Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts

The 38th Annual Event…


In response to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, the staff and board of the Josephy Center must adjust the format and feel of the 38th Annual Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts. Although we won’t be able to gather for our traditional opening celebration, we are creating a virtual presentation of artists’ websites and their works through an online WVFA Silent Auction. Bidding starts below $750.


Online Silent Auction & Virtual Exhibit Now Live!

September 11 – 30


The Artists

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]Tiffanie Andrews[/tabtext] [tabtext]Carla Axtman[/tabtext][tabtext]Ellen Morris Bishop[/tabtext][tabtext]David Brunkow[/tabtext][tabtext]Sara Cate[/tabtext][tabtext]Laura Gable[/tabtext][tabtext]Bonnie Zahn Griffith[/tabtext][tabtext]Leslie Ann Hauer[/tabtext][tabtext]Jennifer Hawkins-Connolly[/tabtext][tabtext]Jennifer Klimsza[/tabtext][tabtext]Mark Kortnik[/tabtext][tabtext]Leslie LeViner[/tabtext][tabtext]Pam Little[/tabtext][tabtext]David McCrae[/tabtext][tabtext]Carol McLaughlin[/tabtext][tabtext]Judy Moffit[/tabtext][tabtext]Kathleen Ritz[/tabtext][tabtext]Maja Shaw[/tabtext][tabtext]Sharry Sherman[/tabtext][tabtext]Tamara Stephas[/tabtext][tabtext]Shayne Watkins[/tabtext][tabtext]Dennis Wilson[/tabtext][/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]

Rediscovered myself as an artist about 5 years ago after a LONG break. Started as a young child who would never let my mother go to an art class without me, but lost my focus after a college class that didn’t exactly inspire my confidence. After moving back to Eastern Oregon I just felt like I needed to do something. Initially I got back into photography and then the local art center had a drawing class that reminded me why I loved to draw, paint and create. For the past five years I have been reengaging in watercolor and acrylic classes and enjoying on-line courses in pastel and charcoal that make learning easy from anywhere. I use it as a way to decompress from my firefighter job (which I love) and to remind myself to be present when I am out hiking in the wilderness that surrounds my home.

Bid on Tiffanie’s art[/tab]


Carla Axtman is an award-winning fine art landscape photographer from Oregon. She was raised in the beautiful John Day valley and now calls Sublimity home. Her photography career began in 2007, She started making images while traveling in Oregon for her job. Her gift for capturing light and the ruggedly ethereal beauty of the west has been recognized by art collectors throughout the United States. Carla employs a love of the west and the soul of an artist into her work. Her art is based in a passion for conservation and the environment. She hopes that those who experience her photography will find themselves as much in love with these places as she is, and will help to conserve them for future generations.

Bid on Carla’s art

Carla Axtman’s Website[/tab]


“The greatest voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

Ellen Morris Bishop is a photographer, photojournalist, writer and geologist. She first got serious about photography when she found her uncle’s Rollei twin-lens reflex camera at the age of ten. She grew up in very rural northwestern Connecticut, and moved to northeastern Oregon for its rural communities and inspiring landscapes, Nimiipuu people, accreted terranes, and Columbia River basalts.

Bishop’s work seeks to connect people with the landscapes and cultures of the American West. She believes that the great power of photography lies in its ability to capture fleeting expressions, telling moments and transient compositions that can transform our lives and provoke a re-imagining of the world around us.

As an award-winning photojournalist, she has covered subjects from sports and protests to conservation and environmental issues.  Her work also includes assignments for The Nature Conservancy, Western Rivers Conservancy, Grand Canyon Trust and many other organizations and publications.

Bishop is also an award-winning writer, combining her photographic passion with knowledge of the Northwest’s geologic history in books for the general public, including In Search of Ancient Oregon: A geologic and natural history.  She has also worked as a journalist and freelance writer, most recently for the Wallowa County Chieftain.

She is currently completing a book about the geology of Wallowa County and Northeastern Oregon.  She lives in Enterprise where she serves as the staff member for three energetic dogs and two querulous cats.

