Paint Ellensburg

Paint Ellensburg gets underway this weekend with Artistis in Action. Starting at 10 a.m. artists will be creating work throughout the downtown.

Twenty years ago Gallery One invited artists to create art in the streets as an exciting way to connect to the community during its first ever Paint Ellensburg. The pieces made that day were then auctioned off that night and billed as “Wet, Raw, and Unframed!” That auction became an annual event and, as the organization has evolved since 1999, so has the auction.

The celebration returns this year and will be spread out over two weekends, Sept. 14 and Sept. 21, according to a news release from event organizers.

The original concept of the auction was to invite local and regional artists to create art in and around Ellensburg for a day. Those artists who were comfortable doing so, could create in spaces outside Gallery One — spaces people typically inhabit like coffee shops, the library, the hardware store, providing an immediacy and a connection to not only the artist but also the art. Gallery One could step aside and let connections form directly between the community and the artist.

The Paint Ellensburg auction has evolved over the years and today most of the donated art is put into a catalog so that those attending the auction can plan their bidding. The catalog is also an opportunity to invite businesses to sponsor the event and publicly show their support for the auction and the organization’s mission. Over the years, these sponsors have guaranteed that all funds raised from the auction go directly to the mission of Gallery One. This year’s major sponsors include Abeyta Nelson Injury Law, Kelleher Motors, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Hotel Windrow, John L. Scott Real Estate and Iron Horse Brewery.

Previously an individual artist was honored each year so they would receive well deserved recognition and community members would learn more about the artists who live and work here. Past honored artists include Richard Elliott, Darwin Davis, Julie Prather and Tom Pickerel. This year, instead, all participating artists will be recognized and thanked for their contributions over the years.

In addition, one week before the auction, on from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, artists are invited to make art in public. They will be placed at Gallery One, the Farmer’s Market, Knudson’s Lumber and John L. Scott Real Estate and other locations downtown. A list of the 17 participating artists and locations for Artists in Action can be picked up at Gallery One at 10 a.m., Saturday.

The morning of the dinner and auction there will be a free walking tour of Ellensburg’s Public Art which will include, among other artworks, information about the Ellensburg Bus Shelters, the new art on the Hotel Windrow by artist Maria Cristalli, and a signature stop at Dick and Jane’s Spot. The tour will be led by Sadie Thayer of the Kittitas County Historical Museum and Alex Eyre, Chair of the Ellensburg Arts Commission.

Monica Miller, Gallery One’s Director, said, “Paint Ellensburg has always been a unique way of raising funds for Gallery One’s mission to provide art access for all, and it has become an essential part of our income, and it’s also fun. The energy in the room is exciting, artists are buying other artists work, friends get into bidding wars over their favorite pieces and yes, there is cake for those willing to pay for it. The focus is always about the art. This year we have a large metal sculpture donated by artist Tom Saffle from Cle Elum, art from past honored artists Linda Johnson, Darwin Davis, Richard Elliott, Julie Prather, Don O’Connor, Robin Mayberry and more.”

A preview of the auction and schedule can be found at Gallery One through the month of September. The dinner and art auction is at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21, at Sue Lombard Hall. Limited seating is available.

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