We just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how thankful we are for your continued support and involvement at Orcas Center! There have been many highs and lows throughout the years, but Orcas Center has always stood strong, and we’re truly thankful to those who have remained dedicated to the goals and dreams of our founders. Read below for thoughts from members of our community during this time of giving thanks. If you have a particular thought or memory to share of Orcas Center let us know!
Thanks for being part of our community – Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Steve Alboucq, Rocky Horror 2019

Thanksgiving is a time to remember and embrace those who enrich our lives. I’m thankful for many things in my life, including this opportunity to preserve Orcas Center’s mission. I couldn’t do it alone, and I am very thankful to be surrounded by many people who make this organization an integral part of our island community.

I’m thankful for the amazing staff I get to work with, the committed volunteers who make things run smoothly, the dedicated board and committee members who help move our mission forward, the teachers who skillfully share their knowledge, the generous donors who help keep the doors open and lights on, the patrons who support our events and classes, and the incredibly talented performers and artists both near and far who bring our community together in a shared love of the arts.
I am thankful for you all, and wish you the best during this holiday season! Happy Thanksgiving!
– Dimitri Stankevich, Executive Director

Flyer for the Grand Opening of The Orcas Center – February 1986

We need to be most grateful to the pioneers and forward-thinking people who were the dreamers (mainly Margaret Exton) and doers who brought Orcas Center from an idea to actuality. I moved here before it was built and I’ve been aware of all the challenges and triumphs that made the Center what it is today. It’s now being used as it was meant to be and brings the community together in all ways—artistically, creatively, socially, educationally, and entertainingly providing the community a true meeting place for the free exchange of ideas and talents. It’s become a place that welcomes all people and all abilities.

– Heidi J. Lindberg, VAC Committee Member

A while back on one of the surveys people were conducting about Orcas Center, I was asked to name my three favorite events; they wound up being – The Miró Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle, and all the Chamber Music Festivals – words cannot say NT Live’s Frankenstein – challenges everything you ever associated with that name Jim Bredouw’s A Christmas Carol, in all its iterations – if you listen closely, you can hear in the music the laughter of Funhouse-children-to-be.

Of course, three is cruelly difficult (you can see I’m already fudging with that list). We just completed the migration to Orcas Center’s fourth ticketing system, and I found out I’ve been attending events an average 3-1/4 times a month during the last 7 years. Laughed with the Enchanted Forests, One Man, Two Guvnors, Spamalot, Mamma Mia!, The Lost Virginity Tour, The Addams Family, Little Shop of Horrors. Delighted by Across the Universe, David Lindley, Martin Lund’s One World Music, the Island Inspiration All-Stars, Beauty & the Beast, Mariachi Huenachi, Grand Derangement, the Island Aerial Acrobats, Oliver!, Battlefield Band, Portland Taiko, Paris & Friends, the Olga Symphony. Touched by La Cage aux Folles, the Cashore Marionettes, Love Letters Beyond the Veil, Billy Elliot, The Life of Galileo, DJ Spooky (who opposed the Iraq war when the war drums were loudest, right here on our stage), the Mozart Requiem, the Bach B Minor Mass, Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, The Butterfly Effect, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Miracle Worker, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, True West, Hand to God, Medea, Bluebeard’s Castle, War Horse, Don’t Call It a Riot, Mary’s Wedding, The Laramie Project (about the murder of Matthew Shepard), To Kill a Mockingbird. The art hanging on my walls because they first were on the walls at Orcas Center – by Frank Loudin, Heidi Lindberg, Sue Watkin. And stuff I’m forgetting, or regrettably never saw, that you find unforgettable – that’s the real magic.
Grateful for the people who built Orcas Center. Grateful for the people who kept and keep the doors open, even in times like 2008. Grateful that for the last 13 years Orcas Center could use the few skills I do have. Grateful for the people who come after me. And especially grateful for a place to do the Time Warp again. After all, it’s just a jump to the left. Oh, and a step to the right. (…and nothing, will ever be the same.) – Annie Moss Moore, Staff Emeritus

Colleen Smith as Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, 2019, photo by Steve Alboucq

The fabric of our island community is more vibrant and full of color because of Orcas Center. It’s a place to support the arts for all ages, broaden your perspective and rejoice in new friendships. When you step through the door of Orcas Center, you are entering a world where anything is possible and magic is in the air.

