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An event with a funny name —PechaKucha — drew a standing room only crowd to Gallery One in Ellensburg on Friday night as community members traded ideas about education.

Monica Miller, Gallery One director, said PechaKucha is about bringing people together.

“I think Ellensburg has a lot of really talented people that are eager to bring creativity to the community and they want to hear from each other,” she said. “This provides a very accessible format to listen to somebody’s ideas.”

PechaKucha means chit chat in Japanese. Each presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each, and speaks for just over six minutes. The format started in Japan and is now used all over the world.

“We push play and it goes,” said Sarah Oblas, vice president of the Gallery One board of trustees who helps organize the event.

The event was introduced last November in Ellensburg and Miller hopes to have a new event every three months at Gallery One. She wants the gallery to be known as a place for creativity, ideas, and the sharing of information.

Bringing ideas together

Friday night wasn’t Josephine Camarillo’s first Pecha Kucha night, but it was her first time speaking. Camarillo is the public services librarian at the Ellensburg Public Library.

“It brings us all together and we get to know each other more intimately,” she said.

Camarillo’s speech focused on children’s story time at the library.

Other presenters ranged from professors, music teachers and the director of food services in the Ellensburg School District. Both young and old faces could be seen in the large crowd as they gasped, laughed, and even sang in unison.

“I thought they did a wonderful job and I’ve enjoyed each one of them,” said Kitty Pratz, who attended the event for the first time to support her friend Sue Wilson, who was speaking. “I just retired from a 33-year career in teaching, this is all familiar territory for me.”

Several presenters talked about a need to fund arts education.

Pratz taught the arts, music and drama and said the arts are often overlooked even though they’re incredibly important to a child’s development. Over the years she has yet to see a decline in student interest in the arts.

Singing together

Wilson is a choir director and music teacher and spoke about the power of song. She touched on how songs connect people, creating community and elevating the mood. She said every kind of person sings.

“I’ll sing alone, any place, any time,” she said, but she likes singing with others the most.

By the end of her presentation, the crowd was singing in unison to “Singing in the Rain.”

Hayley Naboychik, a high school teacher at the Excel alternative school, spoke about how school needed to look more like the real world.

“Life is much more than academics,” she said.

She teaches her students how to pay taxes, manage their bills and learn to use a credit card.

Patrick Garmong, food services director at the Ellensburg School District, talked about the love-hate relationship people have with food.

“When they grow it, they have a better chance of eating it,” he said, encouraging the audience to start their own gardens with their children and visit farmers markets to see what’s growing in the area.

He hopes to have students connect with food in an exciting way. Garmong has made recent changes to school lunch menus by incorporating regionally grown food.

Richard Denner, also known as Jampa Dorge, who presented at the last PechaKucha, was in the audience on Friday.

“Community is the key word, it helps make a community,” he said. “It’s an opportunity on one level to be informed and on another level to have fun.”

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