The Kittitas Valley is a hub for creative expression, and plays host to a vibrant and growing art community.
Hotel Windrow is inviting that community inside through guest room art, lobby murals, and exterior art installations.
From the exterior walls and lobby area to each individual guest room, visitors will have the opportunity to see Kittitas County artwork up close.
The Hotel Windrow team partnered with Ellensburg’s Gallery One Visual Arts Center to integrate and showcase regional artwork throughout Hotel Windrow and Basalt restaurant. The Call to Artists went out to artists in Kittitas, Yakima and Chelan counties, and encouraged artists to reflect the nature and place of the Kittitas Valley.
Eight artists will be featured throughout the guest rooms and corridors, and have between two and three pieces each. These artists include Robert A. Fisher, Austin J. Smith, Justin Gibbens, Dana Hunter, Charles McGehee, Gregg Schlanger, Justin Colt Beckman and Scott Mayberry.
An additional art project is the interior lobby mural, created by Justin Colt Beckman. This two-story digital mural will pay homage to the valley’s history, and will feature a variety of unique projections throughout the year. Outside, on the north-facing wall of Hotel Windrow, visitors and locals alike will be able to take in the metal sculpture envisioned and created by blacksmith Maria Cristalli.
Read on to learn more about each artist’s vision, creative process, and artwork featured at Hotel Windrow.
Based around an investigation of the unique characteristics of small-town life and the rural landscape, Justin Colt Beckman’s work explores the dichotomy of urban and rural cultures and their associated stereotypes. Essentially a city boy with country boy tendencies, he uses design, photography and film, site-specific works, and new-media to engage with and better understand his rural surroundings.
Beckman received a BFA from Art Center College of design in 1998 and an MFA from Central Washington University in 2008. He is an assistant professor of graphic design at CWU and enjoys a rural lifestyle with a home and studio in the small community of Ellensburg, Washington. He is a founding member of PUNCH Gallery, an artist-run space in Seattle’s Pioneer Square (2008-2016), and serves as board president for the rural arts collective PUNCH Projects.
Beckman has exhibited work both locally and nationally including Art Share in Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; G.A.S.P. in Boston, MA; Tacoma Art Museum’s 8th Northwest Biennial; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY. He is a past recipient of an Artist Trust Gap Grant and a 4-Culture Site-Specific Project Grant, and has work in the permanent collection at Tacoma Art Museum.
Robert’s work centers on the landscape of eastern Washington and Oregon where vastness, light and geology play with and against each other; the Yakima River canyon is a frequent subject. What really interests him is the space that landforms and air occupy – how solid and void interact, and how they both change with time, season and weather. To paraphrase Matisse, “I don’t paint things, I paint the space between things.”
Robert originally wanted to study architecture, and it has been said that his paintings have a kind of architectural rigor to them. He graduated with a BFA from the University of Washington (1978; double major in painting and art history) and an MFA from Central Washington University (1982). From second generation Abstract-Expressionists he learned composition, color control, process and theory. He returned to realism in 1990.
For thirty years Robert taught college art and humanities courses. With their retirement, he and his wife built their studio here because, of all the places either of them have lived, the Kittitas Valley is the one place that feels like home.
Justin Gibbens is a central Washington-based artist who creates images of a forgotten natural history, often blending reality and imagination.
He exhibits throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. When not is his studio, Gibbens spends his time spotting birds and chasing after reptilian inhabitants of the shrub-steppe.
Dana Hunter is a digital artist who trained and worked over 14 years as an architectural drafter and designer. Her workflow starts with photographs gathered from historic databases or from her personal travels—images of hotels, coffeeshops, drive-in restaurants, and other businesses with eye-catching signage.
She transforms her photos into whimsical illustrations with the feel of a vintage postcard or faded comic book page. Dana lives and works locally in historic downtown Ellensburg, at the heart of her subject matter.
For thirty-five years Charles McGehee taught sociology at Central Washington University. A firm believer that life doesn’t end with retirement, McGehee, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, has returned to his childhood love of photography graduating from box cameras and developing film in the bathtub to digital cameras and computers.
For him, photography is not just a hobby, but rather an art form which allows him to share widely his experiences and perceptions with others. Influenced in art and photography by his older brothers, his high school art teacher, Martha Abbott, and 19th Century German romanticism, he has traveled widely in North America and Europe “painting with pixels” the shapes and colors of a vanishing world.
His works have been displayed in juried exhibitions in Central and Eastern Washington, Seattle and the Puget Sound area, the San Francisco Bay area, New York and Berlin, Germany.
Gregg Schlanger is a Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art + Design at CentralWashington University in Ellensburg, Washington. He received his BFA from Boise StateUniversity in 1987 and his MFA from Northern Illinois University in 1989.
Gregg’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. This includes a public art project for North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington, a community public art commission for the City ofMemphis, Tennessee, a community project for the City of Providence,Rhode Island and a commission for the public library in Owensboro, Kentucky. Gregg has participated in exhibitions in New York, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Idaho,Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. His work has also been exhibited in Berlin, Erfurt, Potsdam and Jena, Germany. He has received many awards including Sponsorship by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Israel-Tennessee Visual Artist Exchange Project Fellowship, USIAArts America Grant and New Forms Regional Initiative Grant from the NEA.
Gregg works primarily in installations, digital collage and community public art. He is interested in exploring through his artwork with the potential of creating a better “sense of place” (leading to a respect for that place and the environment).
Scott Mayberry is a painter and mixed-media sculptor with a taste for magic realism. His work explores the distance between the everyday narrative of who we think we are, and the surprises that in an ever-evolving world wait just beyond our view.
From bionic flowers to crashing UFOs, Scott’s work fuses the wildness of the natural world with the unexpected elements of modern living. Aside from a sojourn to Texas for his MFA, Scott is a lifelong Ellensburg resident.
He thrives in the physical and spiritual space of rural life, and taps into that freedom to create work that infuses viewers with a sense of whimsical possibility
I get inspired by working at the forge. I love the material, the process and the experimentation that I can do with fire, hammer and anvil. With each project I take the years of experience I have and explore what else I can do with hot iron, always keeping craftsmanship, integrity and a graceful aesthetic as a primary intention.
I have been blacksmithing for 28 years. I spent my developing years as a smith apprenticing with master smiths and taking classes. It takes a long time to become a good smith, and there is always more to explore! I design and forge architectural ironwork, home furnishings, ironwork for the garden, as well as sculpture.
Whether working alone or in collaboration with architects, designers or individuals, I always enjoy the challenge of expressing the client’s personal aesthetic, along with my own. I apply traditional, hand forging techniques to functional items and my sculpture. My work is modern and bold, but also very tactile and graceful.