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Art Galleries in Central Washington

May 15, 2023

Nestled in between the Puget Sound and the dry grasslands of western and eastern Washington lies the topographically diverse landscapes of Central Washington. Cascades on one side and rolling plains on the other, the valley offers so much to visually appreciate. It’s no wonder artists from all over the Northwest feel inspired to recreate their PNW visions. Working between multiple mediums, artists have been creating and displaying all sorts of different pieces across Kittitas County, coming together to create multiple art districts. Tourists and locals are able to take in the views of the surrounding outdoors as well as in many galleries.


Located just 80 minutes outside of Seattle, Wa at the foothills of the Cascades, resides a little town with a great history of mining. The coal fields just outside of the town of Roslyn, played a pertinent and indispensable role in fueling the Northern Pacific Railroad’s journeys through the Cascades. Although the coal mines closed in the 1960’s, many of the worker’s families still live in the area and continue to celebrate the rich history. One gallery in particular is The Minor in Art Fine Art Gallery. This gallery features local artists such as Catherine Johnson, the owner of The minor in Fine Art, who captures the joy of people and their animals. Beth Kehole, who is also featured in the gallery, creates life size oil paintings of people in the wilderness. Prints and books by Vikram Madan, an award winning author and artists are also sold there. Feeling inspired? The Minor in Fine Art also offers classes, private teaching events, and other art classes.


As you venture out of Roslyn and into Cle Elum, you can still feel the legacy from past generations of miners and loggers as you enter the burrowed mountain town. From humble beginnings, Cle Elum has evolved into an epicenter of adventure and creativity. With echoes of old tales and historical art that hangs a glimpse into the past, you can feel the connections between the charming present day town and its working class beginnings. In 1989 the Carpenter Family donated their 1914 mansion and all of its original furnishings to the Historical society. The third floor ballroom holds the story of Cle Elum’s first successful banker and former mayor, a story of luxury. Many local families have also donated a few of their ancestral pieces for viewing in the third floor ballroom. Architecture, fashion, and various pieces of displayed art make the Carpenter House Museum a transcendent gallery that the whole family can enjoy.

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The snow capped peaks of the cascades are one of Washington’s natural, organic galleries. Okay, it may be true but also a bit of a stretch. However, the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum takes museum to gallery with their various exhibits including Washington Sport Venues, Ski Mountaineering, Snow Sport Enthusiasts and Cartoon Artist, Bob Cram. His exhibit features a medium sized interactive monitor (on a table with a stool for viewers) that has two options. First, visitors will be able to view cartoons by the internationally acclaimed cartoonist, Bob Cram. Second, photos and a short biography of the many prominent personalities in Washington snow sports are available for viewing. The Exhibit also displays original pieces from Bob Cram as well. With numerous interactive viewing experiences this is one Gallery you’ll want to make sure to take the exit for.

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Whether you’re headed east-bound or west-bound you will absolutely want to take a little time, a lot of time to check out Ellensburg’s Art District. Ellensburg’s devotion to Visual Arts has created a town-wide art district that stimulates and inspires not only art enthusiasts but the everyday tourist. The outpouring of local support for artists has elevated this town to an art treasure. The variety of outdoor art, sculpture art, even community and student art adorns the various buildings, galleries, and local shops.

Some of the most obvious pieces of art are the murals painted around town decorating historic buildings. Some murals are vivid, painted with bright lively colors and others have weathered decades but all nod to the present day diversity and western history of the town and its residents. The most famous mural was painted on the corner of one of Ellensburg’s most distinguished buildings, spanning 22ft wide and 13ft tall. Phoenix Rising was painted in 2005 representing Ellensburg’s rebirth after the Great Fire of 1889. Mural art has been a part of Ellensburg since the 1800’s with many of the originals being restored; you’ll be able to see murals throughout the streets, alleyways, and even rooftops.