I’m thankful for having a space to explore what I am capable of as a performer and celebrate the incredible talent of my fellow islanders. – Colleen Smith

Leon Rosenblatt and his artwork

I’m proud to be part of a community that celebrates the arts through support for the Orcas Center. Whether attending a stunning theater performance, or just seeing friends and neighbors at the monthly art openings, I’ve come to realize what a crucial role the Center plays in promoting the creative side of living on our unique island….connecting people and the arts is a rare and precious gift to all of us. Thanks Orcas Center! – Leon Rosenblatt, VAC Committee Member

I love how the Center is so inclusive of the community. All walks of life are welcome. – Dan Burke, Orcas Center Board Member

Through the Surface, 2019

For space to move, educate, and inspire the imagination; for the ability to create, entertain, and nourish the soul; for an organization which brings us all together in this beautiful, diverse, imperfect community and therefore somehow gives us permission to be. That’s what I’m thankful for.
– Stephanie Moss, Dance Instructor

Oliver Groenewald in Martin Lund’s Jazz Festival 2019; Photo by Ben Luna

Artists, creatives, promoters, volunteers, folks on and off the stage… all united! The Orcas Center is a treasure for all of us.
I’m thankful every time I watch people on stage evolving in their roles as well as young talents creating lifetime memories with their first moments on stage. I’m thankful for the possibility to perform myself in the professional setting that the Orcas Center provides. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to serve on the board and participate in the continued growth of this amazing community. – Oliver Groenewald, Orcas Center Board Member

Salish Blanket Exhibit, 2019

I am so thankful for the Community minded staff that is now managing Orcas Center! Their generosity of spirit is helping revitalize the Orcas Center to better serve everyone in our Island Community! I am also very thankful to be a part of our great VAC Committee which goes above and beyond to create innovative art shows for the Center month after month after month!! – Mary Jane Elgin, VAC Committee Member

I am thankful that we have Orcas Center as a venue for us to hear great live music from professionals across the country and beyond, and as a place for us to perform some music ourselves. – Anita

AOK Student Show

I am especially thankful that the Center is providing so many more opportunities for kids and young families. I love the new energy and new faces I am seeing! – Kathleen Youngren, VAC Committee Member

I am extremely grateful to the Orcas Island Community that supports the Center in so many ways — not only through funding, but also through the incredible work of our volunteers both behind the scene and on the stage! It’s such a thrill to watch a amazing locally produced performances — the talent here on the Island is awesome! What a treat for us all! – Barbara Bentley, Orcas Center Board Member

“Don’t Call it a Riot”, 2019

Woman in the Woods Productions is so happy to have Orcas Center as the home for all our productions. A beautiful performance hall, a professional staff, and cutting-edge technology- The likes of which you seldom find in a small community like ours. – Michell (Mitch) Marshall, President, Woman in the Woods Productions

Orcas Choral Society

How lucky are we! Orcas Center is a treasure on our magnificent island. A performance space, a learning space, a yoga space, an art space and much more. A special venue for the community that brings children and adults together to nurture us all. Thanks to all who have contributed to the ongoing successes of Orcas Center. I’ve had the privilege of being part of Orcas Center since I arrived on Orcas Island and am truly thankful. – Cynthia Abolin, Orcas Center Board Member

Whale of a Show!

I’m thankful to offer children the opportunity to sing, dance, play a musical instrument, and express themselves creatively and with confidence on the Orcas Center stage! – Didier Gincig (Whale of a Show and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”)

Some of the younger generation transfixed by an inspiring performance at the Center which appears to have drawn their devoted attention.

Living on Orcas Island offers us a special lifestyle that is enhanced by having the Orcas Center at our fingertips as a welcoming community gathering place that offers a wide variety of creative activities, including concerts, performances, art and classes for both adults and children. Back in the Fall of 1995 we formed the Dance Committee at Orcas Center in response to community interest in the visual and performing arts, and our local dancers have since continued to share their impressive talents, choreography and diversity of movement with community audiences. – Pat Littlewood, VAC Committee Member

Dance Recital!

I’m grateful for Orcas Center providing my daughters and me opportunities to tap into our artistic sensibilities and strut our stuff on stage. It’s especially touching to see my daughters grace the stage for the very first time via their involvement in Stephanie Moss’ Creative Movement dance class. It doesn’t get much better than preschoolers and toddlers in tutus!

Thanks to Orcas Center we have beautiful spaces to showcase the amazing talent and personalities of this fantastic, zany community we call Home. – Nicole Matisse, Membership Director

Photo by Emily Abdon; Christmas Carol 2017

The doctor says to the performer, “What purpose is your profession? Dancing and prancing around like a fool? Reciting words…for what need? In my work, I save lives.” The performer simply replies, “But, good doctor, what are you saving them for?
The arts, no matter what form, are what brings joy into the nooks and crannies of our lives. Whether you want to learn skills, perform, exhibit, or enjoy watching others find their own creative voices, Orcas Center creates the space to collaborate and explore the imagination. I thought I had left my puppetry days behind me, yet here…in this place…I’m drawn to possibilities once more.
I am thankful for the people who came before us that created such a solid foundation, for the staff, board and committee members, volunteers, teachers, and patrons who support our efforts and challenge us to be better, and for the community that honors tradition while welcoming inventive new ideas. It is incredible to find such a group of dedicated and talented individuals on an island paradise, and for that, I am truly thankful. – Bethany Marie, Director of Miscellaneous Things