Gregg Schlanger

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Central Washington University Art and Design Chair Gregg Schlanger has received The Theo Van Gogh Award from Gallery One, according to a news release from the gallery.

The Theo Van Gogh Award is annually given by Gallery One to a community member who quietly demonstrates continuing support for the arts, much as Theo did for his brother Vincent. This kind of support is essential for the survival and strengthening of the arts in our ever-changing and evolving Central Washington community.

Since moving to Ellensburg, Schlanger has worked to improve access to the arts for students on campus, fostering the creative impact CWU has on the community as a whole, and using art to create a path between Central Washington University and Gallery One.

“Gregg combines his administrative and artistic skills to strengthen bonds within the artistic community as well as with the larger population of Ellensburg and CWU,” said Gallery One board member David Cross in the release.

Schlanger was celebrated in early March at Gallery One’s annual President’s Dinner, an event for supporters of Gallery One.

At the event, Rachel Kirk a faculty member said about Schlanger, “making art accessible to all is not just Gallery One’s mission, it’s Gregg’s mission as well.”

His list of contributions since arriving in Ellensburg is long. Schlanger converted an old faculty lounge into Gallery 231, a space where all BFA graduates have senior thesis exhibits. Through his guidance, they learn hands-on professional practices like installing and lighting artwork as well as self-promotion, which includes writing press releases and making advertisements for their personal exhibits. Schlanger has worked closely with CWU Provost Katherine Frank to turn the Office of the Provost into a functional gallery space; student work is regularly exhibited there, and artwork sales have boosted students’ confidence, aspirations, and professionalism.

Schlanger hosts the annual CWU student art exhibit awards reception at the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, which draws attention to the abundant talent in the department by the university and community as a whole. At this exhibit, Gallery One gives an exhibit award every year to a CWU student. This years’ award recipient is Amanda Ontiveros and will be exhibiting in April. Zimbabwean stone carver Alexander Chitungo has been welcomed into the CWU Department of Art and Design under Schlanger’s tenure to teach a Shona stone carving course and has become a part of the Ellensburg greater creative family.

With funds secured by Schlanger, faculty from the Department of Art + Design travel across the state each spring to award thousands of dollars in scholarship tuition waivers at all nine Educational Service Districts. Schlanger is diligent about practicing inclusivity and diversity by recruiting and welcoming students, many of whom are first generation college students and from varied socioeconomic backgrounds reflecting our mutual interest in providing equitable access to the arts. Schlanger is a member of the committee that selects public art for the CWU campus, which provides exposure to art that many students and community members would never get otherwise, including the recently installed mammoth tusk.

He often enlists the help of K-12 students for his own collaborative public art projects, allowing students from across the country to express their own unique thoughts and experiences through the platform of his vision and message and Schlanger regularly hosts workshops for elementary school students here in the Kittitas Valley, reflecting Gallery One’s own values of providing arts education to all. Gallery One thanked Schlanger with a ceramic platter with fish on it and a bouquet of meat in recognition of his other passions, fishing and barbecuing.

Past recipients include: Jim Armstrong, Jan Bowen, Jane Orleman and Dick Elliott, Alex Eyre, Ruth Harrington, Carolyn Honeycutt, Robin Hull, Kitty Moe, Peggy Schaake

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