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 !Attention! Artists at Work.

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


  • “The Mural Project” is officially opening to the public Saturday, October 24th. Visit the event page.
  • See “The Mural Project” catalog. 
  • Pop-up Distance Dance performances continue through the month. Look for them around Vashon!
  • A third project geared towards writers, poets, and essayists, is set on track for this winter. More details soon!

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.


A mock-up of the “mural quilt,” the first of two projects in the !Attention! Artist at Work program

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

Mural Quilt

Future “mural quilt” location on front of Open Space building

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. 

Example of one of the 45 panels created for the Mural Project. Art by Odin Lonning
Art by Carolina Silva.
Art by Pedro Alvarez

Distance Dance

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

A drive-by spectacle! This project highlights dance and awe-inspiring physical performance (at a safe physical distance). Five choreographers have been working work with dancers to put on a series of pop-up shows around the island this summer. Look for these shows around Vashon!

Next steps…

The third project for !Attention! Artists at Work is planned for this winter and will focus on employing writers, poets, and essayists. The project will be coordinated in partnership with Vashon artist and poet Sharon Shaver. Check back soon for 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!