Happy last weeks of summer! It’s been a summer packed with activity for team MICA. We’ve continued to work with the City and MainStreet Properties to secure the site for our Art Center’s future home. We’ve also been working diligently with many community leaders and our expert consultants to update the business plan (pro forma) and the brand identity in preparation for the capital campaign for the Center. We are in a strong position to start the fall season with forward momentum.

We have a transition coming to our internal team, Sharon Perez, Director of Strategic Relationships, announced at the MICA Board Meeting last week, that her last day will be on September 30.

From Sharon:

“It has been my personal honor and privilege to work on such a meaningful project for the good of our community. The potential benefits of an active arts center to the quality of life on Mercer Island are enormous and from the first day that I learned about MICA, I wanted to be a part of making this a reality for all Islanders.

My role was originally projected to be a handful of hours each week to be “of counsel” for a finite fundraising campaign, but it turned into much more than that.

I’ve appreciated that this role has been an opportunity to do some of what I do best, like building community, connecting people, and strategizing cooperation between the private and public sectors; and now it is time for me to move into a new role where I can incorporate the whole spectrum of my interests, experience, and network.

While that’s taking shape, I won’t be involved with the current phase of MICA, but once the capital campaign starts, I hope to join the campaign effort and fulfill my dream to raise some big money to get our Arts Center built. I remain a dedicated advocate for MICA, our community, and all of the arts and artists on Mercer Island.”

In the year and a half I’ve worked with Sharon, time and time again she has been a true pro, the master connector, and a tireless proponent of MICA. She has given MICA her all for 4 years, what a great legacy and we are all deeply thankful. I will miss working with her and am thrilled she will be a part of our campaign committee when we get that launched in the months ahead. Thank you, Sharon, MICA wouldn’t still have the great opportunity it does without you.

Paul Shoemaker
Executive Director

Since the start of 2018, we have had many encouraging events, meetings, and gatherings, but Monday evening (October 22) was something special. That night, I truly felt MICA could happen. If you weren’t able to attend, the top five Tully’s developers presented their proposals to the community as well as took questions. All five have included MICA + YTN in their proposals and each one of them brings something different to the table. With that, narrowing the field will be a difficult task for the city. Not only are there five developers willing to help create a space for the arts on Mercer Island, but the community members in attendance were energizing. The room was filled with the chatter of questions, ideas, thoughts, and excitement – positive energy that they too feel this could happen.

What are the next steps going forward? It will take a few weeks for the city to choose the top two proposals. In the meantime, we encourage MI citizens to keep asking those great questions to the parties involved. The City has created a website for feedback, click here. Executive Director Paul Shoemaker and I have said, and continue to say, we will take a phone call and sit down for a coffee, beer (or glass of wine) with anyone who asks. This is our community and I am committed, along with the other staff and board, to seeing a space for the arts come alive.

Sharon Perez
Director Strategic Relationships

What: Input Session #1
Who: Arts Groups and Artists
Where: Mercer Island Community and Events Center
When: May 15, 2018

The first of our small input sessions began on Tuesday, May 15th. MICA is excited that so many arts groups and individual artists decided to take part in the session. These sessions are led and moderated by our partner Phinney Bischoff and are a great way to get unbiased opinions from island arts stakeholders.

The topics were varied and ranged from how the arts on the island need a space, MICA’s role as a central hub for the arts, STEM vs. STEAM, and the importance of bringing diverse communities to the arts table. At the end of the Community Visioning, MICA will synthesize all of these discussions and release a full report.

Here are a few great quotes to ponder:

“We have the recipe and everything is in the pot…but not one’s turned on the burner yet”
“Our city leaders just want to create more programs. No one wants to be the glue.”
“MICA can bring a sense of community that can exist outside of the schools.”
“Find the people who support it and press on them. Once it’s built, everyone will love it.”
“Too many people live with the assumption that all the good stuff happens in Seattle. Others believe that if you support the arts, you’re taking away from something else. MICA can challenge that.”

Input sessions to come: business owners, parents, and many more. Keep up on the dialogue by regularly visiting our website.

Everybody’s input is important! Please register and take part in our large visioning session on June 11 from 7-9:00pm at the Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club. Visit www.mercerislandarts.org/register or email info@mercerislandarts.org or call 206-715-7671.

Between the dates, July 17 – August 24 Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) will work to expand our Friends of MICA as well as support our parter Resident User organizations.


MICA will engage in six small fundraising challenge match campaigns beginning July 17 to build the Friends of MICA giving. Each campaign will run one-week and feature one of the MICA Master Artists e.g., YTN, Russian Chamber Music Foundation, Music Works NW, Island Youth Ballet, & MIVAL. For each week-long campaign, one generous donor will match all Friends donations 1-to-1 up to $1000. 100% of the match will go to that week’s featured organization. For example, during the week of July 31st MICA features YTN and if we obtain a total of $500 for Friends of MICA, the donor will donate $500 to YTN; if we receive $1000 worth of Friends of MICA, then the donor will donate $1000 to YTN. Essentially doubling the dollar amount of Friends of MICA that week.

Yes…very exciting!!!!

We are grateful and thrilled for the wonderful donors that have agreed to take part in this matching campaign. Below are the dates and names of the generous donors. If you know who they are, give them a big thank you when you see them.

July 17 – 23 | Island Youth Ballet | Rick and Jenny McPherson

July 24 – 30 | Music Works Northwest | Bruce and Andy Lorig

July 31 – Aug. 6 | Youth Theatre Northwest | TBA

Aug. 14 – 20 | Russian Chamber Music Foundation of Seattle | Trenton and Genevieve Morton

Aug. 21 – 27 | Mercer Island Visual Arts League (education programs) | Nancy and Virl Hill

Please sign up to become a Friend of MICA and support the Arts on Mercer Island.

If you are already a Friend of MICA, get your friends to become a Friend of MICA. Just ask them, say something like “Hey Beth, I support MICA and the arts on Mercer Island and I know you do too, would you consider becoming a Friend of MICA? If you become a Friend in the next few weeks, your gift will double and support the arts on the island”

That’s all it takes.

Don’t forget about the MICA Happy Hours from 5-6:00 pm at the MICA Offices 7710 SE 29th St. (before Mostly Music in the Park) where you can meet with other Friends of MICA, as well as that week’s, featured Mercer Island Master Artists’ patrons.

July 20 | Island Youth Ballet

July 27 | Music Works NW

Aug. 3 | Youth Theater NW

Aug. 17 | Russian Chamber Music Foundation of Seattle

Aug. 24 | MIVAL

Thank you for being a Friend of MICA. Your support is very much appreciated. We look forward to seeing you throughout the summer.