Bid on Ellen’s art

Ellen Morris Bishop’s Website[/tab]


As a young man in 1976, I purchased my first camera and began my journey as a photographer. Being self taught, I learned a lot through trial and error. My inspiration at the time came from the landscape photography of Ansel Adams and Ray Atkeson. In those days of film, there were times of elation, and times of disappointment.

In 1980, I began my business in photography, and what a great trip it has been. From blushing brides, to highest level sports, to photographing corporate events for some of the largest companies in the world, I can truly say I have had the best job in the world.

Today, I maintain a scaled back schedule of corporate work, while devoting more and more time to the art of photography. From capturing the initial image, to producing fine art prints and ceramic art, I have maintained my hands-on approach in all aspects of my imagery.

Bid on David’s art

David Brunkow’s Website[/tab]


I am a naturalist and artist who loves to explore the beauty of nature through the medium of watercolors. One of my favorite subjects is the Central Washington shrub steppe landscape. I delight in the vivid colors, darks and lights of the skies, rolling hills, Ponderosa pines and grasslands and continue to experiment on how best to capture this unique landscape in watercolors. I chose watercolors because I love their luminescence and the effects from layering of glazes. My influences have been the artists – Jean-Claude Chaillou, John Singer Sargent, John Pellew and Edmond Fitzgerald.

Bid on Sara’s art[/tab]


Art has been my language since I was very young. The expression of plein air painting nourishes a dual need that I have: to be outdoors in nature and also to express the subtle nuances of color, light and shadow on the natural forms. I’m drawn to a lyrical movement found both in the intimacy of close-in vignettes, and the quietude of vast vistas.

I reside in the arid side of Washington state, in Kennewick, where painting outdoors is possible nearly year round (an area rich in fertile vineyards and nearby rugged basalt cliffs). I’ve been painting professionally for over 20 years. My work has shown in several group exhibits on a regional and national basis including the American Impressionists Society and the Outdoor Painters Society. I’ve won an honorable mention in a digital exhibition of the Oil Painters of America. I’ve traveled to and participated in several plein air competitions including: the Sedona Arts Festival, Sedona, AZ; the Plein Air Glacier National Park Event, Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell, MT; the Pacific Northwest Plein Air Festival, Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA; and the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts in Joseph, OR.

I have participated in several WVFA exhibits over the years and especially enjoy the Plein Air Festival that they do in this lovely area. I am member of the Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society, the Plein Air Washington Artists, Plein Air Artists Colorado and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Society.

Bid on Laura’s art

Laura Gable’s Website[/tab]


Artist in Pastel and Oils Bonnie paints the western landscape using the rich pigments of pastels and oils to create paintings that have the brilliance and bold color characteristic of these mediums. Working in a representational yet impressionistic approach, she tells a story with her paintings; one that will resonate with the viewer from their own viewpoint.

“I am drawn to these mediums because they allow my best representation of the landscape with the brilliant pigments creating texture, light and mood in my paintings. My goal is to create works that draws the viewer in; allowing them to use their senses to experience the time of day, the warmth or coolness, the message of the painting – for themselves, to merely “get lost” in the work, experience it and make it their own. If that happens, then I have done my job.”

Bonnie grew up in north central Montana on a ranch near the Missouri Breaks. Early on she experienced the rugged country, the big skies, the vegetation of this landscape mostly from the back of a horse. Memorable childhood vacations included trips to Glacier Park to enjoy the sharp contrasts of the landscape from central Montana. These trips continued through the years and painting some of the views of the park has been part of those experiences. Her parents were ranchers; her mother a talented visual artist; her father a musician. Art appreciation came early and studying the affects of light on the landscape and the colors were imprinted deep. She declared at an early age that she was an artist and that carried through along with a career in the medical arena until she began painting full time in the mid 1990’s.

Bonnie has studied with several instructors such as Lorenzo Chavez, Robert Moore, Ned Mueller and others in developing her work. She works mostly en plein air taking every opportunity to paint from life. “My work turned the proverbial corner once I started painting seriously from life. You learn to see better, to capture light accurately and express yourself differently when working from photo. I do studio work as well, often with the aid of plein air studies.”

The artist is a current resident of southwestern Idaho and spends significant time in MT and UT painting throughout the year. She participates in numerous plein air events in the western US, judges competitions and offers workshops in pastel techniques, both studio and plein air. Her work is represented by galleries in MT, ID, OR and WA. Collectors include corporate and private throughout the US, Canada and Australia.

