Allison Halstead Reid, Executive Director

A longtime Vashon resident, Allison Reid brings more than 25-years of career experience in the non-profit sector to her role as VCA’s Executive Director. An avid supporter of the arts and education, Reid began her career as Founder and Director of Seattle’s award-winning performing arts organization, AHA! Theatre. On Vashon, she has served as VCA’s Interim Executive Director, as both Director of Development & Marketing and Director of Advancement at Harbor School, as Principal of the event planning and fundraising consulting group, FortunaLux, and as a board member for several island non-profits. Her talents in development, event management, marketing and communications, and volunteer engagement are outmatched only by her dedication to the arts, education and the community of Vashon Island. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree.

Crissy Baker, Performing Arts Event Manager

Crissy attended both the University of Washington and Central Washington University, graduating with degrees in Psychology and Human Resources. She brings with her the experience and benefits from leading teams at large corporations such as Microsoft and Starbucks headquarters. After some time in the corporate world, Crissy was ultimately drawn to the fantastic arts environment at Vashon Center for the Arts. Coupling Crissy’s passion for the arts, with being one of the most tenured staff members at VCA, she seemingly has had engagement in many of the program areas that VCA offers- class registrations and dance instruction, event production and management, and program director. She provides a great look into the past, present, and future of Vashon Center for the Arts. If you see her around town and want to know more about VCA, she welcomes the opportunity to discuss classes, programs, events and more.

Jesse Bell, Technical Director

Jesse returned to Vashon Center for the Arts in 2021, after a temporary relocation to the Gulf Coast to focus on family; while working as Director of Events for Encore Global in the Tampa Bay region. Prior to that he worked as Technical Director at VCA from 2016- to mid 2018, coming aboard towards the end of construction of the Katherine L. White Hall. Jesse has worked in the live events industry for 18 years; including concerts, theatrical and corporate events. Prior to moving to Vashon in 2016, Jesse spent 9 years working as a Director in the corporate events industry for Encore Global, primarily in the Seattle area and Florida. While finishing college in Orlando, FL he worked freelance in local venues, theaters, concerts and show productions, always open to any gig in the field; doing everything from stage rigging to pyrotechnics, spot op, stagehand, venue runner, and as an audio engineer. Working in these diverse settings helped build his wide range of technical skills. Jesse holds a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelors of Science in Recording Arts. Jesse has been drawn to the arts since a young age and feels strongly about accessibility of the arts to all people and the positive benefits that creative outlets have on individuals and the community.

Stephanie Johnson Blomgren, VAIS Program Manager

Stephanie joined the VCA staff in 2016 as a helper in the Late Start Arts program, gradually supporting the broader goals of the Arts Education department. Today she manages the Vashon Artists in Schools program—an integrated arts partnership with Vashon Island School District. Stephanie has a background in Literary Arts, with a Masters of Fine Arts in writing; before pursuing that creative passion, she built a successful freelance creative design and copywriting career, supporting non-profits, local and global. She is mom to one VCD dancer & one Suzuki student—both of whom make life more brilliant.

Tami Brown, Finance Manager

Tami Brown came to VCA as Finance Manager in early 2021.  With over 20 years of accounting experience, she has broad knowledge across multiple industries including construction, restaurant, television production, and the arts.  Having lived most of her life on Vashon, her family has deep rooted history all the way back to 1877.  She is excited to be contributing to the arts in our community.

Katie Doan, Accounting Specialist

Katie has lived on Vashon since the Spring of 2021. She and her partner set out on Vashon in the pursuit of engaging in regenerative agriculture. Katie wanted to further integrate into the community – so when the opportunity to work at VCA opened up to her – she grabbed it! Katie studied biology at Boise State University and political science at Southern Oregon University – holding an Associate’s Degree and Bachelor of Science. She’s also pursued a certification as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, believing it is complementary to growing nutrient dense foods for the community. Katie’s passion for art is as an observer. Being able to bear witness to the creativity and bravery of art often brings her to tears, especially when watching anything performative – it has since she was a child attending plays, musicals, opera and beyond with her mother.

Wendy Finkleman, Blue Heron Education Center Director

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.

