MICA celebrates Founding Friends and provides SEPA update

The March 2 First Thursday Art Walk in Mercer Island included a special recognition of the founding Friends of MICA, according to a Mercer Island Center for the Arts press release.

Thom Schultz, founder of Mercer Builders, hosted the event in his new SOURCES gallery, which he and his wife, Carolyn Miglino, created for the community.

SOURCES features art from their personal collection, as well as some pieces of his own creation. Local award-winning caterer, and MICA supporter, Arista Catering provided a delicious buffet and MICA board member, Dirk van der Burch, shared a portion of his wine collection for the guests.

At the event, Mercer Island High School sophomore Caroline Atkinson introduced Students for MICA, envisioned to be a youth advocacy and support group.

“I am involved in the arts, music and theater, and it adds so much to my life,” she said at the event. “I am so excited to have an art center in our community and I wanted to do something to help, so I formed Students for MICA.”

Atkinson reported that seven high school students are serving on the Students for MICA Board, and they have raised $2,500 for Friends of MICA so far. MICA staff and board members also gave a short update on the Art Center project, currently in the middle of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review.

The event was also an opportunity to introduce the newest member of the MICA team, Keith Imper, who brings many years of fundraising and arts administration experience to the position of campaign manager. Imper is leading Friends of MICA and will be coordinating the community portion of the capital campaign once it commences.

Friends of MICA was created one year ago in response to community members asking how they can show their support for MICA. This annual support group invites everyone from students to seniors to participate in creating a vibrant art center for Mercer Island. Friends of MICA receive monthly email newsletters with information about community arts events, arts education opportunities, and project updates.

To become a Friend of MICA visit www.MercerIslandArts.org/Friends or call the MICA office at 206-715-7671.

Mercer Island Center for the Arts is a nonprofit community venture, working closely with the city, resident arts organizations, and individual community members to create the future Center for the Arts on Mercer Island. MICA has created several resources to provide detailed information and updates on the conception and planning for the Center for the Arts. Information on frequently asked questions is at MercerIslandArts.org/FAQ or visit the MICA office at 7710 SE 29th St. Questions can also be emailed to askMICA@MercerIslandArts.org.

All First Thursday gallery openings and arts events on the Island can be found on the Mercer Island Arts Calendar, online at MercerIslandArts.org/Calendar, one of the community resources MICA is providing before the proposed center is constructed.

SEPA update

As of March 13, the city was waiting for MICA’s next submission of SEPA review materials. The previous submittal was deemed incomplete, according to Senior Planner Robin Proebsting.

MICA had to provide additional responses to SEPA Checklist questions, verification that all public comments received have been responded to and responses to the information requests in an ESA peer review memo from Sept. 20, 2016. As part of the SEPA review, MICA had to submit a parking management plan and critical area study, among other documents.

MICA has been working with the city through the SEPA process to ensure that all the information that the city needs is complete for its review, according to Perez. The city has received from MICA geotechnical information, wetland studies, a tree assessment, transportation studies and written responses to the input from the community. The city will continue to evaluate this material and issue a threshold determination on environmental issues later this spring.

The MICA building team, including lead architect Lesley Bain, had a productive meeting with the city on March 13, Perez said.

“There was a digital mixup in the upload of the documents to the city and therefore the city staff believed they hadn’t received our completeness responses,” Perez wrote in an email to the Reporter. “At this point we are hopeful that they will be able to make their determination in the next few weeks.”

Proebsting noted that “MICA’s resubmittal has now been uploaded to the correct place, the earlier confusion has been cleared up, and materials are in the process of being routed to staff for review.”

The Mercer Island City Council has said it will review the lease for the MICA site in Mercerdale Park after the SEPA review is complete.

SOURCES Gallery owner and artist Thom Schultz and MICA Campaign Manager Keith Imper celebrate MICA’s Founding Friends on March 2. Photo courtesy of MICA

SOURCES Gallery owner and artist Thom Schultz and MICA Campaign Manager Keith Imper celebrate MICA’s Founding Friends on March 2. Photo courtesy of MICA

Friends of MICA Ardell Fromm and Angie Stewart enjoy the art at SOURCES Gallery. Photo courtesy of MICA

Friends of MICA Ardell Fromm and Angie Stewart enjoy the art at SOURCES Gallery. Photo courtesy of MICA