Bid on Bonnie’s art

Bonnie Zahn Griffith’s Website[/tab]


Leslie Ann Hauer returned to painting after career and family, and a journey through a variety of artistic pursuits including ceramics and fiber arts. She lives and works in the semi-arid east side of Washington State. While she has had no formal training, she is an avid student of art and artists. Currently she works primarily in oils.

Leslie has had works accepted in juried shows around the country, including at the WaterWorks Art Museum, Miles City, Montana (awarded “Honorable Mention” for “Contemplating”, a work included in the museum’s 2020 traveling show), the Annual Central Washington Artists Exhibition at Larson Gallery, Yakima Washington, and the Emerald Spring Exhibition, at the Emerald Art Center, Springfield, Oregon, among others. Her painting “Lostine River Riffle” was awarded “Best Work in Oil” at the 2019 Wallowa Valley Festival of Art Juried Show and “Judge’s Choice” for the painting “Passages” at the 2020 “Wild Landscapes” Exhibit at the Josephy Center, both in Joseph, Oregon.

Bid on Leslie’s art

Leslie Ann Hauer’s Website[/tab]


Jennifer Hawkins-Connolly, native Wallowa County raised, BS, MA, MFA.  Jennifer endeavors to translate the environment, its patterns & textures of life through the lens of her perception, emotions & spirit.

Bid on Jennifer’s art[/tab]


I have spent much of life creating and studying art.  I love experimenting and trying new things. Nature inspires me always. I simply want to share my love of color and composition and life.

Bid on Jennifer’s art[/tab]


Mark Kortnik is an artist whose subjects range from dramatic wildlife to the rugged landscapes of the Pacific Northwest region in which he resides. Through the medium of oil painting, Mark is inspired to paint very naturalistic representations from nature. Mark’s paintings in this series are about more than what the current vogue in art expresses with its highly stylized “less is more” or “minimalist” painting.  The emphasis of that subjective approach illustrates the feeling the artist has towards the subject rather than what he objectively sees. Mark states, ” I am not interested in painting primarily my feelings about the subject, but instead what I truly perceive as reality in nature with all its color and light, texture and detail.”

Artistically creative at a very young age, Mark has dedicated years to developing his unique skill at oil painting. Early school instructors encouraged Mark to pursue his talent and Mark credits them with his development today. In 1977, after earning a Bachelor degree in fine arts from Sacramento State University, California, Mark met his artist wife Carol McLaughlin and moved to Joseph, Oregon. Together they opened the Wallowa Lake Gallery in 1989 and moved on years later to build their new Aspen Grove Gallery which they currently run today. Aspen Grove Gallery was one of the first galleries in Joseph in the early 1980’s to open when the art boom hit there and is now after 26 years,  the most established art gallery in the popular tourist destination of Joseph, OR.

Mark’s work has been featured in “U.S. Art” and “Inform Art” magazines for his combination of wildlife and petroglyph images in realistic compositions. He  participated in the prestigious Western Masters Art Show in Great Falls, Montana for the past 17 years. Mark’s paintings have earned many first place ribbons at various award shows. Tatanka’s Thunder won first place for painting in the Wallowa County Festival Of the Arts 2000.  He received the  People’s Choice ribbon and First place Judges Award for his original landscape oil entitled “Red Willow Winter “in 2011.

Currently Mark is producing paintings that portray the beautiful high lakes area of the Eagle Cap wilderness area in Northeast Oregon. Mark has hiked in and photographed the areas to use as reference for his studio paintings. Visitors to Joseph find these paintings a welcome sight towards a better appreciation of what this area has to offer them. In 2015 Joseph has the official state honor of being designated the first “art and cultural district” in Oregon.

Bid on Mark’s art

Mark Kortnik’s Website[/tab]


Leslie Leviner, en plein air painter, lives on a ranch in Wallowa Valley.  “The challenge of en plein air painting is both determining how ligh affects a particular object or scene, and translating on to canvas what I see and feel so others can relate to it,” she says.

