VALA Art Cemter (Venues for Artists in the Local Area) has been a prominent fixture on the Eastside since 2010, residing in Redmond Town Center.
For the past eight years, VALA’s mission has been to connect artists to artists, artists to the community and the community to art. However, the frequent changes in location throughout Redmond Town Center posed challenges, among others.
VALA made a large transition last July. The nonprofit moved from Redmond to Kirkland and changed its name from VALA Arts Center to VALA Arts.
The new location will better suit the needs of the art center. The Kirkland location is larger and includes a Sunshine Room with artist studios; the Garden Room is a multi-functional space available for rent and the Art Bar is a space for drop-in art making and a contemporary art gallery.
“The new space allows for better partnerships in the community. We’ll be a few doors down from Ryan James Fine Arts and immediate neighbors include a winery,” Stephane Boss, VALA Eastside’s president, said in a release.
Samantha Areliz, VALA’s executive director, said the new location will allow the organization to better connect with the community, since it’s in a permanent and more central location.
VALA Arts officially opened its new doors Oct. 11, with its debut exhibit “Gatesville.” Led by Zachary Burns, and a team of five other photographers, the exhibit explores what longtime residents remember and admire most about the Eastside’s past.
Having grown up in Redmond, Burns said it was fascinating to learn how the Eastside has changed throughout the decades.
“Getting to hear about what Redmond was like before Microsoft was really interesting,” he said. “I didn’t realize the Microsoft campus used to be pastures and farmland.”