FUSION 2010: Summer arts festival benefits homeless women and children

Fran Velling creates a painting during the 2009 festival.  - Mirror file photo
Fran Velling creates a painting during the 2009 festival.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

It’s almost time again for Federal Way’s premier art show, the annual FUSION summer arts festival.

FUSION — which stands for Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy — is in its 17th year. This year, the non-profit organization’s largest annual fundraiser carries the theme “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

The main event is the juried art show, where selected artists show off their pieces. This year will bring plenty of new artists.

Dozens of artists are selected by the FUSION art committee, headed by Kelsey Kovach. There are three jurors for the selection process, and the group has chosen 25 artists so far with a goal of 30.

Some of the artists include Judy Free, who makes hand-painted silk scarves; Nancy Fiala with her glass designs; Cheryl Lasonde’s mosaic art and chimes; and Mary Pete’s fused gems.

Artists have booths at the festival and the jury makes sure there are items in all budgets.

“We try to hit every price point,” Kovach said.

There will be stone sculptures, bronze works, acrylics, watercolors, jewelry, blown glass, yard art and pottery.

The sculptors and potters are just some of the new artists this year. And of course, it’s for a good cause.

“Not only are they helping a local artist, it’s going to an amazing cause,” Kovach said.

The arts festival

The money raised at the FUSION summer arts festival helps homeless woman and children in the area live more self-sufficiently.

The festival runs 3-9 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Dumas Bay Centre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the door. For featured artists, visit

Last year’s festival raised more than $90,000.

FUSION started in 1993 after a group of women came up with an idea to help the homeless. Focusing their work on women with children, they began a grass-roots effort to raise funds. In two years, they purchased a one bedroom condo and its first residents where a mother and her infant, victims of domestic violence.

In January 2009, FUSION merged with the Joseph Foundation. Joseph Foundation has a similar mission, but instead of focusing on women and children, they work with both single and dual parent families.

FUSION now operates 15 transitional housing units, 11 condos and four homes from property bequeathed by Helen and Stuart Noyes to the Joseph Foundation. The original FUSION condominiums continue to house primarily women and their children. The houses in Tacoma serve dual and single parent families, whether head of the household is a mother or father.

Video slideshow from the 2009 FUSION festival:

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