wenaha gallery art gifts dayton

The Journey Continues: Wenaha Gallery Closes September 30, 2022

wenaha gallery art gifts dayton

Through the years, Wenaha Gallery has sought out skilled and talented Pacific Northwest artists for their paintings, sculpture, pottery, woodwork, jewelry, and more

I like to think of life as a journey.

Every day we get up, and regardless of how far we walk, by evening we are in a different place than where we started in the morning. May be better, may be worse, probably in between, but different. Even if we just sit by the road, leaning against our backpack, we don’t stay static.

And so we come to Wenaha Gallery, and its journey in the business community, and to you and me, dear readers, and our eight-year long relationship together of my writing about Pacific Northwest regional artists at the gallery.

prints art wall bin hallway

Wenaha has made a point of carrying both original artwork and prints, and each month its walls look different, as new art arrives to replace that which sells

This September 30, after nearly 30 years in business, Wenaha Gallery of Dayton, WA, closes its doors. It’s not for lack of business, which is brisk. In a world where so much is artificial, covered with a shallow veneer of shiny materialism and brittle ambition, the human soul seeks meaning, value, goodness, joy, freedom, worthiness, and truth, and art is uniquely poised to provide that.

And art, though it is not Science, has a way asking questions, poking at the conventional, distrusting authority, exploring options, looking for answers beyond what we’re instructed to believe. Sort of like what we’re told science does.

New Stage of the Journey

No, Wenaha is closing because our owner, Pat Harri, is ready to retire, to move onto a different stage of her journey, to spend more time with family and friends. She has chosen this time to do so, and we honor her for it, as well as wish her the best of the best on her walk. Pat, our framer Savonnah, gallery associate CJ, and I are all picking up our backpacks and continuing on our journey. As are you as well, dear readers.

And I hope that you, on your life’s journey, will continue to make art a part of it, to incorporate paintings, drawings, pottery, wooden boxes, jewelry, sculpture — made by the hands of real people — into your homes and lives. In the nearly nine years I have been writing for Wenaha, we’ve touched upon the stories of more than 250 skillful, energetic, creative artists, most of them from Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, and Idaho. In other words, they live close to us, and it’s not impossible for us to contact them directly, see their studios, ask them questions about their work, and find something they have created that touches our heart.

pacific northwest wall art gallery wenaha

One entire wall of the gallery has always been devoted to the work of regional, Pacific Northwest artists (and it’s never been big enough!)

Make that part of your journey, friends — this quest for something that touches your heart. Don’t worry — as we’ve been directed to do for so many years — about buying the “right” kind of art that the “experts” pronounce as correct and appropriate. In our lifetimes, we’ve heard enough from more than enough “experts” to start questioning a few motives, and the art world is no exception. Corporate interests make money off the choices you make, and it’s to their benefit to push your choices toward their interests.

On Your Journey, Ask Questions

If you, like many people, say, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like when I see it,” then don’t let any expert nudge you away from what you like toward what they say you ought to like. It’s your heart, your home, your personality, your life. If you feel insecure about your lack of knowledge, then do something about it. Generally, the best way to increase our knowledge of any subject is to start asking questions, and there’s nothing ludicrous at all about the question,

“So . . . what makes this artwork good?” If someone rolls their eyes at you or makes you feel stupid for asking, then move on, and find someone else who will take time to answer your questions. Many independent artists, if they don’t feel like you’re pumping them for secrets on their techniques, enjoy talking about why they do what they do, and a competent artist can converse with you about the rudiments of the skills he or she employs to create their art.

Trust Yourself

Because art, while it is subjective, does fall into the categories of “good” and “bad,” with the former exhibiting the time and effort the artist has invested to understand and successfully use his or her medium of choice. The latter comes from the hands of an amateur (who may be good someday), or a schemer, or a charlatan. It’s not enough to “feel like” you can do art, any more than you can “feel like” being a dentist.

I could go on (and on, and on) but I’ll leave it with this: trust yourself. You’re not stupid. Ask questions, read, research, learn, recognize how much you still don’t know, and keep going. Don’t let any one person or philosophy be your guru. Dig in your heels and resist when you’re instructed to accept, without question, what “other people” say.

