SUMMER 2020: An artistic response to COVID-19…

Get out the vote campaign for 2020.

Ducks: Mik Kuhlman, Meghan Ames, Maria Glanz
Additional Ducks: Janet McAlpin, Martha Enson
Photos: Jeff Dunnicliffe

I perform annually with UMO at the Oregon Country Fair, which of course, did not happen in 2020. My quest during Covid has been to bring theatre to the street so I pulled from my suitcases my three duck masks collected over years of visiting Newman’s Masks booth at the fair.  Three years in a row I brought home a duck. One of the ducks became a character for GRAVITY OF KINDNESS and then an UMO show, RED, and then for Vashon’s SWAMPBOTTOM. For 2020, the three took to the street to help in the efforts to get out the vote.

BEAUTY: Completely in Your Hands
Open Space For Arts and Community Distance Dance Commission

Your Kind hands, what beauty, what kindness, what gifts can you give.

Performer: Mik Kuhlman
House & Set Design: Patricia Toovey
Venue Partner: Voice of Vashon
VOV: Kate Dowling, Jeff Hoyt
Lighting: Aj Epstein
Sound: Michael Keck, Bob Moses
Rigging: Jon Schroeder, Bob Kueker
Signage: Jemma Pereña
Photos: Jeff Dunnicliff, Valerie Vossa

Commissioned through Open Space’s putting Artists Back to Work program, and reimagining yet another theatre prop I partnered with VOV to insert my silk and bamboo house from HOUSE #30 into a live radio broadcast station’s storefront window. Performing behind the glass window, we explored themes of isolation, hand washing, and human connection in this time of Covid.  A stand alone porcelain sink transformed the ‘house’ into a washroom. The words above laced the window sill accented with sets of brown and white tiny hands. During the day, it was an art installation and a pop up unannounced one time performance at night.




Kuhlman Productions
Performers:  Mik Kuhlman and Utisah Durahim
Signs by: Jemma Pereña Photos by: Jeff Dunnicliff
Volunteers included Sally Sykes, Maria Glanz, and Vashon’s gardeners
with additional encouraging support from Vashon’s Emergency Operations Center.

A visual messaging for our mental health with a flower give-away using a giant James Chesney chair from the lobby of Vashon Center for the Arts and a tiny Indonesian chair from Dianne Grob with ten different gardeners heeding a call for flowers at a moment’s notice. Additional signs invited the public to  “Take one for yourself” “Take one for a friend” “Give one to a stranger”


An interactive public service announcement in collaboration with Patricia Toovey

Featuring UMO Ensemble’s Nose
with Vashon physical theatre artists:
Mik Kuhlman, Martha Enson, David Godsey, Janet McAlpin, Lynelle Sjoberg
Photos by Michelle Bates / Video: Jeff Dunnicliff
Sign by Kai Godsey / Nose painted by Steffon Moody

On Friday, June 19 in the afternoon between 3-6pm and Saturday, June 20th from 10-1pm at the 4-way stop by US Bank, A nose is coming out of storage to help Vashon Island in the fight against Covid-19.

The nose is part of an iconic giant puppet built in 1990 by the founding members of UMO Ensemble, paraded and beloved in countless theatre events, festivals, street fairs, and protests. Conceptual artist and test site volunteer Patricia Toovey, created a large scale testing swab to accompany the nose as a means to delightfully inform our community of on island testing for Covid-19.


Street messaging featuring a giant red coat and a tiny masked face inside, 13′ in the air.

At the start of the pandemic, Island stitchers took to their machines, sewed and distributed over 6,000 masks for free to our community. I noticed tourists arriving without them and wanted to do what I could to give to the whole of my island home. So I brought my theatre prop out to the street to bring magic and messaging. The purpose was to greet visitors to Vashon at the moment they disembarked from ferries, and urge them to wear masks and consider the fate of an island community with limited healthcare resources.

The 9’x6′ coat was created in 2006 by the fabulous Patricia Toovey for my show SPLIT SECOND. It has been adapted through the years for other shows with UMO Ensemble and at Vashon’s Gravity of Kindness. It’s what got the whole ball a rolling…