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


Arts and community are not cancelled. In fact, we believe that they are the most powerful tools at our disposal. That is why Open Space is teaming up with fellow Vashon Island organizations to create public art by funding local artists.

Last week, US weekly jobless claims hit 2.4 million, marking the ninth straight week with jobless claims topping at least 2 million. 38.6 million people have filed for unemployment during the pandemic—greater than the combined population of 21 states. All over the country, artists and artisans are losing their jobs and income. Vashon artists face the same economic catastrophe. Artists are losing traditional opportunities for sales, commissions, and artistic fees as well as their day jobs.

Your support of !Attention! Artists at Work will make an immediate impact in artists lives and a lasting impact on the community.

What is !Attention! Artists at Work?

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.

Open Space for Arts and Community is teaming up with Vashon Island Visual Artists (VIVA) and UMO Ensemble to engage islanders with meaningful public art across disciplines. The goal for this project is to secure funding for public art projects to provide local artists and artisans with work during the COVID-19 shutdown and the economic crisis that threatens to last well beyond the actual shutdown. Investing in public art now will put food on artists’ tables, create public art for all islanders, and send a message to the future. The scope of this initiative is to commission artists from a variety of disciplines to create an interdisciplinary network of projects and then display/install those projects throughout the island. Our next goals moving forward are to:

  • Use the initial project at Open Space to test the concept and improve the process moving forward.
  • Offer artists and artisans meaningful work at fair wages.
  • Add to the public art of Vashon.
  • Speak to this moment of crisis and hopes for a better tomorrow.
  • Pay artisans and craftspeople to construct supporting elements needed for each art project.

Initial Project-A Mural at Open Space

Our vision for the first project of this program is to create a mural at Open Space. The “mural quilt” will consist of about 60 panels from many local artists that are 32 inches by 32 inches each, forming a collage of island art.

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 a panel, or part of this project?

If you are able to donate, we have included levels below to make it easier to visualize the power of your gift. However, a donation of any size will be used to grow this project to include as many artists as possible in a variety of ways.

$25 – A blank panel for an artist to paint
$50 – Installation of a panel
$100 – Employ artisans and carpenters to create a mural structure to attach panels
$250 – Sponsor half of a completed panel
$500 – Sponsor a full panel on our first mural


Big Picture: Vashon as a Gallery

The largest overview of this project extends well beyond the current health crisis and its economic impact. The first mural location is planned for Open Space. Our priority is to put artists to work on a project at this first site as soon as possible.  However, our longer-term goal is to grow this site into a series of sites across the island, featuring performances and multimedia displays. While our first focus is a “mural quilt,” we hope to create a multimedia “arts trail” for the enjoyment of islanders and off-islanders alike by stringing these locations together.

Click here to fund an artist, their supplies, or a panel!