for project-based work that addresses a social or environmental theme. The first scholarship was awarded in March to Arnoldo Hurtado to create murals in Fort Worth that celebrate immigration. Kim is graduate of St. Lawrence University and of the year-long Dallas Business Council for the Arts’ Leadership program where she learned the business and cultural side of arts leadership. Her day job is as a consultant with Jacobs Engineering specifically in the areas of communication, marketing and organizational change management.

Denise Katz

Denise Katz has 30 years’ experience as a senior executive in business and currently works as Managing Broker and Sales Director for Windermere Real Estate on Vashon Island. She is very active in the community and has been a trustee on the VCA board since 2011.

Heather Newman

Heather Newman, Ph.D., is new to the Vashon community and to the board of the VCA. She and her husband, Eric, enjoy exploring the island with their teenage daughters and their dog. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, the University of Texas, and the University of Washington, Heather has been a teacher, instructional coach, writer, researcher, and university instructor. She currently serves as the Director of Early and Elementary Education for the Tukwila School District. Heather is excited to be joining the board of the VCA, and she is looking forward to supporting the arts and arts education on the island.

Mary O’Leary-Bryant

Mary O’Leary-Bryant has worked with children and run a small business, and has been 
active in the arts for years. She is pleased to expand her involvement with VCA at such an exciting time, to be part of an organization that brings together two of her passions: art and 

Susan Rives

Co-founder of Scientific Explorer, Susan Rives and her husband grew their company into the most popular children’s science line in the U.S. Their science kits won national awards and are sold in stores across the country and internationally. A former VCA executive committee member, Rives is excited by the opportunities for the organization to expand its contributions to the artistic and educational life of the Vashon community.

Margo Tantau

Margo Tantau blends a life-long passion for art and design with a first-hand understanding of small town living and community. Margo has been described as “Fairy Good-Mother to Artists Everywhere” and loves to live into that personality. It is this passion that guides her creative spirit, as she works with artists and companies to develop unique products the world over. Her son Cooper is involved in VCA’s musical theatre and directly benefits from the Arts in the Schools program.

Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is president emeritus of the University of Puget Sound and has had a home here for the last 12 years with his wife, Mary Thomas. Ron understands the transformative power of arts and literature in the lives of individuals and communities. After 34 years as an award-winning administrator, scholar, teacher and writer at UPS, Harvard, the University of Chicago and Trinity College, he looks forward to supporting VCA.

Shelley Thomas Williams

Shelley Thomas Williams is passionate about the arts on Vashon Island, and is excited to join in VCA’s next step in its commitment to the arts and arts education. She currently sits on the board of the Zions Bancorporation and served on boards at University of Utah, Sun Valley Center for the Arts and United Way of Greater Salt Lake.

Michael Tracy

Since 2011 Michael has made Vashon his home.  Before then Michael lived for over 25 years in New York City where he is an Advisory Board member of The Wooster Group and was a past president of CSC Repertory Theater. These two positions gave him a hands-on experience in the ‘economics’ of small theaters and productions. However, Michael’s real passion is in piano and acoustic music especially in intimate settings such as Kay White Hall. This past spring Michael hosted three lecture/concerts at VCA on Schubert, Chopin and Liszt involving multi-media and local musicians. He looks forward to the challenges and rewards that VCA presents.

Cathy Winjum

Cathy and her husband have been Vashon residents for over 15 years. She is an alumnus of the University of Washington School of Business and her professional experience includes public accounting consulting (KPMG), mortgage banking, and real estate appraisal. Together with their elementary-age twins, she and her husband especially appreciate all of the activities and arts education opportunities available for children and families on Vashon. VCA is a huge part of what makes Vashon Island such a unique and amazing community and a big part of why they enjoy living here. Cathy is a new member of the board and looks forward to contributing to VCA in the years to come.