Bid on Leslie’s art

Leslie LeViner’s Website[/tab]


As an Air Force “brat”, I grew up in mainly in Texas and Florida, with stops in Hawaii and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Graduating from Florida State University with a B.A. in Visual Communications, I later received a M.A. in Biomedical Communications from the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School. I a member and Fellow of the Association of Medical Illustrators, and a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. After working as a medical illustrator in Houston and Miami, I travelled to Montana to work for Medical Multimedia group. In 2007 my husband and I formed Specialized Engineering and Illustration, PLLC which combines his civil and structural engineering business and my illustration and fine art work. Now retired, my work is centered around the landscapes and wildlife of the Rocky Mountain west.

Like the acreage around our house, the light and wildlife of Yellowstone National Park also inspires. On our first trip we didn’t even have binoculars with us to watch the wildlife, but years later we’re now completely kitted out with those, a couple of spotting scopes, as well as my journal and sketchbooks. We try to get to the Park at least two or three times a year, and I’ve also attended art workshops Yellowstone Association Institute’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch. I use a variety of media in my artwork, including watercolor, acrylics, pencil, and mixed media. My digital paintings are created using Corel Painter, Procreate, and Adobe Photoshop, inspired by sketches I’ve made and photographs I’ve taken.

Bid on Pam’s art

Pam Little’s Website[/tab]


Photographs; From A Scanner, Darkly

David began photographing with a Kodak Brownie as a child.  Process was left behind for theory while studying art history at the University of California, San Diego.

In 2000, he began studying with Jules Spilman, a painter and sculptor trained at the Chicago Art Institute.  He was offered a first show in 2004 at Spilman’s Gallery and Salon, and so a new phase began.

David’s present focus, ‘From a Scanner, Darkly,’ began when he had no time to work with film.  Instead, a scanner and a computer became the substitute for photosensitive materials and a darkroom.  Flowers, food, paper, sheet pans; all became subject.

Bid on David’s art

David McCrae’s Website[/tab]


Carol McLaughlin is a self-taught professional artist, working in watercolor, colored pencil, pastel, and bronze.  She and her artist husband, Mark Kortnik, began their successful careers as artists in 1986, and now own and operate Aspen Grove Gallery in Joseph Oregon, where they display their originals, limited edition giclees, and bronzes.  She enjoys painting flowers, both wild and domestic, song birds, California quail, landscapes, petroglyphs combined with flowers, and ancient cave art based on the Lascaux cave drawings done 17,000 years ago in France and Spain.  More recently Carol is creating 3-dimensional animal sculptures made of hand painted metallic clay in the “steampunk” style of art.

Bid on Carol’s art

Carol McLaughlin’s Website[/tab]


I was taught the art of coiling pine needle baskets in 1980.  Even though I use other materials to stitch my coil, such as waxed linen, I prefer weaving with raffia, a natural grass-like material that comes from the raffia palm tree.  Cones, antlers, burl boards, Pendleton wool, and cedar boards are also used in my baskets.

In 2001 I had the privilege to learn cedar bark basketry from Master Haida Weaver Delores Churchill.  I also studied under Holly Churchill and Diane Willard to learn traditional Haida techniques which are similar to those used by NW Coastal and Plateau Native Americans.

Since moving back to Oregon in 2017 I started combining NW Coastal (Haida) and Plateau (Nez Perce) weaving styles to create unique baskets using red cedar and Pendleton wool yarn.

It has been a journey that continues to inspire and satisfy me.  I grew up hearing stories of the Nez Perce encampment in my Grandparent’s field each year when they lived on the Imnaha River.  I feel fortunate to have been exposed to those stories and to then learn the Native culture of basket weaving.

Bid on Judy’s art[/tab]


I am an artist who lives and works in the Pacific Northwest.  Apart from my career choice,  I have been drawing and painting in various mediums since 1986, including oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel. I have enjoyed exploring and developing my artistic skills by attending classes at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle and through various workshops. The object of my focus is always the natural world, whether in my studio paintings or plein air landscapes. I have had a lifelong interest in nature and can be found walking and hiking most any month of the year, rain or shine. I am a member of  Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Washington Painters and Salish Sea Plein Air Artists of LaConner.