While you’re roaming the streets of Ellensburg’s art district, mosey over to Dick and Jane’s located on 1st and Pearl street! A playful display of reflective road art accumulated and repurposed for over 40 years furnishes their outdoor living space. This exuberant display of  over 10,000 bottle caps and thousands of reflectors can be enjoyed from the street and sets an extremely eccentric bar for home art.


If you are looking for more traditional art, Ellensburg has an astonishing amount of galleries. Ellensburg’s Clymer Museum of Art showcases the art of John Ford Clymer. Clymer and his wife dove through history to find never before captured events for Clymer to paint. His paintings depict the beauty and intricacy of Northwestern life. The gallery not only presents Clymer Originals, but local artists as well, inspired by Clymer’s view of Western culture.

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By now, it is undeniable the rodeo influence over this town has been passed down through generations. You’ve seen the Bucking Cowboy Mural and wandered through the Clymer museum now giddy up to the Goodey Gallery. Here you will find Western Fine Art interlaced with western artifacts. The gallery hosts artist meet and greets, exhibitions, and sells intricate and handmade pieces of art. Be sure to stay in the know to attend their rotating events by visiting their facebook page.


Gallery One, the epitome of galleries in Ellensburg. This open concept gallery showcases local, national and international artists. They feature various visual art pieces and host a quality gift shop that features handcrafted art by Washington State and Pacific Northwest artists that include unique jewelry, ceramics, paintings, original prints, photographs, and oftentimes seasonal inspirations. Beyond the giftshop, Gallery One offers education programs, art classes, networking opportunities, and studio space for resident artists.

See what’s happening during your next trip!


The Nu-est gallery in town goes by the name of Nuwave and is a contemporary art gallery located in the historical downtown art district. Collaborating with Fortuity Cellars, they have created a space for all to come be immersed in award winning wine, compelling connections, and above all, the exquisite art of Erin Oostra. This Gallery contributes an entire wall to showcasing the works of aspiring artists in the community as well as donating the proceeds of donated art to a non-profit organization chosen quarterly. Amazing views, delicious wine, community outreach, just when you thought this gallery offers it all they give a little more. As an active member of the 1% for the Planet network, Nuwave donates 1% of all their proceeds to overcoming some of the planet’s most concerning issues. Talk about wow! Plan your visit, give a little time- and gain memories that last a lifetime.


It’s been quite a ride but You can’t forget about the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery at Central Washington University, where some of the freshest, developing art talent can be found. The gallery was created in memory of Sarah Spurgeon, a celebrated art professor at CWO. Navigating the inspired pieces of CWU’s students and faculty you’ll find yourself taking in the new up and coming designs. Parading and pondering various mediums of art including photography, painting, jewelry, sculpture, collage, mixed media, pen & ink, lithographs and more. Shows and exhibits are constantly changing and rotating, creating a fresh experience to ponder every time.


With Ellensburg in the rear view and your “see you later”s said, roll down the windows and feel the sun on your face- you’re free to hit the open trail. Oh yep, the Barn Quilt trail! Kittitas County is the first county in the state to have a barn quilt tour. The barn quilts honor Kittitas County’s agricultural industry and are displayed all throughout the county. The designs vary, and are often personalized by the property owner to acknowledge a loved one or the property’s history. There are many on display from Cle Elum, to the Thorp road stop, to several hung around Ellensburg. Other easy-to-find barn quilts in the Upper County include the starburst patterned quilt on the Nelson Dairy Farm barn in Suncadia, Roslyn, and the barn quilt at the South Cle Elum Historic Rail Yard. One requirement is that they have to be on a well-traveled (usually paved) road, so they can be easily viewed from the roadway making this excursion one that’s easy to roll with. For more information and a map, visit our blog!

Central Washington’s warm rolling hills, snow-capped Cascades, and illuminating galleries puts Kittitas County as an epicenter for Artistry of all kinds all year round. Whether you’re in to winter sports, western art, historical architecture, chasing barn quilts in the sun, or just like to browse and find a nice patio to sip some wine, Central Washington has you covered. So, do your eyes a favor and visit all the art districts that Central Washington has to offer.

Plan your adventure today!

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