Students take interning to a whole new level at 420 Loft

By CHLOE RAMBERG, staff reporter

Two of Central Washington University’s brightest stars are making their mark in the downtown Ellensburg art scene.

Ross Quesnell, senior visual art education major, and Naomi Trego, a graduate student in studio art, both began internships at the 420 Loft Art Gallery in Dec. 2012.

Mollie Edson has owned the 420 building since 2006. She began fixing it up and renting it out to tenants when she decided to turn it into an art gallery. Having graduated from Central with a political science degree, Edson needed interns who had more of an art background.

“Both Ross and Naomi have different styles and different experiences,” Edson said. “They work great together.”

Some of their duties as interns include helping display, setting up shows, changing artwork once a month, contacting artists and picking pieces.

Edson said she feels fortunate that both Quesnell and Trego approached her for possible internship opportunities. They have each been very successful in their areas of expertise.

Quesnell has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the George Stillman Two-Dimensional Award, and the Northwest Water Color Society Award.

“He’s what you would call an art school rockstar,” Edson said.

For the past year, Quesnell has been working closely with the downtown community and artists. He was hired by local artist Jane Orleman to work with her late husband Richard Elliott’s collection.

“Dick and Jane” are known in the downtown community for their house on Pearl Street, which they created into an art feature with elaborate sculptures and various other pieces.

Richard Elliott was a famous artist, and Quesnell wanted to display pieces of his work in the 420 Loft.

At first, Jane Orleman politely declined the offer. Quesnell took the extra step and created a 3D gallery with Dick’s work in Google Sketch-Up. He was able to show Orleman exactly what the gallery would look like, and how the pieces would be displayed.

“It totally sold her on the idea,” Quesnell said.

For his efforts, Quesnell will curate the Richard C. Elliott Art Exhibit at the 420 Loft from May 3 to May 31.

The exhibit is a large accomplishment, as the curator has sole responsibility of choosing the art pieces and deciding how they will be displayed.

“People think you come in and just throw pictures on a wall,” Quesnell said.

Quesnell will not only be displaying the pieces, but creating labels and deciding on the formats as well.

Trego has also had her fair share of experiences in the art world. She received her bachelor’s in studio art from Seattle Pacific University and is continuing her education at Central. She is very involved in not only university events, but also in the community.

“I wanted to get involved in events off campus and around the community,” Trego said.

Trego has been involved in the Central Washington Quilt Show and Kittitas County Barn Quilt Trail Dedication.

The show includes over 40 barn quilts from around the state and over 3,000 people are expected for the big opening this weekend.

There will be a bike tour where individuals will be able to view all the barns that have these quilts displayed on them.

“It’s meant to be something that people can see on their own,” Trego said.

Trego has also been working closely with 4H students at the fairgrounds for various art projects related to this event and others.

Trego put a lot of energy to the behind-the-scenes work, and wanted to tie the display in the 420 Loft to the barn quilt project. She was responsible for choosing the pieces that are currently displayed in the gallery, which are various pieces of fabric art by Yakima artist Deborah Ann.

Both Trego and Quesnell have high hopes for their future and are on their way to accomplishing their goals.

Trego’s ideal job is to be an art teacher, preferably for middle school students, who she says are “full of energy.” She wants to share and teach art to the younger generation.

Quesnell enjoyed working in museum studies and also likes working in galleries but has a different goal.

“I want to be a full-time artist,” Quesnell said.

Edson believes in both of her interns and is confident they will achieve all their goals.

“Both Naomi and Ross put a lot of time and energy into their projects; I hope people understand the level of intricacy that goes into their work,” Edson said.