For the past fourteen years Artstra has occupied a good portion of my life. Now as I transition from the role of board chair and back to my studio, I want to express how thankful I am to have been a part of this collaborative effort. I am grateful for everyone who keeps the faith that art is important (and that sharing art is even more important). We are all so lucky to be part of a community that welcomes new ideas and embraces change.

Over these years I’ve had the privilege of working with really cool and dedicated people who have become lifelong friends. What’s most gratifying is to see that the arts scene is growing and changing and being valued for its economic and cultural contribution to our community.

The origin of Artstra dates back to 2009 when ideas began to percolate at a monthly salon called Art Conversations, hosted by North Bank Artists Gallery. The arts scene was quite small and the primary need we identified was for arts spaces: places for exhibitions, work studios, and performances. That need persists to this day.

The short tenure of VOCA showed that working spaces off the beaten track are needed and can do some amazing things. Over the last ten years I have been a part of two arts and culture summits (Creating a Voice in 2012, and Creating Space for the Arts in 2017), and have helped launch programs like Clark County Open StudiosPoetry Moves, and Arts Alive!.

While I am retiring from the Artstra board, I will continue as a volunteer and watch with eager anticipation as the organization grows and evolves.

— Karen

View Karen’s website here.