LA Art Documents traveled to Vashon, Washington in January 2020 as part of our Beyond LA Series. While on a small tour between Washington and Portland, Oregon we visited the Vashon Heritage Museum. They were hosting a special exhibition on the island’s LGBTQ cultural history called “IN AND OUT: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island“. In our video, we interviewed the co-curators Stephen Silha and Ellen Kritzman, who detail the story behind the exhibition.

IN AND OUT: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island is an interactive, collaborative exhibit and series of programs and films that examine and celebrate the long, quiet history of LGBTQ+ people on Vashon-Maury Island. The exhibit opened on June 7, 2019 as part of the island celebration of Pride Month and has been extended to June 5, 2020.

“Since the 2000 census, Vashon Island has had the largest per capita concentration of Gays and Lesbians in Washington State. We feel there is a crucial need for this exhibit: despite the importance and prevalence of the LGBTQ+ community on Vashon, no acknowledgement, book, or educational piece has yet been created to put the community in context. There is not really a formally or informally organized LGBTQ+ community on Vashon, more a spread of disparate individuals who, while they may know each other, have never witnessed themselves represented publicly as an identified community. This exhibit tells the history of the LGBTQ+ community on Vashon-Maury Island.”

For more information, please visit: https://vashonheritagemuseum.org/