Burien Arts To Close “Little Blue House” Gallery, “Reposition” Itself

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Burien Arts (BA) has been part of the area arts scene, community activities and has “lived” in the “Little Blue House” Art Gallery in Dottie Harper Park for nearly 50 years, since the early 1960s.

Sadly, its time in that house is reaching its end, as it will be closing shop the end of March.

According to a press release:

“The model the founders developed served the community and the organization well for many years. Changes in demographics, growth / development in the city and relocation of the key facilities that have drastically reduced gallery traffic has led us to examine how Burien Arts can better serve the community.”

“Because of all the changes that have and are taking place in Burien, the BA Board of Trustees is using this as an opportunity to really reexamine our role in the community,” said John Unbehend, President of the BA Board. “The repositioning will be both a physical (meaning we’ll eventually be moving to a more visible / accessible location) and a directional one (how we bring a sustainable set of visual arts / services to Burien).”

Some of Burien Arts past activities have included:

  • Burien Art Gallery
  • High School Art exhibitions
  • Artist United partnership
  • Strawberry Festival
  • Shakespeare-in-the-Park
  • Numerous musical events

Its current mission statement is as follows:

The Burien Arts Association Mission is to engage, enrich and entertain all the communities, generations and visitors to the Burien / greater Highline region through creative and innovative arts programming.

The press release goes on to say:

We anticipate that one out growth of the repositioning will be expanding to include arts educational and enrichment programs that compliment those offered by the area schools and the city of Burien.

The questions we have to ask the community and answer for the organization are the fundamental ones that journalist use when they develop a story:

  • Who? Who are people we are serving in the Burien / Highline area (artistic, scholastic, ethnic and age groups in our area)?
  • What? What are the artistic (visual, performing, literary) activities that the community wants and will support to allow BA to be a sustainable force in our area.
  • Where? Where should BA be physically located to be accessible to the greatest number of people:
    • foot traffic, drop-ins and event participants for a new gallery
    • participation in community events (festivals, farmers market, Burien Days)
    • accessibility for people with disabilities
    • Students (elementary, middle school, high school and college).
  • When? When is now! With the new town center, building projects, new restaurants and relocation of the Strawberry Festival we have to get a grip on our future now.
  • How? How do we find a new gallery facility that meets the community needs? How to we provide a set of products (art shows, Shakespeare, poetry / literary experiences, educational opportunities) the community will eagerly provide support – attendance, participation and financial.

The first step will be to gather as much input from the community members as we can. This will take the form of:

  • Discussions with art groups and individual artist in the community to learn how they want to participate.
  • The individuals that we serve in the community through our web site, email [email protected] and public meetings.
  • Working with the merchants and Discover Burien to find how we can best support one another.
  • Join in close discussions with the City of Burien (parks and rec., council, city management) to make sure we’re clear on how we can support and reinforce their activities in the arts so that BA is not duplicating their fine efforts.

This data will provide the foundation for decisions on how we reposition ourselves to better serve the Burien / Highline community!

– John Unbehend for the Burien Arts Board of Trustees

The current show at the Burien Arts Gallery is “Page Turner: Contemporary Artist Books,” a free exhibit of handmade artists books, which continues through March 19.

Hours are Thursday-Friday Noon – 5 pm, Saturday 11 am – 5 pm and Sunday 11 am-4 pm, and the gallery is located at 421 SW 146th Street.

This could be your last chance to set foot in this historic, quaint “Little Blue House,” as we’re not yet sure of what the future holds for it.

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One Response to “Burien Arts To Close “Little Blue House” Gallery, “Reposition” Itself”
  1. Eric says:

    While it is sad to see Burien Arts leave its “little blue house,” that it has been in for a number of years, it appears Burien Arts is ready to move forward in many wonderful ways. I for one think the little blue house would make a great location for Burien Little Theatre’s offices. It would replace space being taken away from Burien Little Theatre, and provide a great location near the theater. it would allow some good to come to one local non-profit from the growth of another non-profit. it is a win-win.

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