Life long Burien resident Maureen Knight waiting as volunteer Catherine Wendland finalizes Knight’s purchase of an original piece of art from local group, Artists United. According to Knight, she and her family have been in the Burien area since 1910 when her grandparents moved here to start a chicken farm.

Vision 2020

By Matt Wendland

Hundreds of people from across King County and western Washington poured into the Burien Community Center Saturday night to take part in Burien Arts Association’s 6th annual Vision 20/20.

Burien Arts Association is considered to be one of the longest running arts organizations in the Puget Sound region, established in the 1960s with the mission of bringing quality arts experiences to the greater Burien community. The group puts on a number of arts-related events each year such as Shakespeare in the Park, the Sing and Sketch, the Highline Classic Jazz Festival and you can find board members and organization volunteers faithfully working away dishing up strawberry shortcake each year at Burien’s Wild Strawberry Festival, an event they had a foundational roll of establishing years ago.

Most recently Burien Arts Association opened their own storefront, the Burien Arts Gallery, at 826 S.W. 152nd Street in Olde Burien. The gallery hosts a variety of rotating shows as well as the Sing n’ Sketch, a free event held on the second Thursday of each month where attendees are given the opportunity to make music, draw, paint and even share their writing with others.

At 6:30pm when the doors to the Burien Community Center opened for 2013’s Vision 20/20, masses flocked into the space as fast as volunteers could welcome them. The event took place in the largest two rooms of the building. In the first room hung nearly 500 8”x8” original pieces created by over 20 local NW artists from around the Puget Sound, as well as a number of larger pieces to be sold in a silent auction. In the second room, the Seahurst Banquet Hall, sat a jazz trio and a spread of food donated by independent Burien business such as Maven Mercantile, The Greek House and Sidestreet Kitchen and Bar, wine from Proletariat Wine Company in Walla Walla, and cold brewed coffee from newly established local coffee company, Pier Coffee.

During the first part of the event, between 6:30pm and just before 8pm, attendees had the opportunity browse the art on display and speak with many of the artists. Just before 8pm a bell was rung signaling the next portion of the night. At this point attendees were allowed to snatch the art they had been eyeing throughout the night. As has been true in previous years, most grabbed one while some secured as many pieces as they could carry. Each of the 8”x8” pieces are priced at $40, with $20 returning to the artist and $20 donated to Burien Arts Association.

The remainder of the event was largely a time for socializing while there was also a raffle and a silent auction for larger pieces of original art.

According to Burien Arts Association’s President John Unbehend, this year’s event was around 50% larger than the 2012 event in attendance.

"We now have participation not only from the local community and the extended Highline community, but now we’re getting folks who are coming from Seattle all the way down to south of Tacoma. The interest is growing and this year we’ve had a phenomenal response… Our goal is to bring affordable art to the community and supporting local artists while also supporting Burien Arts. We’re working together and making this thing happen. We have great volunteers and sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without everyone.“

The fundraising goals set for the event was to raise around $3,000 to cover the cost of remodeling the new Burien Arts Gallery in Olde Burien and additional funds to support Burien Arts Association's 2014 programs such as Shakespeare in the Park and the Highline Area Jazz Festival. With over 300 8”x8” pieces being sold, donations made at the door and for the raffle, and a number of pieces selling in the silent auction for between $200 and $700, Burien Arts Association could have raised in the upwards of $10,000 and sent another $8,000 towards artists from around the Puget Sound. These numbers are estimates as Burien Arts Association did not release any official numbers immediately following the event.

To learn more about Burien Arts Association, the Burien Arts Gallery in Olde Burien or any of the group’s 2014 events, visit the Burien Arts Association website at "www.burienarts.org” or visit the Burien Arts Gallery at 826 S.W. 152nd Street between noon and 7pm on Wednesdays through Saturdays and between noon and 5pm on Sundays.

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