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Manufacturers have distribution networks. Agricultural producers have a farm-to-market system. Artists have … ?

Gallery One is hoping to help artists answer that question with the first Central Washington Art Confab, June 5-6 at the downtown Ellensburg gallery and the Elmira Downtown Event Center on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street.

The event focuses on financial sustainability, networking and support for artists and communities in Central Washington.

Monica Miller, Gallery One executive director, said one of the first steps is to address the misconception that artists don't have business skills.

"Artists have entrepreneurial skills," Miller said. "They are flexible, resourceful and innovative. We have to change the perception that artists don't have a business acumen."

Focus of event

Miller said there are three desired outcomes for the Art Confab:

  • Artists’ incomes in the community go up.
  • The community values artists and not just their art.
  • Artists feel connected.

Gallery One surveyed artists leading up to the event and the top need expressed was the desire to connect with other artists in the community.

"They want to connect with information and with other artists," Miller said.

Based on those responses the event was modified to create opportunities to connect, such as a pop-up picnic from 5 to 7 p.m., June 6, in the alley between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Centaur Midwife will perform at the picnic.

Another chance to mix and mingle is the open house at Dick and Jane's Spot (corner of First Avenue and Pearl Street) from 9 to 10:30 a.m. June 6.

Art in a small town

Prior to coming to Ellensburg, Miller worked for Artists Trust in Seattle. It quickly became evident there was far less of a support network for artists on this side of the mountains.

"There are far fewer resources out here for artists," Miller said.

Miller said Gallery One's mission is to serve visual artists in the region.

"We currently offer classes for kids and adults. We sell the work of artists. We provide studio space," Miller said.

The confab extends the mission to helping artists get established and market and expose their art to greater audience.

Miller said about 40 artists have already registered and that artists can continue to register on the days of the event. Full registration is $40 but there is also a sliding scale available. Free events include the pop-up picnic and the open house at Dick and Jane's Spot.

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