Joy Ghigleri, Registrar/Office Manager of Blue Heron Education Center

Joy started at Vashon Center for the Arts as a student in the dance and theatre programs in 2014. She found a deep love for the arts and, after graduating from Vashon High School, she attended Pacific Lutheran University where she earned a BFA in Acting and Directing. During her time at PLU, she was a member of the national collegiate theatre honor society, Alpha Psi Omega, and became the president of PLU’s Theta Pi chapter during her senior year. She worked with APO and PLU to direct a theatre for young audiences’ production and produce and teach educational theatre workshops for students in elementary school, middle school, and high school. She also studied in London for a semester and worked as an intern at Theatro Technis where she helped develop a staged storybook reading program for preschoolers and managed the theater’s social media. Joy moved back to the island in 2020 and accepted her current position as Blue Heron Registrar and Office Manager in 2021. Joy is also a teaching artist at VCA and has been teaching theatre and tap dance since 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Cyra Jane, Grant Writer & Marketing Support

Cyra Jane moved out to Vashon in 2014 to build a studio at the Beall Greenhouses and joined VCA as grant writer and marketing design support in April of 2020. She has a Master’s degree in Professional and Technical writing and has worked in book design, editing and grant writing for art collectives for nearly 15 years. An artist in her own right, she is a stone carver, sculptor, painter, and installation artist ( Before starting work at VCA, she was featured in the gallery in a 3-woman show in 2019.

Lynann Politte, Gallery Director

Lynann Politte has been a promoter, director, producer, CoHousing community member, business coach, mother, grandmother, sister, activist, feminist, 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.

Kathi Ray, Groundskeeper

Biography coming.

Jill Venturi, Communications Director

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.

Vadne White, Director of Dance

Biography coming.

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

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

Long time islander, Bruce Morser is an award winning freelance illustrator and frequent teaching artist for Vashon Artists in Schools.

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.

Jordan Balcom brings an array of leadership experience in finance and marketing with Goldman Sachs and PepsiCo and as non-profit leader with Junior Achievement. A native of Tacoma and a graduate of University of Arizona, she is currently a stay-at-home mom of a one- and three-year old. Jordan believes that “we need art in all forms today and in the future.” ”Helping people exude joy and happiness and bring out the inner artist,” is one of Jordan’s goals on the board.

Natalie Abel is a Vashon native who grew up benefitting from Vashon Arts Alliance (now the VCA) programming. She attributes her brief ballet career to the Blue Heron. “I spent many of my elementary school years in Drama Dock or at art camps.” Natalie is a teacher with a master’s degree in special education and is currently teaching in a fully remote school environment. Natalie served on the Harbor School Board of Directors for nearly three years and is serving on the Harbor School’s technology committee to “make the remote learning and teaching experience the best it can be.”

David Armstrong is an American stage director, writer, producer, lecturer, and choreographer. He is best known for his work at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle where from 2000 to 2018 he served as the Producing Artistic Director and Executive Producer, and where he is currently Artistic Director Emeritus.

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 previously served as the President of the Board for VCA.

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.

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.

For the past three decades Kevin McMurdo has worked for and with professional service firms in the areas of marketing, business development, communications and client service. He has been a member of the Oregon State Bar Association since 1986. He retired from his consulting practice in July 2019. A Vashon neighbor since 1997, he has served two earlier terms on the VCA Board, from 2000-2002 and from 2011-2013.

Elba Ocasio brings 25 years of experience in design textiles and fashion and has worked for industry brands such as Pottery Barn, Tommy Hilfiger, US Polo and others. She currently serves on the leadership board of the SureFit Home Décor Company. When asked what makes art meaningful to you, Elba responded that it is “Design, Dance, Artist, Community, the youth…local and diversity.” Elba added that she is “working towards building a world class, all-inclusive space and organization for youth and community.”

Mark Pinto has been a residential real estate broker since 2003.  He’s currently affiliated with Windermere Chambers Bay, working primarily with clients in North Tacoma, University Place and Gig Harbor.  Prior to his career in real estate, Mark worked as a certified genetic counselor, first at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and then at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Mark has served on a number of non-profit boards and committees over the years, including Tacoma Arts Live, UW Tacoma, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and the Pierce County Library Foundation.

Mark and his partner Jeff Williams have lived on Maury Island since 2015.  They currently split their time between the island and a duplex in Central Tacoma.

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.

Sean is a partner and principal architect at Waldron Designs.