Bid on Kathleen’s art

Kathleen Ritz’s Website[/tab]


Color and shape are important elements in my paintings. I look for interesting perspectives of a subject and often use intense colors and masking to define shapes. When I have a painting I am not satisfied with I “repurpose” it by making cut paper collages in a style similar to my other work.

My background in graphic design (I received a BFA from the University of Washington) is reflected in my organizational style, while the spontaneity of watercolor mixes it up. Since concentrating on watercolor for the last 10 years my work has regularly been in several juried shows a year throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally. In addition to winning several awards I have had featured artist/solo shows in Oregon, Washington, and North Carolina. I am active in Cyber Art 509, an artist cooperative, and the Mid-Columbia Watercolor Society, of which I am a founding member.

Bid on Maja’s art

Maja Shaw’s Website[/tab]


Sharry Sherman, long-time resident of Eastern Oregon has a love of nature and our surrounding beauty. Although she did not start making jewelry until a few years before her retirement, she has developed a passion for designing jewelry, using mostly semi-prescious gemstones and metals. Sharry started making jewelry as a hobby and her work has evolved into being well-known in Union, Baker and Wallowa Counties.

Sharry has participated in art shows and other events in each of these counties and her work has been selected several times for the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts. Her creations are one-of-a-kind and can be found at Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, in Baker City; Arts Center East in La Grande; Josephy Center in Joseph; Community Merchants in La Grande and the Union Fountain in Union; as well as the gift shop in the hospital in Pendleton.

In addition to displaying her work, Sharry also enjoys teaching classes at the individual galleries and helping others learn the basics of jewelry making and design.

Bid on Sharry’s art[/tab]


Tamara Stephas is a sculptor and painter whose work explores the relationship between humans and our environment.

She grew up in LaGrande, and launched her art career in Seattle.  A graduate of Willamette University and Gage Academy of Art, she has exhibited across the Northwest and West, including the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane.

Honors include an Artist Trust GAP grant, a Bloedel Reserve artist residency, and “Best Three Dimensional Art” at the 2018 Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts.

Tamara Stephas lives and works in Bend, Oregon.

Bid on Tamara’s art

Tamara Stephas’s Website[/tab]


Shayne Watkins is a sculptor and scratchboard artist, and a timberlands resource forester.  He and his wife, Alane, reside in Deary, Idaho.  They are also musicians, and together they make up the BEARGRASS band.  With their music, art, and love for fishing and hiking, they explore the back roads and seldom-seen places all over the northwest as much as possible.  Shayne gleans inspiration from nature, outdoor experiences, and his family’s rich pioneer history in Idaho for creating his music and artwork.

Bid on Shayne’s art

Shayne Watkin’s Website[/tab]


Dennis is an Oregon native, who as a child took the natural beauty that surrounded him for granted.  After leaving the Air Force he moved to the Midwest.  “What a rude awakening.  Everything was flat, small hills were considered mountains.  I kept expecting the hills to lead to the mountains, but they never did.  I had to get back to my roots.  I had to get back to the Pacific Northwest.” Since returning, what was once taken for granted has now become Dennis’s inspiration. Unleashing a powerful passion to recreate this splendor through his art.

“When I’m out in the land I see the raw beauty of God’s handiwork.  This is at the heart of all of my paintings.  This is what I hope will come across in my art.  I hope to bring a moment of rest and peace, to those who view my art,or of awe and wonder.  If a painting draws you in, if it brings about memories or inspires you, then I’ve done my job.  I’ve achieved what I set out to do.”

Dennis’s current works are mainly oil paintings.  “I enjoy the beauty and softness that other mediums can bring.  I especially enjoy doing watercolors, really big watercolors, but there is something about working with oils.  It lets me bring in a texture, a sense of movement and depth that I could not achieve otherwise.  It’s extremely challenging, but when you get it right, the end result is spectacular.  A piece that really moves you.”

He has won several awards at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts, Carnegie Art Center, and Seasons Faire.  He has works in private and corporate collections and was Executive Director of the Betty Feves Memorial Gallery. If he is not in his studio, you will likely find him hiking in the mountains, taking pictures and finding inspiration for his next series of paintings.

