Our Town

Walla Walla non-profits help make art scene more prevalent

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - If you simply take a walk down Main Street in downtown Walla Walla you may be surprised by what you find.

"Each piece is one of the ingredients of the town," President of the Art Walla Non-Profit Organization Brandon Hallsted said.

Hallsted and his group, Art Walla, worked to implement laws to boost installments of public art in downtown Walla Walla.

"This piece was done by one of the local artist Bill Piper back in 1990 that was before the ordinance was even in place," Hallsted continued.

While Hallsted and Art Walla helped make the town more beautiful with installments, the group also introduced more competition into the art scene community.

”We don't want just any piece of art to be placed anywhere," Hallsted said.

Each piece of art work is hand-picked by Art Walla for quality.

"It also needs to speak to a wider audience," Hallsted continued.

The art is not just supposed to be nice to look at but it’s also meant to represent a cross-section of Walla Walla life.

”It's the perfect marriage if you ask me," Owner of Dama Wines on Main Street in Walla Walla, Mary Derby said.

Derby is just part of the network supporting local artists through wine and helping to boost the local economy.

However, the stage is also another canvas.

"I've come into this community through the stage with each performances I've done,” Mid-Summer Nights Dream Actor and Director of the Walla Walla Community College Theater Arts Program, Kevin Loomer said.

Loomer has also seen the support for the arts first hand.

”This is a great place to perform, people are appreciative," Loomer continued.

The Gesa Powerhouse Theater also continues to live up to it's name.

The non-profit supports actors, productions and also the famous Chamber Music Festival.

“The Chamber Music Festival has become a powerful source of entertainment in this community. The level that they bring is something similar to what you would see in Seattle, New York, San Francisco and in Europe. To be able to share it here with our people in Walla Walla it’s just amazing and to be a part of that with the theater wow!” Gesa Powerhouse Co-Owner Dennis Ledford said.

While art advocates like Hallsted and Art Walla just hope to make the art scene in Walla Walla a bigger and brighter part of history that everyone can enjoy.

“We're carrying on the tradition of what is already here," Hallsted concluded.






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