Jason Dorsey, Sunnyshore Studio’s Artistic Director, has been elected to be the president of the Camano Arts Association (CAA) for the 2017-2018 year.

He is taking the baton from Judith Seegert who has served the Association ably the past year and is transitioning to being the co-leader of the Annual Studio Tour.

Judy Seegert

Sunnyshore Studio caught up with Jason to learn more of his hopes and dreams for this coming year.

Sunnyshore Studio: Jason you’re relatively new to CAA. Tell us what you’ve discovered about the organization.

Jason: CAA is a grassroots art organization that has incredibly gifted and passionate members. Everyone is committed to making Camano one of the top cultural regions for the fine arts in the Northwest. It was started by a handful of artist-cultural entrepreneur, Jack Gunter and Karla Matzke to name a few, who collaborated to create an annual studio tour on the Island. Their dream was to make Camano famous for fine art, just like Snohomish is the place to go for antiques.

After a few years the Studio Tour really took off. After a few years a 501c3 was created called the Camano Arts Association. CAA now has close to 100 members and counting!

Sunnyshore Studio: What excites you most about leading CAA?

Jason: First, I’m thrilled to collaborate with the incredibly gifted and passionate artists and patrons of the arts that make up this organization. When our family moved to Camano is 1969 my dad was one of the pioneer artists, maybe the only artist on the Island at that time. Now there is a hole hosts of artists and friends of the art who are putting their shoulder to the plow to make our vision a reality!

Second, I just enjoy the CAA board team. Each member brings so much experience and talent to the table: Mary Pilkington, Beckie Tiland, Kathy Edelman Hutchinson, Michelle Rushworth, Vicky Ringen, Chris Tuohy, Kate Riley, John Ebner, April Nickerson, Roger Cocke and Judith Seegert. My vice-president Melanie Soerrels has a wealth of institutional knowledge and love for the organization. I’m truly honored to lead a team of people who have excelled in the business, academic, community-service and artistic world. And we have a lot of fun together!

Finally, I’m really excited that this year I get to lead CAA in a three year vision and strategic planning process. I believe that this process and the plan and communication that comes out of it will catapult us forward in achieving our vision.

Sunnyshore Studio: What is that vision?

Jason:  The vision of CAA is that Camano Island will become recognized as a major cultural center for the Visual Arts in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s interesting that back in the early 1900’s Camano was known as a logging community, then a farming and fishing resort community in the 30s-60’s. It has also been known as a wonderful place to retire and for second homes on the water for rich Seattlelites to play at in the summer. I’m thrilled that now Camano is becoming known as an art destination. And I’m excited to partner with other institutions in the Stanwood-Camano area like the Chambers, the City of Stanwood, the Stanwood-Camano Arts Association, and others to team up to make this dream a reality.

Camano Island views

For example, a good friend of mine, Wade Starkenburg, a business owner in Stanwood is sponsoring my brother’s “There and Back Again” July art opening. He’s doing this not only because he’s excited about Sunnyshore Studio’s investment in the community and because we’re friends, but because he sees the importance of cultural development and the arts in our region.

Sunnyshore Studio: What would make you most happy in your tenure as CAA President.

Jason: I’m thankful I get to be part of the cultural development and common good of Camano. I grew up here and I have a real love for this place. I want our community to be recognized – to shine – for being the amazing community of artists and friends of artists that it is. I guess you could say that Camano’s flourishing is my dream. Specifically, I would like to lead CAA into a bold and exciting and daring 3 year vision and strategic plan that we will someday look back at and say “wow, it’s amazing but we actually achieved it!” Most of all, I hope we all have a lot of fun partnering together in achieving our vision.

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