Don O'Connor

Don O’Connor’s piece “Buttons” made of light-reactive media, will be up for auction at Saturday’s Paint Ellensburg event.

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The annual Paint Ellensburg event this Saturday celebrates the connection between art and the community with artists creating work throughout the Ellensburg area early in the day.

The event is also the largest fundraiser of the year for Gallery One.

“It raises about 20 percent of our operating expenses,” said Gallery One executive director Monica Miller. “It’s our single largest fundraiser.”

Miller said the event is a way to bring together the various people who an involved in Gallery One whether artists, art patrons or parents of kids who take classes at the gallery.

The dinner and auction Saturday night is sold out but activities earlier in the day are open and free to the public.

Out and about

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. artists will be scattered throughout the community creating art. Miller said many of the locations will be determined Saturday morning.

One for-sure destination is the Stan Bassett Youth Center on Capitol Avenue, across the street from Morgan Middle School, where Ellensburg artists Justin Gibbens and Will Bow are completing a mural on the building. Gibbens and Bow involved Ellensburg youth in the design and creation of the mural. The project was supported by the city of Ellensburg.

Miller said another set site is Knudson’s Lumber.

“It’s going to depend on the weather,” Miller said of exactly where some artists will set up shop.

The artists in action component of the event is nod to the origins of Paint Ellensburg where the auction consisted of all the created work from that day. Miller said the artists still have the option of contributing a piece created that day to the auction.

At 1 p.m., Gallery One is teaming with the Kittitas County Historical Museum to stage a free public art walking tour. Among the tidbits people will hear on the tour will be how one of the Ellensburg’s most noted artists, Richard Elliott, created the designs in the downtown sidewalks.

Honored artist

This year’s honored artist is Don O’Connor. On the national level, O’Connor is best known as the artist who created the mural on the side of the Roslyn Cafe building, which was used during the intro to the “Northern Exposure” television show.

Since 1995, though, O’Connor has focused on light-reflective media.

O’Connor talks about his art in one the “I Made This,” videos accessed off the Gallery One website.

Miller said the event has honored an artist or group each of the past seven years.

“It started as a way for us to feature an artist and educate the community about someone who has chosen to make their life here and to make their art here,” Miller said.

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