Swiftwater Gallery, a nonprofit collective of 51 Vashon-Maury Island visual artist members, began in the fall of 2022. Our mission is to provide a professional public marketplace for Island artists who create fine art and fine crafts, in diverse mediums, that demonstrate high quality, originality and excellence. We uphold education as a core value, by offering arts and culture instruction, experiences and opportunities to both members and to the broader Vashon community.
Our story started after Gather, a private gallery hosting the work of many island artists, announced its closure in 2021. Their location in the heart of the Island’s downtown had been a home to venues showcasing local artists for nearly 25 years. Feeling a member cooperative could bring many talented artists together to promote their work and contribute to the community, a group met weekly for five months to make this dream a reality. The result is Swiftwater Gallery. “It all began with a tiny spark of an idea, and here we are with our name in lights! We have a beautiful space in the heart of Vashon, not only for showing and selling art, but for classes, concerts, meetings, parties and anything else we can imagine to celebrate art, community and life on Vashon Maury Island,” said Penny Grist, Swiftwater Gallery President.
Swiftwater Gallery was named in honor of the sx̌ʷəbabš (Lushootseed language), or Swift Water people, the first people of Vashon-Maury Island. The sx̌ʷəbabš are part of the Puyallup Tribe. Our membership acknowledges their presence and offers thanks for use of their ancestral land for our gallery.*
*The Puyallup Language Program was consulted on this statement.