Vashon’s art scene copes with COVID-19
By Elias Canterbury, Reporter
Quarantine has managed to disrupt nearly every aspect of Vashonites’ lives, especially hurting the vibrant gallery culture on Vashon. Artists and curators have been unable to fill their galleries like they used to, and those venturing out of their homes are not prioritizing supporting the arts.
While things have improved since summer, King County is still in phase 2B of reopening, so galleries are limited to 25 percent capacity, have to follow strict sanitation guidelines, and are not able to hold large gatherings.
Penelope Boyes’ photography displayed at Cafe Luna. Though not an official art gallery, Cafe Luna has been displaying island art for many years.
Vashon Island Visual Artists, a local artists organization, has begun doing shows once again in person while following those regulations. They were even able to do their annual gallery cruise on Oct. 2.
The biggest gallery on Vashon, the Vashon Center for the Arts Gallery (VCA), has been able to reopen events too. The gallery is able to host auctions and galleries online alongside their in-person shows. At the beginning of the lockdown, the gallery went online, but this fall they were unable to keep it up online. Fortunately, they plan on putting the gallery back online in January of 2021.
The VCA has several upcoming performances, including a radio theater production of “The War of the Worlds” and they recently did an online auction in September. Their in-person events in the gallery were limited to very low capacity, despite the continuing interest in the gallery and viewing art.
“We had around 100 artists and could only bring twenty to thirty people in at a time. We had to keep people moving and have extended hours,” said Lynann Politte, the gallery director at VCA.
Vashon has a remarkable number of galleries and art groups, and all have found unique ways to adapt to the circumstances.
“It has been great to see the amount of support they are getting when a pandemic and a recession” said Politte. Art still manages to be a large part of the unique Vashon culture, despite remarkable adversity.