Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Does She Do That?

Gallery Director Diane Bartlett and Erica Melville painting

My curiosity seems to lie dormant for long periods. Then the need to know “how” or “why” suddenly demands my attention. The most recent example occurred when my husband and I attended the September 29 opening of the Erica Melville exhibit at The Art Gallery at Lower Columbia College ( We were both impressed with the colorful, nature-inspired painting of the young artist. I looked up her website and then checked the website for Alan Rose who opens at The Art Gallery on November 14. I then had to know: How does Diane Bartlett choose these artists? So I asked her.


The Art Gallery has two exhibits every quarter for a total of eight. Two exhibits are annual–the LCC students and Columbia Artists Association and the LCC faculty show is semi-annual. For the others, Diane sends out a Call for Submissions for solo and group exhibitions from Washington and Oregon artists. Diane has an email list of artists who have indicated an interest in exhibiting ( Diane said she did not limit the first call to regional artists and received submissions from artists as far away as England and Thailand. A very practical reason for local artists is that they are required to bring their artwork to the gallery, saving Diane the time and expense of unpacking, repacking and shipping. It is interesting that most artists do not choose to hang their work.

Diane receives 25-to 50 submissions. The artists are required to submit all application material on a CD, which allows for easy digital sharing with a four-person Advisory Committee. The members of the committee provide feedback to Diane; she “strongly follows their recommendations” in making the final decisions.


The Call for Submissions states “Through exhibitions with diverse perspectives, the gallery is dedicated to providing cultural enrichment to the college and surrounding communities. The gallery has the unique opportunity to schedule exhibits that covers a wide range of styles using various media, and provides a venue for artists whose work is best suited to non-commercial spaces.”

Diane says she is “looking for art not normally seen in the community.” There are also practical considerations. If an artist applies for a solo show, Diane has to determine if the artist has enough work for the space. However, she can combine the work of various artists into one exhibit. The last exhibit, Divergent ART, was a combined exhibit. Diane plans to do more of these shows.

Diane Barlett

Diane has been the Gallery Director for four years. She was born and raised in this area and has a BA in art education. She taught high school art in Quincy, Washington and worked for 21 years in employment security. She took pottery classes at LCC and is now both a painter and a potter

First Thursday Activities – November 3

Broadway Gallery, 1418 Commerce, Longview
Scott McRae (paintings), Marisa Mercure (tiles), Don Quackenbush (stained glass) and Jane Gerdon (felting).
Reception 5:30-7:30pm. Music by Dave Mongeau. Door Prizes.

The Gift Cottage, 1414 Commerce, Longview
Local artists and gourmet food. Door prizes.
Open until 7pm.

Lord & McCord Art Works, 1416 Commerce, Longview
Pam Vawter (watercolor paintings); holiday preview of gifts and decorations by the gallery artists.
Reception 5:30–7:30pm.

Teague's Mezzanine Gallery, 1267 Commerce, Longview
Mary Ann Dawkins (Giclee prints on canvas), Jacquilene Tufts (glass mosaics) and Shirley’s “Faces.”
Reception 5:30-7pm.

The Bistro, 1329 Commerce Avenue, Longview
Wine tasting. Live music. Door prizes. Reservations recommended.
Hours: 5-8pm.

Cowlitz County Historical Museum, 405 Allen St, Kelso
Cowlitz Indian Tribal spiritual leader Roy Wilson will speak on Cowlitz Indian Culture: What Has Changed, What Remains “
Program begins at 7pm; museum open until 9pm.