We seek to connect artists to each other and the community, to support the needs of our members personally and artistically, to empower creativity through education and exhibition, and to preserve the artistic culture fundamental to our Island community.
VIVA started life as the Vashon Potter’s Tour in the late 1970s when a cadre of potters joined together to show work in their studios in an annual tour. Sitting down, they devised a map to direct visitors to their studios, advertised the show, opened their doors and welcomed Islanders and off-Islanders alike. The Potters Tour grew over the 1980s and by 1992 had morphed in the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour.
Over time various artists kept the Potters Tour and the Studio tour on track and moving forward: Janice Mallman, Mary Hodgins, Janice Wall and Liz Lewis. The Tour became a semi-annual event featuring and Holiday Tour in December and Spring Tour in May. 25 to 40+ studios have opened their doors each Tour to visitors over the years. Artists organizers who have kept the Tour alive are also master artists- Janice Mallman, was a killer potter, moved into creating stunning jewelry, and has recently focused her keen eye on paper imagery as she now moves also into printmaking. On the excellence level, Penny Grist hits the top of the artistic evolution list. In the ‘70’s she was a master jeweler but, in an incredible career, has done wood sculptures, altar boxes, mosaics and paintings. Brian Fisher simply can’t stop experimenting and moving forward with his monoprints and steel garden art while veteran potters Liz Lewis, Mary Hosick and Irene Otis are constantly on the lookout for new shapes, techniques, colors and clays. And one of the “mothers” of Studio Tour, Sharon Munger now works both as a painter and in clay while having shepherded Barnworks through its 30 years.- Sharon has been the Gertrude Stein of Vashon with Barnworks being the first “salon” to invite artists, artistic appreciation and conversation.
Vashon Island Art Studio Tour, for all its careful organization, remained a loose configuration of studios until May 2015 when the core organizers elected to apply for 5013 c3 non-profit status. Once granted by the IRS, Tour formed a Board of Directors and broadened its scope to fund Vashon High School scholarships to emerging artists and looked to possible educational programs. In February 2018, the Board reached the decision to change the name to Vashon Island Visual Artists (VIVA) and expand the scope and mission statement to include all Vashon visual artists and supporters.
Since that momentous change in February, VIVA has hosted general meeting, May Studio Tour, an all member picnic, the June VIVA exhibit at The Hardware Store and Gather, a Strawberry Festival booth and fundraiser, and is looking forward to the Holiday Studio Tour. VIVA is a sponsor of “Festival 25- Catch Us While You Can!”
VIVA meeting where founder and member visions for the organization are shared.