In Ellensburg, Washington you’ll find unusual public art, a First Friday Art Walk and several fine art galleries. Ellensburg is a country town that embraces public art. There are artist-designed bus shelters, metal sculptures by a well-known Seattle artist as well as a Barn Quilt Trail. There's plenty to do in Ellensburg Washington. But, what wowed me on our tour of interesting art was a visit to the colorful, quirky, funky Dick and Jane’s Spot.
About Dick and Jane’s Spot
Dick and Jane's Spot was a stop on the tour of public art put on by the Kittitas County Historical Museum and is located just a few blocks away from the museum at First Avenue and Pearl Street in central Ellensburg. The home and surrounding yard are so full of reflector art, you can’t miss it, even from a distance.
Local artist Jane Orleman and her late husband, Dick Elliott, spent more than 35 years amassing this collection of folk art from more than 40 northwest artists. It is on their home, in their home, and throughout the yard. Everything is covered with highway reflectors, 10,000 bottle caps, colored glass bottles, and surprising things like spoked wheels.
And Jane keeps things going. If something falls down or deteriorates, she puts up more art. You must walk slowly around the house as there is something to see on every side. My favorite piece was “Big Red,” a topless pink woman with a road reflector face and nipples. At one point in time, she was a very controversial addition to the collection.
About the Artists
Dick and Jane are local artists and received Bachelors in Art degrees from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. They have received numerous grants for their art, and their home has become a tourist attraction featured on such websites as Roadside America. Jane is a painter.
The house remains Jane Orleman's studio and home, so visitors are cautioned to not park in front of the house or bother the occupants. There’s plenty to see from outside the decorated picket fences and it’s all colorful and amazing.
When You Go to See Dick and Jane’s Spot
Consider going on a first Friday of the month. The Ellensburg First Friday Art Walk is a downtown event that showcases different forms of art in galleries and non-traditional spaces in Ellensburg. The art walk was established to honor local artists and their work. Most venues are open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It's a leisurely and social event with some galleries serving wine and appetizers. Follow the map, enjoy the art, and then take a little detour to Dick and Jane’s Spot.