Bid on Dennis’s art

Dennis Wilson’s Website[/tab]



Browse by Medium

All | Acrylic | Bronze | Digital | Jewelry | Oil | Pastel | Photograph | Scratchboard | Watercolor | Woven

The Wild Landscape: Expanding Views of Eastern Oregon

The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture invites the public to view the sixth annual  Wild Landscapes exhibit: The Wild Landscape: Expanding Views of Eastern Oregon, beginning Friday, July 31, 2020. There will be no opening reception due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we will host a zoom Brown Bag event on Tuesday, August 11 at noon. Individual pieces can be purchased, and there will again be a paperback exhibit catalogue. 


To view the virtual exhibit, click here


To make a purchase of one of the exhibit’s pieces, view our Wild Landscape shop here


Vote for People’s Choice Award


This year’s theme is expanding views of Eastern Oregon – from the canyon views to the mountain tops and wide prairies. The exhibit and theme continue our celebration of wild landscapes. Our visual definition of wild is landscape relatively unaltered by human development. Our goal is the continued appreciation of the diverse landscapes and unique places of Eastern Oregon. Nineteen artists are participating, and over forty-three paintings, photographs and mixed media images  will be on display.  Artists include local favorites David Jensen, Rick Bombaci, Leslie LeViner, David Martin, Jennifer Klimsza and many more. 

This year photographer Ellen Bishop and artist Mike Koloski will jury the exhibit. 


Prize Winners

1st place:  “Mountain Meadow” by Maja Shaw
2nd place:  “Mountains in Spring” by Jennifer Klimzsa
3rd place:  “Chesnimnus Vista” by David Jensen

Honorable Mention:
“Sunset, Imnaha Canyon” by MC Reardon
“Rimrock to River” by David Martin
“Hells Canyon Colors” by Laura Gable

Mike Koloski- Judges Choice:  “Dancing Clouds” by Eric Valentine
Ellen Bishop- Judges Choice:  “Passages” by Leslie Anne Hauer

Pamela Beach designed The Wild Landscape: Expanding Views of Eastern Oregon’s catalog. You can purchase this catalogue today on our website.  The exhibit will run until September 9, 2020. This exhibit has been made possible by the wonderful support of Ann Werner, the Kinsman Foundation and the Collins Foundation.

Three Creative Journeys: Mike Koloski, Leslie LeViner and Mary Edwards

The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture is honored to present an upcoming virtual exhibit and catalog -“Three Creative Journeys: Mike Koloski, Leslie LeViner and Mary Edwards”.  The exhibit will begin on Friday, June 12 and end July 28 via a virtual online exhibit and a small catalog, with a virtual zoom celebration Friday, June 19th at 5 p.m. 

Zoom link is here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81070275414


Artist Preface


Last January when I received the invitation to participate in an art show with renowned local painters Mike Koloski and Leslie LeViner, I knew it would be a rare and special opportunity.  Covid 19 wasn’t a part of our daily lexicon then, and the prospects for a creative collaboration with these two artists was just the spark of light I needed in the dark of winter. However once the pandemic turned life upsidedown for our entire planet I began to seriously question the point of having an art show when so many were suffering and dying. It seemed a fruitless endeavor, fraught with ethical and spiritual considerations. How could we go forward safely? What might that look like? After our first conference call and upon hearing the many creative ideas for the show from Leslie and Mike, the motivation to move forward became clear, even though the details of how to manifest it were still a bit sketchy. Even in our darkest moments, to engage in the creative process is a salve to the soul and it lays the foundation from which hope may find root. So take a virtual tour, bathe yourself in LeViner light and listen for the song of the river in the quiet calm of a Koloski painting. Can you hear it? I can.

-Mary Edwards


Silent Auction


While putting this exhibit together, with COVID-19 shelter-in-place and the effect it has had on businesses, Mary thought we could offer prints in an online silent auction to support the Wallowa County Business Fund. Each artist has selected a specific piece for the online auction and is featured below.  Click on the image to be taken to the bidding page.

Bidding begins on May 18 and ends on June 19 at the Zoom Exhibit Reception. Final bid will be at 6 p.m.  Leslie Leviner is offering “Spring Below Mount Joseph”, Mike Koloski is featuring “Rock Art” and Mary has selected a panorama print “The Hurricane.” The auction is live now! Starting bid is $25 and can be raised in $5 increments. Happy bidding!

