Sunday, March 22, 2009
Vashon Island's Blue Heron Art Center Inspires
Using resources available on hand is a lesson that small arts organizations and larger communities can possibly learn from Vashon Island's Blue Heron Art Center. The center which once served as a meeting hall for a local chapter of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, provided a cozy and suitably intimate setting for a special performance of "From The Heart", a one-woman show by award-winning playwright Jude Narita.
I caught the ferry to Vashon while a passenger in an automobile driven by my long-time and talented theater buddy Aya Hashiguchi Clark. Clark may be known to many enthusiastic fans of Seattle and South Sound community theater for numerous appearances in front of audiences as an actress and behind the curtain as a director and producer.
Ms. Clark has also written occasional theater reviews for a number of local publications and has started her own blog. I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Clark since looking her up in the phone book after enjoying one of her earlier journalistic efforts while reading a regional shopper many years ago.
We also shared membership in the same generational tier (Sansei) third-generation Americans of Japanese ancestry all of whose immigrant grandparents for the most part arrived in the United States in the early 1900's. Additonally, we share the sad fact people on both our mother's and father's side were forced into US government internment camps during World War II. As the early communities were essentially blown to bits physically and emotionally during this period of forcible dispursement, it's become highly unusual outside of a handful of communities in the State of California for both of us to ever run across, much less into another Japanese-American at all.
While we were on the island just happened to learn Ms. Narita's local hosts were none other than the Shiosaki's, another local family of Japanese-American heritage of who were formerly close neighbors of Clark when she was a girl and residing in Renton, WA at the southern tip of Lake Washington. The world is small indeed!