Information for Orcas Center’s Visual Arts Committee

About the VAC
Statement on Artistic Censorship
Exhibiting as a Featured Artist
Promoting Your Show
Exhibiting as an Orcas Community Artist
Guidelines for Displaying Artwork
The Artist Reception
Commission Structure and Sales Processes
Grants and Funds for Visiting Artists
Current Season – 2024
Previous Seasons

About the VAC

The Mission of the Orcas Center is to encourage and present cultural, artistic, educational, and social opportunities which enhance the quality of island life. The Visual Arts Committee (VAC) offers Orcas Island residents and artists opportunities to:

  • View, exhibit, and purchase artwork
  • Network and socialize with others through receptions and educational programs
  • Develop appreciation and skills in the visual arts through educational programs and themed exhibitions
  • View interesting and varied exhibits from off-island artists

VAC Responsibilities:

  • Maintain an equitable artist selection process for the exhibits in the lobby and Madrona Room of Orcas Center
  • Host receptions for artists and community.
  • Work with Orcas Center staff to include the visual arts and island artists in the various activities, performances, and festivals sponsored by the Center
  • Act as a forum for discussion of topics related to the visual arts as is appropriate in the Center’s ongoing development

How to join the VAC

Nominations for VAC membership can be made by any individual, including oneself by contacting a VAC member or Orcas Center Staff.  Once nominated, an individual should present the VAC and the Internal Affairs Committee (IAC) with a summary of their background in visual arts and a list of their skills and qualifications. The qualifications of a candidate should meet the needs of the VAC. This could include having skills in hanging shows, creating marketing materials, data entry, artist or community outreach, or anything else that could further the mission of supporting and showcasing artists on Orcas.

A qualified nominee will be invited to a VAC monthly meeting, and then be requested to help the committee members install a show. A simple majority vote by VAC members will approve or disapprove the nominee. The VAC will then inform the IAC chair of their decision. Ideal number of VAC members is 8-12.

Expectations within the VAC

Minimum expected commitment is one year, but there is no limit for how long one can volunteer with the VAC. Members should expect to attend meetings approximately once a month, keep up-to-date on emails and correspondence within the group, assist in art shows 8-10/times a year, and direct at least one show. Developing and hosting additional events (workshops, lectures, etc.) are encouraged by VAC members who wish to have more involvement in increasing visual art access, education, and involvement on Orcas Island, but such efforts are not a requirement of membership on the VAC.

If a member does not meet the expectations listed above, the VAC reserves the right to remove a member with a two-thirds majority vote, with the guidance and support of the IAC Committee Chair.

Resigning from the VAC

To resign from the VAC, please give enough notice to allow re-assignment of duties.

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Statement on Artistic Censorship

Free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. Art in any form – literature, theatre, painting, sculpture, music, and dance, are among our most effective instruments of freedom. They are powerful means for making available ideas, feelings, social growth, the envisioning of new possibilities for humankind, solutions to problems, and the improvement of human life.

It is the position of the Trustees of Orcas Center to support the freedom of creative expression as manifested by our Visual Arts committee. The Trustees will also provide a vehicle to hear your voice if you feel as though this expression is out of alignment with Orcas Center’s mission. You may express your concern directly to the Executive Director or to any Board member who will then bring it to the entire Board of Trustees for discussion.

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Exhibiting as a Featured Artist

  • Artists must submit a digital portfolio, artistic resume and/or statement to the VAC for consideration in being a featured artist. You can submit your work by emailing this information to Please note: shows are planned 6-18 months in advance, so you may not receive a response right away.
  • Artists must arrange for transport of all artwork to and from Orcas Center.
  • Artwork must be suitable for display including proper support. See Guidelines for displaying artwork.
  • The artist must be able to leave art on display for the duration of the show: approximately 4-6 weeks.
  • Artist must be available for the Opening Night Reception, and will make a presentation, do a demonstration, or give a brief talk of their work and process.
  • Artist must agree to a commission split with Orcas Center: 70% to the artist if they are an Orcas Center member; 60% if they are not a member.
  • Artist understands that the placement of the artwork is at the sole discretion of the VAC.
  • Artist must provide digital photos and a bio or artist statement for promotion purposes no less than six (6) weeks ahead of the show delivery date for the artwork.
  • Artist agrees to self-insure and understands that Orcas Center does not carry insurance for artwork.
  • Because the Madrona room is rented for meetings and programs, it may be closed to the public from time to time, please check with Orcas Center for current hours so as not to disappoint visiting friends and family.

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Promoting Your Show

Upon receiving assets (images and copy) from the artist, the Art Opening will be promoted in the following ways:
The VAC will create and distribute show posters upon receiving digital assets from the artist.
The VAC will create and distribute press releases to all relevant media outlets.
The Orcas Center will post the Art Opening on their website, Facebook page, and community calendars.
The Art Opening will be listed in the weekly Orcas Center digital newsletter and monthly paper newsletter.
The Art Opening will be displayed on the Orcas Center marquee.

