An Open Space Initiative to put Artists to Work and Create Public Art

!Attention! Artists at Work (AAW) is a jobs program led by Open Space for Arts and Community in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. The goal of the program is to hire artists during this challenging economic time.

With your support, Open Space has invested $40,000 and commissioned 60 Vashon artists and artisans to make free public art since Spring 2020. Join the community making an immediate impact in artists lives and a lasting impact on Vashon Island. 

Updates, Deadlines & Important Links:

  • We have received 49 stories as part of the “The Literary Project.” The jury is currently in the review process.
  • “The Mural Project” is officially open to the the public. See “The Mural Project” catalog.


The Mural Project

Distance Dance

The Literary Project

The Need

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, artists and artisans have lost their jobs and income all across the country. Vashon artists face the same economic catastrophe. Artists are losing traditional opportunities for sales, commissions, and artistic fees as well as their day jobs.


An early mock-up of the “mural quilt,” the first of two projects in the !Attention! Artist at Work program. Keep scrolling to see how it turned out!

The US has a strong history of successfully putting artists and artisans back to work during hard times. During the Great Depression, Roosevelt did it through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In the 1970s, CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) offered artists and artisans meaningful work at fair wages. The resulting artwork stands as a testament to the strength and solace art lends during adversity as well as a message from the past. !Attention! Artists at Work is inspired by the successes of these Federal programs.

How it Works

The AAW program is comprised of a series of public arts projects.  Open Space for Arts and Community is fundraising for these projects, and is collaborating with Vashon Island Visual Artists (VIVA) and UMO Ensemble to connect local artists with a project.

Community Benefit

All projects sponsored through AAW are for the public, and designed to be easily accessible to anyone on the Island. Investing in public art now will put food on artists’ tables, create public art for all islanders, and send a message to the future. AAW projects will be free to the public.

Initial Projects

Project 1: Mural Quilt

Art by Odin Lonning. Photo by Michelle Bates.

The first project of this initiative was inspired by large public art murals, as well as the AIDS quilt. Rather than one large painting, the Mural Project is a quilt of paintings, each as one-of-a-kind as our community. The “mural quilt” will consist of about 60 panels from many local artists that are 32 inches square, forming a collage of island art. Over the summer, 21 artists were commissioned to create 45 panels with the theme “Backyard Universe,” which will soon be on display at Open Space for Arts and Community.  Visit “The Mural Project” catalog to see the artists, panels, and to learn more about the project.

Photo by Michelle Bates

Project 2: Distance Dance

Distance Dance performance choreographed by Leah Mann. Photo by Max Sarkowsky.

A drive-by spectacle! This project highlighted dance and awe-inspiring physical performance (at a safe physical distance) through the summer and fall of 2020. Five choreographers worked with dancers to put on a series of pop-up shows around the island this summer.




Project 3: Literary Project

This program’s third project is a Literary Flash Fiction/Prose Poetry Project by Island writers. Writers will individual works of fiction, forming a collection to be presented to the community. The final commissioned writings will be circulated in multiple fashions. These may include local newspaper(s), Voice of Vashon radio, banners in town, projection onto Island buildings, readings, etc. The theme of the project is Close to Home.

Applications for this project are closed. Check back soon for exciting updates!

How to Join the Effort

Are you an artist looking for work? Please click this link.

We’re in search of artists from across disciplines. Funds are only available for artists whose ability to work has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Please fill out this form to learn more.

Are you a Vashon landowner with a publicly visible location for public art? Please click this link.

Do you represent a nonprofit organization or small business that would be interested in volunteering or supporting our efforts? Please reach out to us at

Are you a community member who wants to fund part of this project?

The more donations we receive, the more artists we can hire and the more projects we can afford to undertake. If you are able to donate, we have included a button below that will allow you to donate directly to the !Attention! Artists at Work program. A donation of any size will be used to grow this project to include as many artists as possible in a variety of ways.

Donate Button
Click here to donate today!