New waves spreading downtown: Nuwave Gallery and Fortuity Cellars open doors on 3rd

Exterior+of+Nuwave+and+Fortuity+Cellars+Tasting+Room.+

MJ Rivera

Exterior of Nuwave and Fortuity Cellars Tasting Room.

MJ Rivera, Staff Reporter

Nuwave

Students and community members looking for a place to sip wine, admire art and get their creative sparks flying need look no further than Nuwave Gallery and Fortuity Cellars on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Main Street. The location held its grand opening during the weekend of Jan. 13 – 15.

According to gallery owner, curator and featured artist Erin Oostra “new wave” is a movement or trend within the arts specifically. 

“As an artist myself, waves were one of the first things that I started painting when I started painting on larger canvases,” Oostra said.

Oostra said her vision for the gallery is to provide inspiration for people to start or continue creating art, or to simply enjoy it. Nuwave is an inviting space without the stuffiness of a typical art gallery, according to Oostra. 

“I think a lot of it has to do with the partnership with Fortuity,” she said. “There’s always someone here, there’s wine, but you don’t have to drink or be 21 to come in.” 

According to Oostra, the gallery will offer snacks, soft drinks and beer. She said the space will provide a place to sit down “without the pressure of someone watching you look at art.”

Oostra said the space will also feature a “creative table” in a lounge area where guests can make their own art.

Grand opening weekend

Oostra gave a walkthrough of her gallery to all the community members and students who attended the grand opening on Jan. 14. Her art circles around the interior, starting on the right side of the gallery with paintings that include symbolic gold and white tones and shapes. 

Oostra is a fan of the writings of John O’Donohue, who she said she took inspiration from in her description of her collection. 

Oostra spoke about her work at the event: “Take a moment here and step back and think about presence in terms of the land before us, the space that surrounds us, the dirt that we live on, the air that we enjoy every day that it carries a weight beyond words. This land connects us with the people who have preceded us, tribes, ancestors, founders and family. Standing in this historical remembering, we can see that we are blessed to be here.”

Part one of her collection includes geometric symbolism. Oostra said, “the circle is an ancient form that signifies continuity, belonging and permanence. The triangle, especially the inverted triangle, represents water with a downward flow, this can represent working together and the union of people. Gold represents the warmth of the sun on the land around us and the hidden beauty of this landscape.” 

Towards the back of the gallery, her collection transitions from light and gold, to black and stark in part two. 

People from Ellensburg and beyond came to see the grand opening tour. Two gentlemen from Selah were smiling and enjoying the art and said  they are the fathers of Emily and Lee, the owners of Fortuity Cellars. 

One of them, Loyd Fergestrom, said, “[Oostra] got a lot of creativity and thought, it’s beautiful how she has the words to describe what she wants to portray.”

Oostra said she is excited to be part of the community, especially after the trying few years the world has gone through. 

About the artist

After getting her start in graphic design, Oostra worked in Seattle for about 10 years. Her background is shown in her art through geometric designs that collide and mix with natural scenery.

“I really loved that because it was artistic in a way and it was business-minded and I could actually make money,” Oostra said. “I always grew up being told that ‘you couldn’t make money as an artist,’ so I never even tried. Once I got into the design world, which I did enjoy and still enjoy, I realized I was spending so much time on the computer that I just kind of needed a creative outlet that wasn’t for anyone except myself.” 

Oostra said she started displaying work at restaurants, coffee shops and galleries until crossing paths with Fortuity Wine Cellars. 

“I didn’t envision myself opening a gallery, but I met Emily and Lee who own Fortuity,” Oostra said. “They have a winery outside of Yakima. I did some events with them, and they came to me almost exactly a year ago today and asked me if I would be interested in expanding my art career by partnering with them and sharing a space together, and that’s how the gallery came about.”

Oostra said her decision to accept their offer was a difficult one to make. 

“I did wrestle with it for a little bit, I didn’t know if that was where I wanted to go, but I quit my corporate job and all that, Oostra said. “It’s all very fresh and new, and it’s fun.”  

Opportunities for CWU art and wine studies students

Oostra is also the first featured artist of 2023 at Nuwave, and her collection is called “Presence to Present.” 

“When I moved here, I really fell in love with the local landscape. I’m an avid hiker and I’m used to the cascades and all the mountains on the west side. I found over here there’s almost a silent beauty full of treasure that you kind of have to search for a little bit more,” Oostra said. “I wanted to highlight that and honor the people who have been here before us, as well as inspiring people to go find those quiet beautiful moments in the local landscape.” 

Nuwave features a Community Wall that anyone can contribute to. When an artist submits art for the community wall, their art becomes a donation under the care of Nuwave gallery. 

“Whether you’re a new student, you’re creating something experimental, this is a space for you to submit your work, see it on a wall, say you showed at a gallery and kind of break down one of those initial barriers that I feel like a lot of creative people have,” Oostra said.

Oostra said that anyone can purchase art from the community wall as well, and all proceeds go to their ‘cause of the quarter,’ which is currently Skookum Kids, a local emergency shelter for children entering foster care.  

“In my personal experience, it gets easier the more you do something and with art or sharing anything creative, it’s so vulnerable,” Oostra said.“This is a way that you can practice sharing and showing which is only going to benefit you and your future.”

Karen Bach, the tasting room manager for Fortuity, said, “I’d really encourage them [students] to come in and try the wines at Fortuity because they are 100% Yakima Valley AVA, which is uniquely different from the royal city AVA or Walla Walla AVA, that people are used to tasting.” 

AVA, or American Viticultural Area, is the region from which grapes are grown that has an effect on the way they grow according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Bach said she is excited about creating a space where students can come together. 

“The cool thing about here is we combine the arts portion at CWU and the wine program,” Bach said. “So it’s a unique space where both of those majors could come in and feel like they’re a piece of something.”

“I think we’re craving more human connection and that is one of our goals here is to connect with people,” Oostra said. “Whether that means talking to people as they come in, or helping people be creative, or encouraging people to share their art or having different types of events that just bring people together. I’m excited to be a part of all of those things. And that’s the difference of me owning a gallery versus me just being a solo artist.”