The Artist(s) are also encouraged to promote their shows through any methods they choose. Keep in mind that the sooner that the VAC and Orcas Center receives assets (images and copy) from the artist, the more time they will have to promote the show and build an audience.

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Exhibiting as an Orcas Community Artist

Community shows are open to all island artists, beginning and experienced alike. It’s purpose it to showcase island art and celebrate the creativity of our neighbors! To exhibit in a community show, an artist needs to come on the delivery day (listed in the Current calendar) with their artwork ready for display.

Delivery days are typically the Wednesday before the Artist Reception. On the delivery day, from approximately 10am-12pm, the artist will fill out two labels including title, artist name, the medium and the price, (or denoted NFS). One label will be attached to the artwork, the second will be given to the committee. The artist will also fill out an Artist Agreement and Sales Information Sheet if she or he does not already have one on file.

Artist understands that the placement of the artwork is at the sole discretion of the VAC.

Recent work is encouraged. Artwork which has been shown at Orcas Center within the last two years is discouraged. Artwork for sale is also encouraged, but not required.

At pickup, (the same day as delivery of the next show) Artists must sign out for each work of art that was exhibited. If the artist cannot do that she/he must assign a designate to pick up their art work.

Artists are urged to contribute hors d’oeuvres for the Artist Reception which is usually the first Friday of the month, but subject to change depending on scheduling and holidays.

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Guidelines for Displaying Artwork

Artwork must be presentable for display including proper support:

  • 2-D art must be clean and hangable, preferably with hardware and wire attached (no fishing line or saw-tooth hangers)
  • 3-D art must be ready for display with its own support or able to use Orcas Center’s pedestals as available

Placement of the artwork and possible rearrangement is at the discretion of the Show Director or designated other.

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Artist Reception

There will be a reception for each exhibit at Orcas Center. Receptions are generally held the Friday after the Wednesday Delivery Day, but subject to change depending on scheduling and holidays. All artists are encouraged to attend the reception and bring finger food and appetizers to share.  The VAC will provide punch and wine may be for sale. The reception runs 5:30pm-7pm. Featured artists will be asked to give a brief talk about their work. Usually talks begin around 6pm, lasting approximately 15-20 minutes.

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Commission Structure and Sales Processes

Traditional galleries offer an approximate 50% commission to artists that they display. Considering that the Orcas Center is not a traditional gallery, yet still gets a fair amount of foot traffic from events and classes, commission is structured at 70% to the artist if they are an Orcas Center member; 60% if they are not a member. This fee covers hanging and display, wear and tear on the panels, staff availability during posted hours, promotion of the artist, art event costs, coordination of sales with patrons, sale processing fees, and general operations of Orcas Center.

If a patron is interested in a particular piece, they will coordinate with the Orcas Center box-office to complete the sale and arrange pick-up of the piece – usually after the show has closed. If the patron is not local to the area and needs to take the piece with them at the time of the sale, Orcas Center will close out the sale promptly and may reach out to the artist to find another piece to fill the spot on the wall. Orcas Center will not ship art pieces to patrons.

Sale price for all submitted art shall include 8.4% or the current combined San Juan County / Washington State tax rate. Sales tax will be deducted from the proceeds prior to the artist / Orcas Center division of the earnings. Orcas Center assumes the responsibility for the payment of the tax to the appropriate agencies.

A check or payment, less commission and fees, will be issued by Orcas Center to the artist no later than 30 days after the show closes. Artist’s Social Security number is required by law to be on file with Orcas Center when money is collected on behalf of an Independent Contractor. Orcas Center is required to file with the IRS if the artist’s yearly sales total is $600 or more. The artist is responsible for paying any taxes on income earned from commission.

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Grants and Funds for Visiting Artists

There currently are no dedicated grants or funding for visiting artists available through the VAC. The VAC has a limited budget with which to meet it’s yearly funding needs. Should an off-island artist wish to display their work through the VAC, they are responsible for all accommodations and travel expenses in addition to the secure transport of their artwork. Artists are welcome to seek grants and funding on their own to defray their expenses.