And buy what you like.

Wenaha GalleryWenaha Gallery remains open until September 30, 2022, both at 219 E. Main Street, Dayton, WA and online at We are marking our last day with Cake All Day, our traditional celebration of our anniversary. Drop in anytime from 9 to 6, enjoy a slice of cake, and chat with us. We look forward to seeing you before then, and on that day!

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at



The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

Sharing the Studio with Dogs — The Watercolor Art of Jan Taylor

The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

While initially, it may seem that there is little in common between four Dachshunds, the canals of Venice, and the Paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux, it all makes sense to watercolor artist Jan Taylor.

White Lily by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

White Lily by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Taylor, who has traveled on every continent, paints what she sees, and while she is devoted to one artistic medium, she allows herself the freedom to paint any subject, from safari animals to florals, from antique still life to portraits of Dachshunds which Taylor, by close association, knows are rarely still — or quiet.

“We own three and a half Dachshunds,” Taylor says, her own voice expressing wonderment at the quantity. “One of them is a cross — he doesn’t care, and he thinks he’s quite superior to the girls.”

The “girls” are Lucy, Debbie, and Scarlotte; the mutt is Oliver Twist because he was a foundling, and all four have been featured in paintings by Taylor. Lucy was painted on a cloud with a glittering necklace adorning her neck (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”); the entire menagerie found itself in “The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux,” a whimsical nod to primitive cave art that caught the eye of a collector in Coeur d’Alene.

Yellowstone Lord by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Yellowstone Lord by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Apparently, Taylor is not alone in her attraction to small, self-confident, yappy (her own observation) animals, as every painting she has created of Dachshunds has found a happy owner.

“I’ve never had more than one dog before,” Taylor muses. “It’s out of hand now. But my husband is a willing perpetrator of it because you couldn’t do it otherwise. Who else would put up with this?”

TePees Three by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

TePees Three by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Acknowledging a love for whimsy, Taylor incorporates a sense of fun and quirkiness in many of her works, but true to her style of not limiting herself to a style, she explores worlds and vistas that reflect life around her, wherever she happens to be that day: her floral works are bold and audacious; her view of Venice channels the viewer between buildings converging into one’s space; three tepees in a meadow acknowledge the artist’s ability to create stories from their surroundings.

“I believe that artistic expression is the fun part of life,” Taylor says. “When I like a work I’ve created, it’s a joy to me, and I hope to others as well.”

Taylor comes to the art studio from what many would consider the completely opposite world of business and computers, having taught 30 years in community colleges primarily in Spokane. Upon retirement, she took up drawing and painting, just . . . because.

Vine Art by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Vine Art by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

“I can’t talk about some interior drive where I had to express myself — I just started painting for fun.”

She educated herself through college classes and private workshops, benefiting from Spokane’s ability to attract top teachers.

“There are nationally known people who travel through, who have television shows and things like that. One of my favorite workshop teachers was Lian Zhen, an international watercolor artist from China.”

Since moving to Richland two years ago, Taylor has thrown herself into the local art scene, meeting regularly with fellow artists from the online cooperative, Cyber Art 509 ( started by Tri-Cities artists Patrick and Patricia Fleming as a means of connecting creative people in the 509 area code region.

“I have a lot of fun with these people, and we get together a couple times each month. I get to see their work, and that’s inspiring.

“About 20 of us get together and paint and critique and have demos.”

With 30 years of teaching behind her, and extensive exposure to art classes and workshops, does she lead some of these demos?

“Oh no,” she demurs. “I do not feel that I have an art education.”

The niceties of distinctions aside. Taylor is a student who continuously teaches herself, and she treasures the hours she spends in her 500-square-foot home studio, replete with all the counters and storage an artist could want, as well as a grand, east-facing window which bathes the room with light.

Oh, and there are the doggie beds, because that is where Lucy, Debbie, Scarlotte, and Oliver love to be.

“If I’m in the studio, they’re in there too.”

Wenaha GalleryJan Taylor is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 11 through Saturday, February 6.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.