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It seems only fitting an international art project called “Inside Out” inspired a new display of photographic talent along with the creative ways local business owners in historical downtown Ellensburg have maneuvered through the pandemic and a world quite literally turned inside out.

Turned Inside Out is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art. Local entities are going to localize that concept on Saturday by showcasing 36 downtown businesses and business owners, lining their portraits in the downtown store fronts.

Each poster will be printed 40 x 60-inch and include the name of the business owner or manager, the business name and website or social media address. The photos taken by three Ellensburg photographers represent a sign of solidarity and resilience.

The project is funded by the Ellensburg Arts Commission and was facilitated by Gallery One Visual Arts Center with the Ellensburg Downtown Association.

“I think this is the role that the gallery should be playing right now,” said Monica Miller, Executive Director of Gallery One. “There will be 36 businesses. The plan was to have them in windows on Saturday so when people are out and about for the Farmers Market or supporting other businesses can see them as a part of moving into Phase 2 and the reopening process.”

Photographers Jesse Cunningham, Rob Fraser, and Mindy Siks showcased their work by capturing the heart and soul through these black and white portraits. They were given creative license to select the images they thought captured the spirit of the person or people best. An exhibit of all of the images will be planned in the future of Gallery One.

“The Downtown Association has been our partner on several projects. We were able to come up with three amazing professional photographers in our community, who volunteered to do it right away,” Miller said. “The quality of the photos are amazing and they were able to make them and still maintain social distancing.

“The black and white format fits because we wanted it to be very candid and in the moment. I thought they came out extremely well done.”

With so many businesses shuttered in downtown Ellensburg because of the COVID-19 quarantine, this is an opportunity to keep the people behind the closed doors in the public eye, which seemed like an immediate need, said Taylor Villmock, Public Relations Coordinator for the Ellensburg Downtown Association.

“This project was the perfect way to showcase familiar faces of downtown Ellensburg,” Villmock said. “These business owners, artists, managers, etc. are people that the community was used to seeing on a daily basis before they were shut down.

“Now, they can see their faces again in a safe and creative way as they walk through downtown.”

Participating businesses include many artists that were forced to leave their studios in Gallery One when forced to close such as Robin Mayberry and Patrick Stanton. Other businesses include Clean Cut, the Red Pickle, Ellensburg Floral, and Claim Clothing just to name a few.

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at


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