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Erin Hatch: fundraising hero + organizational goddess + marketing guru + mama

🔦 Board Member Spotlight

The memories can get a little hazy, but at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked with our skeleton crew of Wayzgoose Kitsap volunteers and staff to figure out how to keep our annual steamroller printing going, even when we were all isolating and trying to keep everyone healthy.

There was this sense that if we cancelled printing for even one season, with everyone so scattered and under duress, we would lose the momentum and connections that were required to keep an organization like this alive. Basically we feared the WK spirit would be snuffed out!

Late in the summer of 2020 we found ourselves in my parent's driveway, steamroller and all, printing away with masked volunteers and determined artists. It was awkward and exciting at the same time. Seasonal smoke harassed our lungs, and many folks weren't able to do the physical labor required of printing volunteers. The days were getting shorter, as we had to stretch printing out over several weeks in September that year. I think the last night we scrambled to get tarps up over the prints because there was a torrential down pour.

And I had an infant in my arms. Needless to day, the days were full of stress and emotions.

I remember meeting Erin Hatch the day she was scheduled to print with her husband, and she was a ray of pure delight and sunshine. Her big-weenthusiasm for our project, and the pride she took in their carved linoleum was so inspiring to me that it's been something I carry with me still. An especially uplifting notion during the hardest days of overwhelm and uncertainty of pandemic days. on days.

Erin and Tanner's gorgeous print is now part of our email "signature" and a way we invite new people onto our email newsletter list. (You can and definitely should grab a download of their print "Elements" by clicking here:

Since we met, Erin has become an integral part of our organization. The love we share for the work we do is part of our bond. But we are also both mothers of young kids, and balance the many facets of our identity with parenthood in a dance that outsiders can only imagine.

On a professional level, Erin has helped to usher in a new level of legitimacy to Wayzgoose Kitsap. She is Marketing Director of Rice Fergus Miller by day, and is a pillar of our community. Her big heart means she's got her hands in many projects, supporting from behind the scenes, and leading from the front, whenever and wherever she's needed.

Erin currently serves as our Board Secretary, was the host of our recent and first (and wildly successful) fundraising event "Amplifying Creative Voices", and has played a key role in putting together the first back-in-real-life art festival in 2023. Her love and dedication for this work is boundless. And we try to respect her family boundaries - but it seems that EVERY family birthday and anniversary lands on the day of a WK event or meeting these last few years (sorry Tanner!!!).

Of all the many gifts Erin has blessed us with, I think her smile is my favorite. When Erin has your back, you know the sky's the limit.

Thank you Erin for brining your radiant light into our corner of the world, and lighting a path for many print seasons to come!

Earlier this summer, I had the chance to ask her about her take on this past year's Wayzgoose Kitsap Art Festival:

woman posing for photo
Erin Hatch, Wayzgoose Kitsap board member and artist (photo credit Logan Westom Photography)

In her own words:

MB: What about the 2024 festival are you most excited about?

EH: The chance to work with another batch of artists and volunteers to create something special for the Kitsap community. MB: What's your favorite thing about being involved with Wayzgoose Kitsap?

EH: I love being a part of a fabulous group of (mostly women) who have created a grassroots arts festival in a town where you might not expect it. It helps me feel connected to my community and has introduced me to some really wonderful folks. MB: Share a detail about WK that you don't think most people know:

EH: Everything we do is free for artists and the community, so we rely on the generosity of people like YOU to keep it going! We have very few part-time paid staff, so it basically all runs on volunteer power. Donations really do go directly toward programs and the festival - things like renting the steamroller and paying permits. As far as volunteers go - we could use more help, so don't be shy! If you've been thinking about getting involved, now is the time to step up. We'd love to chat with you. :) MB: You're a board member, mom, marketing director at RFM... on a personal note, what role does volunteering for a local arts nonprofit play in your life?

EH: Well lately my Wayzgoose time has been pretty limited because as you mentioned, I have a lot on my plate! But I love making time for Wayzgoose because it's the perfect combination of so many things I love: Community, art, printmaking, volunteering, marketing, and event planning. MB: What does your family think about Wayzgoose Kitsap?

EH: My husband is very supportive of Wayzgoose even when the festival falls on his birthday - this year we planned to celebrate his birthday on a different day so I could be at the festival from sunup to sundown. And my daughter Sylvi isn't old enough yet to be very involved, but I know she's going to love getting inky with mama one of these days soon. My parents are also supporters from afar and think it's a very cool organization, eventually they'll make it up from Oregon during the festival to see the action in person. MB: If you could secure a magical $1M grant for WK, what would you want the organization to do with the funds?

EH: Wow! Wouldn't that be wonderful! First of all I would pay our Executive Director and Program Coordinator more, because they are basically volunteers and they both deserve a huge raise. Next, I think it would be amazing to have more staff to run programs for printmaking in middle and high schools all over Kitsap County. We have an opportunity to open kids' eyes to the magic of self expression through art, but we only have the capacity to engage one school group a year at the moment. After that I would use the money to put on the best Wayzgoose Kitsap Festival yet!

Thank you Erin for everything you do for our community!

~ Marit

{ This post is part of an ongoing series of Board Member Spotlights. Stay tuned for more from the other amazing folks on the board. }

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