Museums & Galleries
With the many artisans and creatives living in and around Ellensburg, it is no surprise at the amount of Galleries and museums residing within city limits. Explore artistic destinations like Gallery One, a nonprofit public visual arts center dedicated to showcasing local as well as national and international artists. The Clymer Museum of Art, a haven for Clymer art fans, with one of the largest collections of John F. Clymer originals. The Kittitas County Historical Museum, a great place to learn about the valley’s evolution, with information on pioneers, local Native American tribes, and more. Even the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery at Central Washington University, where some of the freshest, developing art talent can be found.
Clymer Museum and Gallery empowers the western art world by preserving, collecting, and interpreting the art and life of artist John Clymer, his contemporaries, and future generations of artists that depict and focus on the life and country of Clymer’s America. An esteemed collection of Clymer’s work and history is on display as well as rotating exhibitions of selected talent. The gallery participates in the monthly First Friday Art Walk, hosts events, and offers wonderful trinkets in their gift shop.
CWU Japanese Gardens
A space constructed by landscape architect, Masa Muzano to deliver refuge and peace. Standing as a symbol of life, the Gardens mirror Japanese landscape while embracing Washington state nature. Visitors to the garden are reminded of their connection to life and nature, and find a state of calmness amongst the greenery, Japanese rock garden, and running creek to achieve true tranquility.
The Goodey Gallery, a part of The Western Art Association, regularly exhibits and celebrates western-specific works by talented artists in several mediums, from oil paintings to tapestries. The Western Art Association is a vital piece of the Western Culture and Art Center, a non-profit organization to promote, benefit, and strengthen the art and culture of western America. The association holds an esteemed art show annually and has done so for almost 50 years.
All are welcome to Dick and Jane’s Spot, an art site and home. The Spot has been a work in progress for 35 years and while the majority of the art was created by the original Dick and Jane, there is also a collection of works from over 40 northwest artists. What is on display and seen from outside the fence is meant for the public, the rest is private property, so please respect the fence boundaries. The pieces in the yard are always changing. Old pieces decay and new ones take their place.
Leah Polacek Butterfly Garden
What will be one of the only open-air butterfly gardens on a college campus anywhere in the world will be dedicated at Central Washington University on Friday, June 2, at 10 a.m. So says Nan Doolittle, CWU art and family and consumer sciences instructor. The garden is her brainchild. Sadly, it was a brainchild born out of tragedy — the death of her then 31-year-old daughter. The garden is named the “Leah Polacek Butterfly Garden” in her honor.
Located in the unique architecture of historic downtown Ellensburg, Gallery One has experienced many transformations over the years to be the present organization it is today, but the devotion to the visual arts has remained the same. Along with innovative and diverse visual exhibits from local and international artists, the gallery offers a quality gift shop, educational programs, art classes, networking opportunities, and studio space for resident artists. Gallery one actively participates in the community though hosting lectures and shows for Central Washington University art students, First Friday Art Walks, hosting events like Paint Ellensburg, Art About, Jazz in the Valley, Brewfest, and more.
The Thorp Grist Mill is the only remaining mill in Washington state that made the transition from stone buhr to modern rollers. Built between 1880 and 1883, the mill has been lovingly restored and maintained so visitors can take scheduled tours and catch a glimpse of its intrinsic history back to the early days of settlement in the Kittitas Valley.
The historical museum came to life when descendants of Kittitas Valley pioneers decided that artifacts and materials should be collected and maintained that help establish and educate people on the timeline of Kittitas County. As the museum exists today, visitors can observe displays that show nearly every era of Kittitas County life. Over time, new items have been added, but permanent exhibits include the antique doll and buggy collection, historic photographs and slides, Mire’s glass plate negatives, the Native American bag and basket collection and much more.
The Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, named for a beloved past Central Washington University art professor, was created as an avenue for CWU students’, CWU faculty member’s and other artists’ artwork to be shown to the public. Central’s art department is renowned. Many CWU art graduates have gone on to show their work in large cities and opened their own galleries. The gallery displays a large variety of mediums, including photography, painting, jewelry, sculpture, collage, mixed media, pen & ink, lithographs and more. Shows are continually changing and revolving, providing a visitor with something different to admire every time.
How often do we consider our connection to the world we inhabit? The Museum of Culture and Environment’s (MCE) mission is to feature exhibits that provoke visitor’s reflection on that connection. The museum is not typical. The students are at the heart of everything MCE does and not only are they a museum, but a classroom as well where CWU students can practice museum skills. MCE is community-centered, they hold community events throughout the academic year, from live music to workshops and group discussions.
Since 1997, nonprofit association Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame (ERHOF) has been dedicated to the conservation of the Ellensburg Rodeo’s history and traditions. ERHOF collects, preserves, and displays hundreds of priceless rodeo artifacts. Their goal is to maintain the museum and exhibits year-round so that all may enjoy a visual, auditory, and three-dimensional illustration of Ellensburg Rodeo history.