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
Calendar of Recurring Themes
Current Season – 2021
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 of off-island artists

VAC Responsibilities:

  • Maintain an equitable artist selection process for the exhibits in the lobby and Madrona Room of Orcas Center
  • Host monthly 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

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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 photos, a digital portfolio, or actual work to the VAC for consideration in being a featured artist. (Please note: shows are planned 6-18 months in advance.)
  • 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 one month.
  • Artist should be available for the Opening Night Reception, and is encouraged to make a presentation or give a brief talk.
  • 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 received 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 make it available for purchase. 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 (usually the first Friday of the month). On the delivery day, from 10:30am-12:30pm, 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.

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 each month for the featured artist, and community show, (as applicable, denoted in the Current calendar). Receptions are generally held the first Friday of the month, 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 will 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 15minutes.

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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 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 out of the local area.

Sale price for all submitted art shall include 8.1% 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, will be issued by Orcas Center to the artist no later than 30 days after payment is received from Buyer. 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 a 1099 form 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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Calendar of Recurring Themes

While the VAC changes the theme each month, there are a few months that remain consistent. These are listed below:

January: VAC members show
 In coordination with Orcas Island Lit Fest
 Student Art Show in coordination with A-OK
July: First Nations
August: Orcas Artist Studio Tour
October: In coordination with the Orcas Island Film Festival
The Art of Learning: Adult Teachers and Their Students

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For more information about the VAC, exhibits, art openings, and how to display your work, please contact either Heidi Lindberg (, (360) 376-4528) or Vanessa Julian (, (541) 285-7552).
If you would like to purchase a piece of art, please contact the Orcas Center box office at:

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Current Season – 2021

We are so excited to be welcoming art lovers back to Orcas Center after our COVID-19 closure! Below are the current events we have planned so far, for the remainder of 2021:

Lobby and Madrona Room: The Orcas Artists Studio Tour (TOAST)
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin
Delivery: July 28th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: July 30th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: September 25th, 10:30am-12:30pm

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

Lobby and Madrona Room: Man-Made
Coordinators: Leon Rosenblatt and Rick Jones
Delivery: February 5th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: February 7th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: March 4th, 10:30am-12:30pm

Lobby: Geoff Shilling
Madrona Room: Community Show (open to Orcas Island Artists, welcoming fiber art inspired pieces)
Coordinators: Janis Mattox and Kathy Youngren
Delivery: March 4th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: March 6th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: April 1st, 10:30am-12:30pm

APRIL: 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
Delivery: April 1st, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: April 3rd, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: April 29th, 10:30am-12:30pm

MAY: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: Orcas Island Students in partnership with AOK
Coordinators: Nina Sahlin
Delivery: April 29th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: May 1st, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: June 3rd, 10:30am-12:30pm

JUNE: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: Garden Theme (title pending)
Coordinators: Nina Sahlin and Vanessa Julian
Delivery: June 3rd, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: June 5th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: July 1st, 10:30am-12:30pm

JULY: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: First Nations
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin and Rick Jones
Delivery: July 1, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: July 3rd?, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: August 5th, 10:30am-12:30pm

AUGUST: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: The Orcas Artists Studio Tour (TOAST)
Coordinators: Mary Jane Elgin and Vanessa Julian
Delivery: August 5th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: August 7th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: September 2nd, 10:30am-12:30pm

SEPTEMBER: Canceled due to COVID-19
Lobby and Madrona Room: What a Relief / Sculpture
Coordinators: Peg and Janis Mattox
Delivery: September 2nd, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: September 4th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: September 30th, 10:30am-12:30pm

OCTOBER: 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
Delivery: September 30th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: October 2nd, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: November 4th, 10:30am-12:30pm

NOVEMBER: 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
Delivery: November  4th, 10:30am-12:30pm
Reception: November 6th, 5:30-7pm
Pickup: December 2nd, 10:30am-12:30pm

DECEMBER: Canceled due to COVID-19

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Previous Season – 2019

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