The Hurricane
Mary Edwards

In addition to the above silent auction, Mike Koloski is offering archival reproductions of his painting “Lostine River – The View from Pole Bridge” to donors who contribute their stimulus checks of $1200 to the business fund.  The deadline for this offer is June 12. This painting is a local treasure and was featured in the Lostine River Exhibition last summer where it generated considerable interest and inquiries for purchase. Mike the “artist” and Mary the “owner” both wanted to raise the incentive to donate by offering this unique piece. The archival print reproduction size will be 14.75” x 19”.  Print doesn’t include matte and framing.

Lostine River – The View from Pole Bridge
Mike Koloski

Early Social Media in Wallowa County

Turn-of-the-century Post Card Images and Messages from The Edsel White Collection


Virtual Exhibit Live Here
Post Cards with Accompanying Audio Live Here


Curator: David Weaver
Exhibit Catalogue: Available here

“Hello Old Sacks. How is the boy. Well Mick I am doin git again. I am in the 14 Cavalry here and it is lots better than the old place. I have an easy job and I don’t haft to drill. Well Mick write soon.
Your old friend,


About the Exhibit

Before Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, there were photo post cards, America’s first great social media crush. Wallowa County, like the rest of the country, eagerly embraced the new technologies that made it easy for ordinary people to take a “snapshot” and have it printed on photographic paper with a pre-printed post card back.  They could then send their own personalized images along with a short note to anyone, anywhere in the world with an address. And a town name and state was all that was needed in the rural U.S.

This social media revolution was driven by the Eastman Kodak Company.  In 1888, Kodak developed the first camera pre-loaded with flexible film.  After the photographer had taken the pictures, he or she would send the entire camera back to the company for developing, and a few weeks later would receive the photographs in the mail.  While this made it easier for non-professionals to take pictures, the price of the cameras put it out of reach for many.

In 1900, Kodak introduced the Brownie camera.  It was lightweight, portable, inexpensive and easy to use, making photography available to amateurs (Kodak’s Brownie was a popular little cartoon sprite of the time intended to appeal to children).  In 1902, the company introduced Velox post card paper, and in 1904, the Kodak Brownie 3A, which was designed specifically for taking post card pictures.

The final development that drove this turn-of-the-century social media format was the divided post card back.  Prior to 1907, the back of the photo post card was strictly reserved for the address of the recipient.  The new 1907 regulations allowed for a message on one side of the card back and the address on the other side.  It was the ability to send a photograph with a personal note that really popularized this early social media phenomenon.

With these developments, regular folks (especially young people) began to “post” and take selfies in astounding numbers.  Bundles of photo post cards were often sent in one envelope to save on postage. The total number of post cards sent in the mail will never be known; the U.S. Postal Service estimated that nearly 1 billion were sent through the mail in 1913 alone—ten times the population at the time.

In Wallowa County, photo post cards before 1906 are rare, and still scarce in 1907.  It’s not until 1908 that the local boom for photo post cards really takes off.  Most of the pictures on post cards before that time are lithographic prints of photographs.

The ability of amateurs to produce their own photographs tended to cut into the already thin margins of professional photographers, many of whom supplemented their photo business with second jobs.  This was true of local professional photographers like Joseph Henry Romig, a Joseph photographer, and Hugh Davis of Enterprise.  Romig ran a combination barbershop and photo gallery, and Davis worked variously as the editor of the Flora Journal, as a carpenter and at farming and ranching.

During the “Golden Age” of the post card between 1907-1915, the distinction between professional and amateur photographers becomes blurrier.  Local photographers like Hiram Merry, a farmer who lived in the little community of Grouse near Troy, and Roy Edgmand, a school teacher who taught in many one-room schools in the county, seemed to identify themselves first as “farmer” and “teacher.”  The distinction may rest in whether a particular photographer advertised services or had an established studio.  And then there were those who were took photographs as a hobby, offering none of their output for sale, but whose work constitutes an important part of our historical record.  Frank Reavis of Enterprise is perhaps the premier local example of this.

In any case, the greatest portion of the historic photographic record we have of Wallowa County comes from photo post cards produced by professionals and amateurs during this time period. Many of the photographers remain unknown and un-credited.

