ArtWalk expands to Whitman, Walla Walla Airport

Lea Negrin

On the first Friday of every month, from May until December, Walla Walla art venues and businesses open their doors from 5 to 8 p.m. for the ArtWalk. Of the 31 sites participating in the ArtWalk, three are located on the Whitman College campus.

“I think it’s really good for the community and I wish more people would participate,” said Malynda Poulsen-Jones, visiting assistant professor of art, whose work was showcased at the Sheehan Art Gallery in Olin Hall in an exhibit of professors’ artwork. The gallery celebrated its closing Friday night during the ArtWalk.

While Sheehan Gallery showcased the works of professors,  Fouts Center for Visual Arts hosted student art. Student work tended to depict issues the students wanted to reveal to the public. For example, senior Allie Rood’s piece was a cross made of plastic water containers supplemented by a projected video depicting the water canteens left to aid Mexico-U.S. border-crossers who often face mortal peril due to dehydration.

At Noodle Grotto Studio on Main Street, artist Candace Rose welcomed visitors to view her many photographs and sculptures. After climbing the steep stairs to the Noodle Grotto’s open door, guests were greeted by a type writer perched upon a wine barrel, with the words “Please ‘sign’ the Guest Book” taped below it.

“It’s hard to tell, but every year a few more people come through,” Rose said in reference to the slow but steady trickle of guests. Rose, who has lived in Walla Walla since 1975, has seen the ArtWalk develop from an annual tour of local galleries, called Art Walla, to the anticipated monthly event.

Other popular stops include Willow and the Black Door Galley & Museum of Unnatural History. At Coffee Perk and Sapolil Cellars, works done by local artists are hung on the walls for those who venture in for a drink.

“We do local artists and all different kinds of mediums,” said a Coffee Perk barista.

While the majority of these venues hold work from local artists, this year the Walla Walla Airport added ten exhibits that include international pieces.

Though the Walla Walla ArtWalk has grown, many Whitman students still don’t attend the event.

“I’m hoping to go tonight,” said junior Lara Mehling at the Sheehan Gallery on Friday night. She added that despite knowing about the ArtWalk for some time, she has never participated.

On Friday, Nov. 6, the art businesses of Walla Walla will welcome ArtWalk participants again. The event offers residents and students the chance to mingle while viewing a large variety of works. Because the artists are often present, guests can learn the stories behind the art.

Rose told Noodle Grotto visitors that she discovered the bells featured in several of her 3D pieces when she dismantled a phone years ago so it wouldn’t be as startling when it rang. In her art, the bells chime loudly with the slightest stroke.

“I took those out of old telephones I found in thrift stores,” Rose said.