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By Jesse Utz 

Gems in the Coulee: Keith Powell


When someone mentions artists in the Coulee, we almost always think of Keith Powell. We have all seen his handiwork on buildings, paintings or other stuff around the area, and this Friday a dream of his is coming true as he has a “Grand Opening” of his art gallery in Spokane.

I can remember Keith from when I was very young. He came to our school once, probably for an art lesson or an assembly. What I remember most is he did not look like your average artist. He looked more like a country western singer or a fur trapper from Hudson Bay Company. Later in life I heard that one of his paintings was going to be on a Waylon Jennings album, and since I was a Dukes of Hazzard fan and Jennings wrote and sang the theme song for the TV show, that automatically made me a Powell fan.

Over the years I have interacted with him on different occasions. He was and is considered a close family friend on many different family branches. He seems to be one of the people who are constantly helping, volunteering or showing up to help with events, ceremonies, or just there for moral support. He has had his own battles along the way too, and for me, it just makes me respect him more.

Maybe it is his subject matter or his western style, but I have always seen Keith as a true patron of Coulee Country. He has handled himself with integrity and humility, even in difficult circumstances. He is also a bus driver — one of the most difficult duties to pull off and still keep your cool, but Keith pulls that off too and makes sure our kids get home safely every night. Keith is one of the “Good ol’ boys” like the Jennings theme song says. I am sure he has an orange Charger stashed somewhere too.

So thank you, Keith, for just being you. An artist, a bus driver, a husband and a friend of Coulee Country. Your legacy will forever be etched and painted on all of our lives. Good luck with the new gallery. I, for one, wish you the greatest success.

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