Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: Thurston County Museum of Fine Art


Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that positively impact our communities. In April 2024, Mission Nonprofit host Deborah Vinsel sat down with Frederick Dobler, events coordinator and co-founder, and David Hoekje, grant writer and photographer, for Thurston County Museum of Fine Art (TCMoFA), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing art and performances to public spaces in our area through pop-ups.

The Thurston County Museum of Fine Arts was created as a pop-up museum to fill a void in Olympia. “In Olympia there is not an actual Fine Arts Museum,” shares Dobler. “When I was on the Arts Commission, that’s something that I heard from a lot of the people out in the public, it’s like something that people want to have. Everyone loves going to Seattle to their various museums and things like that, so it came out in 2022, for the Arts Walk, we put together what was intended to be as much of a museum experience as we could pull together in a pretty short amount of time.” It was a group performance put on by Dobler, Kirsten Miller and Isabel Yasui, who founded the Museum.

From there, in 2023, they put on three museums, one during Spring Arts Walk, one during the Armory Arts Intervention funded by the City of Olympia, and a third one called Co-Salish Museum of Fine Arts. The latter was showcased Indigenous art by Indigenous artists with relations to the coast Salish area. For this pop-up, they had Indigenous artist curate the list of artists and the art that would be on display as well.  

The museum’s next pop-up museum will be the 2024 Spring Arts Walk.  

“There’s artists from all different areas of Olympia, different age groups, different backgrounds and putting them in a show together really starts to kind of get those different circles of artists getting to meet each other, that was some of my favorite stuff there,” shares Dobler.

The group’s main challenges are finding places for their pop-ups, and then figuring out ways to use the spaces as they are given, to display art. They are also working on expanding accessibility. Beyond ADA accessibility for wheelchairs, shares Hoekje, they want to make it accessible to people with vision or hearing impairments.

They also hope to keep expanding the types of art they include, expanding from fine arts to performance art, including dance. They sometimes have open calls for their events, contact them to ask about submission openings.

For more information, watch the full video above or visit the Thurston County Museum of Fine Art website.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 22 on Sundays at 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m. You can also watch on TCMedia website, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thurston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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