Artists become Friends of the Grange

"Gathering in the newly decorated sitting room of the Deer Lagoon Grange are some of the people in the South Whidbey arts community who have formed Grass Roots, Friends of Deer Lagoon Grange: from left, Richard Evans, Linda Good, Jack Eskenazi, Louise Holloway Stanley and Martha Furey.Joan Soltys/staff photoIn a quintessentially South Whidbey effort, a group of about a dozen island actors, musicians, artists and writers have decided to pool their talents and mix history and art. The newly formed Grass Roots calls itself Friends of the Deer Lagoon Grange -- A Creative Arts Project.Its particular creativity comes from the goal of helping out the historic Deer Lagoon Grange and providing a venue for arts activities at the same time.We hope to help ourselves and help the grange, said Martha Furey, one of the members of Grass Roots. Joining Furey in the fledgling arts organization are Jim Freeman, Linda Good, Richard Evans, Leslie McConnell, Jack Eskenazi, Jim Scullin, Louise Holloway Stanley, Shelley Hartle and Mike McVay. Together they are paying a monthly fee to rent the grange for events such as plays, musicals, art shows, poetry readings and other endeavors. It's a pilot project for a year, said Furey. They'll get a little bit of money every month, and we'll also do some freshening up of the rooms in the Grange.Freshening has already begun, resulting in a comfortable sitting room with curtains on the windows, ambient lighting from table lamps, and small decorative touches. It will be the setting for the group's first arts event: a Furey-Eskenazi performance of stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer on June 30, with a background of original music written by Ed Gottstein. For a cost of $10, arts enthusiasts can join the performers at 7 p.m. for coffee and dessert, then hear the stories beginning at 8 p.m. Proceeds will be split with the grange.All of us have used the grange at one time or another, Furey said. Now we'd like to help them, as well as giving ourselves a place to do some of the things we'd like to.Along with a variety of arts events, the group is also planning other fund-raisers, including trunk sales -- in which people could rent a parking space and then have a kind of garage sale out of their car trunks.The grange can also rent the facility to others when Grass Roots isn't using it.Our philosophy is that this is a community hall for all to use, Furey said.The grange dates from the turn of the century, and was built as a church. It has a full kitchen, a basement for storage, and a very large central room that could be used for a variety of events.Anyone interested in Grass Roots is encouraged to call Furey at 221-2357. To rent the grange, contact Elsie Melver, 321-1325. "

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