Preserving the Arts in Ellensburg


Megan Rogers, Staff Reporter

The City of Ellensburg has partnered with the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce, CWU, Ellensburg Downtown Association, Laughing Horse Art Foundation and CenterFuse to create the Ellensburg Community Cultural Arts Plan (ECCAP). The goal of the plan is to help preserve the arts in the Ellensburg community. 

Executive Director of the Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Monica Miller, said that ECCAP is the “brainchild” of the Ellensburg Arts Commission. 

“The City of Ellensburg has an arts commission and they’re responsible for supporting the arts in the city,” Miller said. “We really wanted to bring together different voices and different volunteer organizations and arts organizations together to create sort of a strategic plan or a roadmap of the arts for Ellensburg.” 

Miller said that the hopes for this plan are to create more collaboration, more resource sharing and to achieve more for the community. 

Miller also said ECCAP can help Ellensburg financially by generating income, like tax income, which will allow the community to have better services. 

“Those visitors and community members are investing money in our community and helping to grow and build jobs and sustainability for the people who want to live here,” Miller said.

To help them create this plan, Miller said that they really looked to the community for what they wanted in terms of arts within community. 

To do this, they created a survey that was put on the city of Ellensburg’s website, On the survey, they asked the community what they believed Ellensburg was good at, what they valued about art and what they thought there was room for in Ellensburg. 

With the answers the community provided on the survey, they were able to start identifying the themes of what people wanted.

“Some of the themes that came out of that were a desire for more family and youth programs. For a specific community center that focused on the performing and/or cultural arts,” Miller said. 

Miller said that they also did three focus groups with around 20 community members.

“We kind of dove a little bit deeper with those questions to sort of identify what their interests were,” Miller said. “We tried to get a variety of voices to participate in terms of age, background interests and then pull those together for what’s happening right now.”

Miller said that creating this plan and preserving the arts with the Ellensburg community is important because it is what holds us together. 

“Arts are sort of the glue that keeps us together as a society,” Miller said. “Art in general, can share with us each other’s humanity, that help us uncover each other’s humanity in a way that we might not otherwise have access to.” 

Miller also said that the arts allow us to connect better with our community members. 

“When you have empathy and connectivity between people, you have stronger and more resilient communities,” Miller said.

Miller said the importance of student voice when it comes to creating the ECCAP.

“I would just, love to invite students to participate in some of these many events that are happening downtown and maybe start with First Friday Art Walk,” Miller said. “We can’t emphasize enough how valuable the student voice could be in helping create the future of what this [ECCAP] looks like.”