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The open door allows a free flow of fresh air coming in off Pearl Street. The open room with its high ceiling and sky lights casts a natural lighting on the mezzanine high above down to the main gallery and the Eveleth Green Gallery below.

Gallery One Visual Arts Center on Pearl Street, like all of the historic downtown, has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines with new hours and a new daily schedule. It seems only right that the first major exhibit since Kittitas County reached Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan is called the “Kittitas County Open Show,” which opened Thursday and runs through July 30 in the Main, Mezzanine and Eveleth Green Gallery.

Masks and social distancing are requested, but in-house classes, events and exhibitions are expected to increase the connection between the gallery and the public, providing some sense of normalcy in a coronavirus world.

“I wouldn’t say we’re doing everything to get by. But we are doing everything possible to stay connected with our community,” Gallery One director Monica Miller said. “Ultimately, we need each other.”

The Kittitas County Open Show features 104 pieces and 89 artists and creativity from several different mediums. Miller put out an artist call for the annual exhibit and the Kittitas County art world responded. At least every one of the 89 artists has a work on display and several feature more than one. The exhibition space showcases work throughout both the ground level and upper levels of the local gallery.

“What is particularly special about this show is that we had to close our doors to our community, so being able to open and welcome them back and showcase the creativity is really powerful,” Miller said. “The artwork represents who we are as a community.”

The message of the Kittitas County Open Show not only asked the question: “Do we need each other as a community?” but reinforces that “we will get through the pandemic together.” The creative and positive energy on display in a community that features the Clymer Museum and Gallery, Western Art and Culture Center, and the Western Art Association/Goodey Gallery.

“This year we were particularly how artists were affected by the pandemic, we waived the entry fee so we could get as much representation as possible,” Miller said. “The only requirement was that the artists have to live in Kittitas County.

“We’re part of a group of galleries that show art in the community. All the different galleries, we need each other. By working together, we’ve created an infrastructure of diversity. It also helps having a city that supports us financially through funding and believes in the power of what we do.”

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