In addition to the historic importance of the photographic images themselves, the notes written on the backs provide an interesting look into the lives of the people of the time.  By turns tragic, comic and mundane—the universal human need to stay connected and share lives with distant family members, friends and loved ones was as important then as it is now.

The images and words presented in this exhibit come from the important collection of Edsel White, whose love for Wallowa County, its people and its history has led to his amassing hundreds of photographs and documents that add immensely to what we know of our own story.  And, thanks to his generosity and willingness to share his passion with others, we’re enriched by being able to see something of our own lives through those who have gone before us.


Edsel White Biography

Edsel White’s relationship to the Wallowa Country began when he came to Wallowa Lake in a bassinet with his parents in 1939. Through his youth, he spent every summer camping with his parents at the Wallowa Lake Methodist Camp. His parents purchased the Reverend Wallis cabin at the Lake in 1955, and in 1957, his father, Reverend Floyd White, was appointed pastor of the Joseph United Methodist Church and Camp manager.

Edsel graduated from La Grande High School in 1956, and with his parents living in the county, spent summers in the Wallowas, working on a ranch, pulling green chain at the Boise Cascade mill—the job, Edsel remembers years later, that taught him the most, and helping at the Methodist Camp as he attended Eastern Oregon College in La Grande. He also helped with the Joseph Methodist Church, where he preached his “first and worst sermons.”

Edsel met Patricia “Pat” Blackburne in 1959, when she came to La Grande to attend EOC, and they were married at the La Grande First United Methodist Church in August of 1962, shortly after Pat graduated. A week later they were on their way to Atlanta, Georgia, where Pat taught school while Edsel studied for his Masters degree at the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University.

They returned to the West, and eventually Edsel received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and Pat received her MA degree from Washington State University. For the next 45 years, Edsel served in seven churches, retiring from the Vancouver First United Methodist Church in 2008. The people of that church built the Whites a new retirement cabin on the bank of the Wallowa River above Wallowa Lake, next to the Wallis cabin they had purchased from his parents. They have called it home from early spring to late fall from that time forward, and their children, Brian and Cindy, and their families have all spent parts of their summers with them at the family cabin.

On retirement, Edsel began to devote more time to his lifelong interest in the history of Wallowa County. He has assembled a vast collection of pictures and historical memorabilia, including the postcards in this collection. Edsel shares his pictures and stories with other history buffs, and supports groups working to keep the history of the Wallowa Country alive. He has shared pictures with the Wallowa History Center, the museum in Joseph, and many others, and often trades those images and stories with his good friend, David Weaver, who curated this collection and wrote the brief essays that accompany the images.

Nez Perce Artists: Traditional and Contemporary

January 5 – February 23
Exhibit Opening: Sunday, January 5 at 2 PM


Stacia Morfin, a young artist and entrepreneur, is the curator of this exhibit, which features traditional as well as contemporary art.  War clubs, beading work, baskets, hats, paintings — all the work of tribal artists.  Both seasoned and emerging artists will be featured throughout the exhibit.  The Josephy Center welcomes this opportunity to work with Indian artists–and to help further their careers in art and in the communication of Nez Perce culture to the broader world.



Determined to Rise: The Valiant Women of the Vote – 100 years

Determined to Rise:  The Valiant Women of the Vote – 100 years


Exhibit opening Friday, February 28 at 7 p.m. – Featuring People’s Choice & Curator’s Choice Awards


Click here to view our virtual exhibit, and to purchase a piece.




In its seventh year, the Women’s Exhibit is hosted in conjunction with National Women’s History Month – March 2020.  This year marks a special century of history with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right vote. The curator is Jenny Klimsza.

This exhibit features local and regional women artist working in a wide variety of media.

On March 7 at 7 p.m. join us and the Wallowa Valley Music alliance for the “Women, Words & Music” concert.  This is our annual showcase of women musicians and writers. The Women’s Exhibit is sponsored by the Wallowa County Soroptomist , the Autzen Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission.

Other events during the exhibit include Fireside Fireside readings in partnership with Fishtrap, hosting brown bag lunches, and solo plays about Abigail Scott Duniway and Eleanor Roosevelt.


Painting of Woman’s Face: Jennifer Klimsza

Print: Progress by René Fleming


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