Mercer Island Center for the Arts forges a New Path

MICA to embark on public engagement process, expresses openness to explore alternative sites.

Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) kicked off 2018 with new leadership, new strategies and a study session with Mercer Island city leaders on Feb. 6, according to a press release.

MICA board and staff have been working hard reviewing the strategy to create an arts center and determine what is needed for future success. In mid-2017, the MICA Board of Directors appointed a Task Force to find solutions to issues that plagued the project. After careful examination, a study of neighboring art centers, and discussions with dozens of stakeholders, the Task Force came to a consensus on a path forward.

One of the key recommendations was to expand the board by adding new leadership and an Emeritus Board, extending our outreach, diversity and new ideas. A majority of founding board members have moved to the Emeritus Board and to date, MICA has added five new board members: Elliot Newman, Michelle Peyree, James Rudolf, Xixi Shakes and Iantha Sidell to join continuing members, Adam Goldblatt, John Gordon Hill, Virl Hill, Bruce Lorig, Prady Misra and Genevieve Morton. John Gordon Hill, the visionary of the MICA project, passed the baton to new board chairs Morton and Misra.

“As founding Board Chair and President, I am thrilled with the exceptional new talent and energy…I’ve had the pleasure of working with Prady and Genevieve for years…having them assume the role of co-chairs of the board is a dream come true. My personal commitment to MICA is unwavering and the addition of these remarkable new people to our existing staff, board, and supporters puts us in the strongest position yet,” Hill stated.

Along with the expanded board, new leadership includes Paul Shoemaker as Executive Director. Shoemaker, a 22-year Islander and a recognized expert in the nonprofit sector, first came onboard with MICA as a member of the Task Force.

“Being a part of the MICA team is a very exciting challenge and represents a real opportunity for me to give back to MI in a way I haven’t been able to before,” Shoemaker said.

On Tuesday, MICA took part in a study session with the Mercer Island City Council. MICA presented information to the council regarding the current status of the project, goals for 2018, and discussed next steps on how to move forward with the city. A few of these goals include a broader community engagement process that builds on past work, a stronger relationship with the city of Mercer Island, and an openness to explore alternative sites and locations for MICA in collaboration with the city and the community.

For more, see, visit the MICA staff at 7710 SE 29th St., call 206-715-7671 or email

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The City and MICA to explore all options for community arts center

The City of Mercer Island has requested that Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) consider delaying the upcoming public hearing and the accompanying legislative review process regarding an arts center proposed in the northwest corner of Mercerdale Park.

The MICA board of directors met at their monthly meeting and agreed to accept the city’s request to pause the current process. As a result, the October 18th public hearing in front of the Planning Commission has been canceled. MICA believes that this “pause” is a positive approach to advancing the project. It will also allow the City and MICA to explore alternative sites for a proposed arts center and discuss options for a partnership that can meet multiple City and community needs.

The City of Mercer Island and Mercer Island Center for the Arts share the belief that the creation of an arts center on Mercer Island will add numerous quality of life benefits to our community. We look forward to a mutually beneficial working relationship as we move through this process.

For more information on Mercer Island Center for the Arts please visit the city’s website at or

Click here for the letter from The City of Mercer Island to MICA and MICA's responding letter.

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MICA Matching Campaigns

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. 

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