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The creative process has the reputation of being isolated with artist sequestered in studios and workshops. That’s not the case with the Robert Harrison art installation at Ellensburg City Hall where the public can not only watch the art take shape, but contribute to the final product.

Harrison’s “Ellensburg Cascading Archway” is currently under construction in front of City Hall.

“Phase two has been completed. The final stage will be completed Oct. 1-5,” said Monica Miller, executive director of Gallery One.

Gallery One has partnered with the city of Ellensburg and its Art Commission to commission Harrison to take on the project.

The sculpture will be about 12 feet across and 9 feet high at its highest point. The materials used will be locally sourced reclaimed brick, basalt and wood, and will include two benches by Ellensburg’s John Graf.


Miller said the installation is about to get a lot more colorful. Some of the color will come cascading bricks, which the public will have a chance to assist in creating.

“On Sept. 29 (at Gallery One) people can come in and dunk a brick,” Miller said. “There will be 400 bricks dunked in colors and to be used and added to the crown.”

Miller said the bricks not used as part of the project will be given away at the dedication ceremony tentatively set for Oct. 26.


The city and the gallery partnered to apply for a grant to the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America program.

“It is to support small projects through matching funds,” Miller said.

The endowment grant was for $10,000. The city ended up contributing $15,000. The gallery provides project management.

Miller said the gallery wanted to be part of a project to commemorate it’s 50th anniversary.

Harrison is known for his large scale architectural sculptures and public installations.

“I saw some images of his work in Portland at an ceramics educators conference,” Miller said.

She said she went to Helena, Montana to tour Harrison’s studio and she said it felt like Harrison would be a good fit for an Ellensburg project.

Miller said Harrison will be incorporating Ellensburg elements into the art work including drawings done by students in Gallery One’s art programs.


The city’s contribution comes from the 1 percent for the arts on construction sales tax. Carolyn Honeycutt, economic development manager for the city, said the project is part of the goal to add public art to the city.

“The design works well with the architecture of City Hall,” Honeycutt said. “This is a lovely collaboration with Gallery One.”