The former Borders location at Redmond Town Center will become more lively this holiday season as VALA Eastside presents a temporary art shop on the lower level of the vacant storefront.
The holiday art shop will feature up to 20 artists selling a variety of gifts and artwork each weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Click here to see VALA's call for artists and more information for potential applicants).
VALA President Jessica Lambert said the event will not only give local artists a chance to sell their wares but also present an opportunity for them to network with each other and reach out to the community. A lineup of workshops and demos will be offered along with products for sale, Lambert said.
“That’s sort of at the heart of what VALA does—is connecting to the community, and connecting the artists together as well,” she said.
Christina Henning, senior marketing manager for Redmond Town Center, said the storefront will be provided to VALA free of charge as the shopping center continues to seek a permanent tenant for the Borders space, which has been vacant for more than a year.
Several potential tenants have expressed interest in the storefront, Henning said, but many have been willing to occupy only a portion of the two-story space. Redmond Town Center is working to find someone willing to occupy the entire store, and Henning said it's been a bit of challenge to find the right retailer.
"We’re really taking our time to make sure the tenant we sign a lease with is the right fit for the center," she said.
Meanwhile, VALA has used other vacant storefronts for various exhibitions—all provided on a donation basis by Redmond Town Center. The partnership began earlier this year when the two groups joined together to organize the Redmond Town Center Arts Festival.
The festival included an artist gallery in a vacant space that is now occupied by Fuego. Since then, VALA has moved to a vacant storefront next to GameStop, where it recently hosted an exhibition by Kirkland artist Rebecca DeVere and where it will present a new artist exhibition starting this Friday and a centennial art show later starting Dec. 1.
Henning and Lambert said the ongoing partnership has proven beneficial for both VALA and Redmond Town Center.
“VALA was able to help us really extend our reach to artists in the community,” Henning said.
Redmond Town Center is also looking for a tenant in the space VALA is using on the upper level, but Henning said use of the storefront has been guaranteed to the nonprofit through the end of the year.
What's Next: Borders Books
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