10x10x10xTieton yet again hosts exceptional jurors who represent a wide perspective of art, craft, curating, and community engagement. Meet one of the 2018 jurors, Monica Miller, Executive Director of Gallery One Visual Arts Center of Ellensburg, Washington.
To help you get to know her a little better, we invited Monica to share about themselves.
Can you share with us a little about Gallery One Visual Arts Center in Ellensburg, WA, where you are Executive Director?
Like Tieton, our existence is still a surprise to many, what with us being out here in the middle of the state. You sort of have to bust through the invisible force field of gas stations and fast food restaurants to find us. We're in a historic building, but we have a contemporary vibe. We try and pack every square inch of the gallery with artwork and with people. To do that we have regularly rotating exhibits, studio spaces for artists, classrooms for artists of all abilities on the third floor, five gallery-like spaces (including the hallway), a gift shop, and a great ceramics studio. We even painted a mural in the alley adjacent to the gallery. We want people to have access to the arts regardless of their income or ability. Our goal is to offer a range of entry points. From the skeptic to the optimist, the beginner to the most accomplished artist, we want to give each person a chance to discover and explore their creative self, as well as be inspired by others.
Per your experience working in Seattle and now in Ellensburg (population ~20,000), how do you view the role of art and creativity in smaller, more rural towns versus larger cities?
Since moving to Ellensburg, I have learned so much about the impact that art can have on people's daily lives. I've been able to see specifically and intimately how art can affect multiple aspects of what makes a healthy community. Whether it be the health benefits art has on those who’ve experienced brain trauma, or the impact art has on local businesses when we have a First Friday, the effect is truly tangible. Since the City of Ellensburg voted to create a percent for art plan, the visual impact the arts can have has become even more apparent. Where there was nothing, now there is art! I feel the various sectors (health, government, university, schools, businesses, etc.) are open to and responsive to the benefits that art has in their lives and are part of a coalition of people interested in creating a happy, healthy community where art thrives. All of that is present in Seattle too, I know after living there for 12 years, it's just more intimate and direct here.
What exciting things are planned for this year at Gallery One?
Where to begin? This month we are exhibiting 12 photo wall boards from artists and arts organizations from around the state. Visitors are invited to literally get #intoart and share their photos on social media. It's a fun way to break the boundaries that often exist in gallery spaces and get people to imagine themselves as Sasquatch, a bush (literally), or a cowboy. One of the pieces was contributed by Steve Morgan, who was inspired by the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Tieton. This summer we celebrate our 50th Anniversary with a floor to ceiling exhibit of artists who have exhibited here over the past 50 years. That opening weekend (July 6-8), artists in Kittitas County will open their studios for a fun day of studio visits! We're open seven days a week too, so I invite anyone driving by on I-90 to pull over and visit us! Also, in October, we're hosting the Washington State Arts Alliance's Cultural Congress. Arts advocates will gather, dialogue, learn from each other, and ultimately develop a statewide agenda for the ARTS. I feel very positive about the cohesion building around the arts in the state right now. Our current #intoart exhibit reflects that connectivity.
Why is celebrating small art like 10x10 important?
Small art is important because it can live anywhere. It can also be more affordable and portable. I love art that doesn't have to feel like it belongs in "the Met" or that might dominate your living space. Rather, I love art that can simply move in with you and cohabitate with you and your family, creating dialogue with you and any of your other personal objects. What I've experienced by going to these 10x10 shows over the past years is that the size gives artists a chance to play because, for many, the stakes aren't as high as they are with larger pieces of art. There have been a lot of artists whose work I thought I knew until I saw their submission to the show.
What will you be looking for in submissions?
I'll be looking for those moments, those pieces, that make me pause and make me want to linger longer.