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New art gallery will open


James Pakootas, left, and Ted Piccolo stand inside the new art gallery in Grand Coulee next to art by Leighton Johnson, who made the metal art shown; Charles Garcia, who did the paintings shown; and Brian Hickson, who made the flutes. - Jacob Wagner photo

A new art gallery in Grand Coulee will be showing and selling art by established artists as well as by up-and-comers.

Located on Spokane Way, Titwáatit Native American Art Gallery will be holding its grand opening on Saturday, May 26, when they will be sharing some finger food, hosting live music, having an elder bless the space, and displaying and selling art to the public.

"I've always thought it'd be cool if we had an arts vibe in this town," said Ted Piccolo, executive director for the Northwest Native Development Fund, the organization that is opening the gallery.

"I've had this long-term vision of seeing this Northwest Plateau native area develop," Piccolo said. "When you think of native art, you think of Sante Fe — which is great, they've done it so long and so well — but we've got artists too. We have this definite vibe."

The idea for the gallery has been in development for about five years, Piccolo said, and has picked up steam over the years, in part due to the success of the Plateau Native Art shows that have gone on the past three years.

Program coordinator for NNDF, Cassandra Waters, coordinated last summer's art show at North Dam Park, and also played a role in establishing the gallery.

Artists currently displayed in the gallery include: Ric Gendron, Keith Powell, Cheryl Grunlose, Diane Covington, Joseph Arnoux, Charles Garcia, Brian Hickson, Leighton Johnson, and more.

The art, all for sale, ranges from paintings to beadwork to handcrafted flutes and metal work.

Managing the gallery will be James Pakootas, who will man the shop from 2-7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

"We want to create an environment where we promote the work of emerging artists as well as accomplished artists in the same space and let the emerging artists know, 'Hey, your art is valued; you as an artist are valued,'" Pakootas said.

He said emerging artists often don't value their work as much as they should.

"The greatest success stories come from humble beginnings," Pakootas said, quoting the old saying.

In addition to wanting artists to learn the business of art, Pakootas said it's important to stress "staying true to your core values of whatever it is that brought you into being an artist."

Piccolo said that there will be live art at the space as well, where an artist will paint near a window so that passersby can see the work being created, come in and watch, and the artists can sell some paintings in the process.

The gallery also looks to hold artists workshops and offer classes related to painting, basket weaving, beading, and more to keep the art traditions alive and encourage up-and-coming artists to pursue their crafts.

The grand opening of Titwaatit Native American Art Gallery is set to take place at 2 p.m., May 26, at the gallery located on Spokane Way, next to Flo's Cafe.

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