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For more information about the VAC, exhibits, art openings, and how to display your work, please contact the VAC at

If you would like to purchase a piece of art, please contact Orcas Center at: or by calling 360-376-2281 x100. If there is an online gallery, you can purchase through the show’s event page on:

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Current Season – 2024

Lobby and Madrona Room: Visual Arts Committee Show
Reception: January 19, 5:30-7pm
Show Ends: February 22

Lobby Featured Artist – Avi Shmueli
Madrona Room
Community Show: Landscapes
Delivery: February 28, 10:15am-12pm
Reception: March 1, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: March 27, 10:15am-12pm
Show Contacts: Jules Summers, and Julie Rusby

Lobby and Madrona Room: Children of the Setting Sun
March 29th, 5:30-7pm
Show Ends: May 1st

Lobby and Madrona Room: A*OK, Art for Orcas Kids and High School Students
Reception: May 3, 5-6:30pm
Show Ends: June 12
Show Contact: Kathleen Youngren

Lobby and Madrona Room: Terry Johnson and Students
Reception: June 14, 5:30-7pm
Show Ends: July 24
Show Contact: Kathleen Youngren

Lobby and Madrona Room: Orcas Studio Tour
Reception: July 26, 5:30-7pm
Show Ends: August 21
Show Contacts: Mary Jane Elgin and Zoe Osenbach

Lobby Featured Artist – Julia Summers
Madrona Room
Community Show: Pets and Animals of Orcas
Delivery: August 21, 10:15am-12pm
Reception: August  23, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: September 18, 10:15am-12pm
Show Contacts: Jules Summers, Carol Ann Anderson, Mary Jane Elgin

Lobby Featured Artist – Robert Dash
Madrona Room
Drawings and Prints
Delivery: September 18, 10:15am-12pm
Reception: September 20, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: October 23, 10:15am-12pm
Show Contacts: Leon Rosenblatt, Carol Ann Anderson

Lobby Featured Artist – Ponch Immel
Madrona Room
Ceramics and Watercolors
Delivery: October 23, 10:15am-12pm
Reception: October 25, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: November 21, 10:15am-12pm
Show Contacts: Mary Jane, Carol Ann Anderson


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Previous Seasons – 2023

Previous Season – 2023

JANUARY – FEBRUARY – Community Show, All are Welcome!
Lobby and Madrona Room: “New Perspectives: Classic and Digital Photography”
January 20th –  March 1st 

MARCH – APRIL – Community Show, All are Welcome!
Lobby and Madrona Room: “Textiles and Fabric Arts”
March 3rd – April 12th

Lobby and Madrona Room: A*OK and High School Students (Student Art Show)
April 14th – May 31st

Lobby and Madrona Room: Faces of Orcas
June 9th –  July 19th

Lobby and Madrona Room: Orcas Studio Tour
July 21st – August 30th

Lobby and Madrona Room: The Art of Recycling
September 1st – October 18th

Lobby and Madrona Room: Made from Nature
October 20th – November 20th

Lobby and Madrona Room: Orcas High School Art Exhibit
November 24th – December 20th

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Previous Seasons – 2022

Previous Season – 2022

Art Unlocked: Pandemic Productions
March 2nd – April 13th

A*OK – Student Art Show
April 15th – May 25th

In the Garden
May 27th – July 27th

Orcas Artist Studio Tour
July 29th – September 28th

Island Bounty (with the San Juan Agricultural Guild)
September 30th – November 16th

Deck the Walls
November 18thDecember 19th

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Previous Seasons – 2021

JULY 30th – SEPTEMBER 25th
Lobby and Madrona Room: The Orcas Artists Studio Tour (TOAST)
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin

SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER (extended due to COVID)
Lobby and Madrona Room: Frank Loudin
Coordinators: Kathy Youngren and Mary Jane Elgin
Reception: August 27th, 5:30-7pm

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Previous Seasons – 2020

No show due to panel reconstruction

FEBRUARY 7th – March 4th
Lobby and Madrona Room: Man-Made
Coordinators: Leon Rosenblatt and Rick Jones

MARCH 6th – April 1st
Lobby: Geoff Shilling
Madrona Room: Community Show (open to Orcas Island Artists, welcoming fiber art inspired pieces)
Coordinators: Janis Mattox and Kathy Youngren

APRIL 3rd – April 29th Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby: Lit Fest – in partnership with OILF
Madrona Room: Community Show (open to Orcas Island Artists, welcoming literary art inspired pieces)
Coordinators: Pat Littlewood and Heidi Lindberg

MAY 1st – June 3rd: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: Orcas Island Students in partnership with AOK
Coordinators: Nina Sahlin

JUNE 3rd – July 1st: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: Garden Theme (title pending)
Coordinators: Nina Sahlin and Vanessa Julian

JULY 3rd – August 5th: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: First Nations
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin and Rick Jones

AUGUST 7th – September 2nd: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: The Orcas Artists Studio Tour (TOAST)
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin and Vanessa Julian

SEPTEMBER 4th – September 30th: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: What a Relief / Sculpture
Coordinators: Peg and Janis Mattox

OCTOBER 2nd – November 4th: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby: Orcas Island Film Festival in coordination with OIFF
Madrona Room: Community Show (open to Orcas Island Artists, welcoming film/digital art inspired pieces)
Coordinators: Joan Fletcher and Heidi Lindberg

NOVEMBER 6th – December 2nd: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: The Art of Learning: Adult Students and their Teachers
Coordinators: Kathy Youngren and Mary Jane Elgin

DECEMBER: Canceled due to COVID-19

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