Alchemy Art Center

Alchemy Art Center is a new community art space in the Center of San Juan Island. Last week it received nonprofit 501c-3 status.

The goal of the center, located at 1255 Wold road is to offer the following to the community:

“A well equipped communal studio space for member artists, a classroom where resident and visiting artists can teach and everyone is welcome, housing for local artists and visiting artists in residence, and  a 35 foot geodesic dome providing event space.

Claire Wright, of the Friday Harbor Art Market and San Juan County Arts Council stated, ”Alchemy Art Center is an exciting new addition to the arts community in San Juan County. The variety of offerings are much needed and we are looking forward to watching the Growth and evolution of this beautiful compound”.

Partners Maria Michaelson and Eben Shay purchased the nine-acre property with 6 buildings in November 2016.

Michaelson, Shay, and their friend Richard Reeves have been working steadily on the buildings and land for the past 15 months, watching as their dream comes into closer focus. Dozens of supportive island artists and contractors have contributed materials, equipment, professional advice, and hours of labor.

Massive repairs have been made on the infrastructure. The old dormitory has been converted to a large ceramics studio. Equipment has been donated and purchased for a darkroom, foundry and print shop. All of these studio spaces are going to be available to the community.

The intention is to offer classes, concerts and events, and host artists and musicians from near and far.

Maria Michaelson was born on San Juan island. She graduated from Spring Street International School and received her degree in Ceramics from the California College of Art in 2009. After graduation she spent time earning the craft of bronze casting in West Africa an. In 2016 She spent three months as an artist in residence at 69 Rue de Rivoli in Paris. She was the artist in residence at the San Juan sculpture park

Michaelson and Shay have participated in the island Artists Studio Tour for the past 5 years.

The property was developed in the late 1970’s by Dhiravamsa, a Buddhist monk from Thailand,  as a Vipassanna meditation retreat. “Our intention is to bring back the feeling of respect and love for the land. Already it feels much more vibrant and positive.” Michaelson said, adding that that memberships for the ceramics studio are already available; and a major fundraising campaign to complete to facility is about to begin.

For more information, call Maria Michaelson or Eben Shay at (360) 378-1661.

Posted on March 19, 2018 at 5:50 am by

Categories: Arts, Community


  1. Wonderful news!!!

    Comment by Patti Barker on March 20, 2018 at 11:07 am
  2. Thank you Maria and Eben! What a gift for the community!!

    Comment by Jaime Ellsworth on March 20, 2018 at 6:48 pm

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