Uniontown Creativity Center

Uniontown Community Development Association

Funding Received: 2013
Uniontown, WA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 24, 2013

Decorated public art tractor; photo by Gene Dixon


Dahmen Barn facility expansion
We met with RGU Architects to review their proposal for the master site plan for the Dahmen Barn, which includes the two-plus acres now leased by UCDA. A driveway from the highway that connects with the Barn parking area is planned, along with parking for cars and long vehicles like tour buses and those pulling trailers. The parking will be on both sides of the new driveway and an overflow area for large events during good weather will be built on the south side. An information kiosk is planned along with picnic tables, a gazebo in the style of an agricultural outbuilding, and art installations. The amphitheater on the west hillside is still undefined. The architect proposed that we have a long term plan to nestle glass and welding hot shops back into the hillside—a good solution because of the code restrictions and related costs that would apply if these were incorporated into the addition. The amphitheater will have to be thought through in relation to those studios; it will be easier to visualize once the new structure is in place. The architects made two preliminary proposals on the floor plan and form for our new space and we had a long discussion about how each would look as a replacement to the old outbuilding that will be dismantled. The architect will send us some renderings showing both proposals in relation to the Barn. The old building will come down within the next month, and the barn boards and rusted metal will be salvaged for use in the new building.

We met with a person from the WSU Extension Service who had worked with Sur La Table in setting up culinary arts programs in their retail stores nationwide. The structure of our program will dictate how we plan our kitchen and she gave us a lot to think about. She is willing to consult long distance as needed.

Public Art
Both pieces of public art are complete and installed! The tractor and wagon have been decorated for fall and have caught the attention of those who drive by. The wagon will be used for seasonal decorations as well as signs announcing community events.

The cow is all done and was worth waiting for! Her head swivels in the wind and the cowbell around her neck rings. The artist is creating a cat to sit beneath her udder. She sits adjacent to the highway and gets lots of honks. We had a contest to give her a name, which was chosen by Junette Dahmen, donor of the Barn to the community. One hundred names were submitted. Junette chose the name “Wheeletta,” and one of our board members suggested the last name of Wholesteel. The cat will be called “Dahmen Doodles.” Those who submitted the winning names will be rewarded with ice cream, of course.

We thank the National Endowment for the Arts for funding these two fun pieces. The creative use of old metal agricultural equipment demonstrates Uniontown’s farming roots as well as the town now being an art place.

Recent Wins
The editor and photographer from Northwest Travel Magazine made a tour through our area and were very impressed by Artisans at the Dahmen Barn as well as the public art. We are excited to see their article about SE Washington State.

Luckily, we shipped off the ornaments for Washington DC’s National Christmas Tree made by our local school in conjunction with Artisans at the Dahmen Barn early enough that they were received before the government shutdown. Kindergarten through 7th grade in our school created ornaments using local themes as well as crops farmed in our Palouse region.

The 7th anniversary of Artisans at the Dahmen Barn is this month. We opened in 2006 in a building that was partially finished inside. However, we rented out all the studio spaces before they were complete and still have a waiting list today! We began bursting at the seams in 2010 and in 2011 began planning for an expansion. We are thrilled to have the ArtPlace Foundation funding so we can build the new structure rather than endure a dragged-out, pay-as-you-go project.