Local bus shelter artwork brings a little color to the world | Newsletter

Ellensburg and the Kittitas Valley are blessed to have many gifted and talented artists, adding their own personal touch to the various projects around town.

The First Friday Art Walk is back in full swing, showcasing several artists in the businesses, galleries and museums in the downtown district. Justin Gibbens and Will Bow painted an original 130-foot by 70-foot piece of work on top of the Elks Building, giving Hotel Windrow customers an exciting view from the Top of the Burg.

Another such unique showcase of local talent is the Central Transit Bus Shelters art project, which now totals 10 art exhibits on the local shelters along the route. The work illuminates the perspective, relationships, and narratives of the artists and the community.

“We’re really happy with it and we’re going to continue to do this. The artists are all local,” Arts Commission president Alex Eyre said. “When we first started this, we were a little concerned there might be vandalism, but hasn’t been any instances at all.

“It has high visibility in the community and we feel the riders really enjoy it and it’s been really successful.

So far nine pieces of art have been installed and the 10th is in the works and will be installed in front of the Ellensburg Public Library.

“The feedback from riders and community members has been extremely positive with some of the many favorites being the collage of birds as they represent riders waiting for the bus,” Central Transit manager Betsy Dunbar said. “If you haven’t seen them all, ride Central Transit and get an up-close look at these amazing works of art.”

Each artist has had an opportunity to put their individual perspective to the work, as well as their interpretation of issues and things important to the community and Kittitas Valley.

Kate Kallio: The shelter art at Ruby and Manitoba is a vibrant depiction of a war veteran playing the march of Duty, Honor, Country and State. “A rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn,” she said.

Renee Adams: The southbound bus shelter artwork at Alder and Helena titled Bee Balm, represents an escapists fairy tale, or a botanist’s fantasy where plants require little more than the detritus of humankind to thrive.

Matt Johnson: The bus shelter is at Alder and Helena northbound where Johnson took inspiration from his own reflections of rides throughout the county. “They are a peaceful escape during which I find myself talking to the animals,” he said.

Tara Pillai: Pillai’s work is a vibrant, brightly painted Ellensburg landscape. This artwork at the Airport and Helena bus shelter is reminiscent of farm fields, blue skies, ponds and beautiful Ellensburg sunsets.

Justin Gibbens: The work at 18th and Brooklane showcases a series of amazing bird collages reassembled in playful and unexpected ways. Gibbens states, “one might imagine these birds assuming human-like qualities as they wait to catch the bus.”

Krista Kok: Kok created a playful image of mountains, hills, windmills, cows and a UFO. This is a “sighting” you must see eastbound on University Way.

Justin Beckman: Beckman captures traditions within our community both from the perspective of the Native Americans and our cowboy heritage at the newly installed bus shelter artwork at Mountain View & Whitman and is truly remarkable and a must see.

Jerry Slough: Moving south to Chestnut and Seattle there is a photograph which is a part of a larger body of work titled, “Constructing Memory.” The work takes an investigative look into how our minds create memory and the relationship between social media and the camera to memory.

Sherry Kaufman: Continuing south to Mountain View and Ruby, is a lively shelter artwork of dancers. “Listen, listen, we hear the birds sing and the musical vibrations of the earth …. Dance, Dance, Dance,” Kaufman said.

Brooklin Shelley: The Ellensburg Public Library has always been a special place for 2006 Ellensburg graduate Brooklin Shelley and her three children. It’s a place of learning, a place of wonder and a place to turn loose the creative juices.

Now she will have a chance to cultivate her artistic ambitions with an art project with the design and creation on glass. Her art will be installed on the bus shelter in front of the library on Third Avenue.

Since her three young children contributed to various aspects of the design and development of the piece, the bus stop project, the 11th shelter around town, is a family affair.

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