Turn left upon entering the gallery and you might notice something new: a 'Theme Wall.' What would have previously been considered prime display space inside the local gallery is now no longer available for artists to rent. Instead, it is a space that gallery manager Krista Little saves for her artists on display to express themselves individually through an additional piece of art they can contribute under a common theme. Currently, that theme is 'What If?'
The propensity to dole out assignments -- and they're completely voluntary -- comes naturally to Little, 35, who previously taught art classes and theory in Vancouver, B.C. But the inspiration is genuine. "I want to help them to better find their voice through art," she said.
Little came to this position after previous manager retired. She and her husband had moved to the Plateau area about two years ago from Canada. Little earned a masters degree in arts education there and had displayed her art for about a year or so prior at Arts Alive! before taking over the position.
Her goal in her new role: "I want to help Enumclaw and the Plateau area fall in love with art."
The best way to do that is to show them beautiful art and get them in the classroom, she said.
In curating the exhibits on display in the gallery, Little said she loves a lot of the landscape work that local artists produce, obviously inspired by living in the foothills of Mount Rainier. Her intent is to ensure there is a good variety of expression and she especially encourages art that is both mature but also takes a chance.
To help local residents reach that point in artistic expression, Little also oversees an assortment of classes for people of all artistic abilities. The classes are not new to the gallery though schedules have been revamped for the spring and beyond. Lynest continues to teach two of the open studio classes each week. Visit www.plateauartsalive.org for more information about classes offered.
As part of the managerial transition, Little said she's also proud of the updates that have been made to Arts Alive's website in not only providing better and clearer information about the gallery and the arts organization that oversees it but also art in the larger Plateau community. "We want to support the arts as a whole in the community," she said.
Though she is still relatively new to the area, Little acknowledges that she comes into a community that is steeped in art appreciation and has inherited an impressive legacy from Lynest. Now it's time to kick it up a notch. "Something good is going on here and we're ready to take it to the next level. ... Let's thrive."