Award-winning artist and Wenatchee Valley College instructor Robert Graves helped make public art a priority in Wenatchee. His involvement with Art in Public Places helped lead to the installment of the fountain in the courtyard of the Numerica Performing Arts Center and the iconic Coyote Leading the Salmon sculpture at Walla Walla Point Park.
Graves is one of the featured characters for the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center’s Feb. 28 People of Our Past program. Art educator and City Arts Commission President Don Collins will portray Graves.
Graves’ energy and passion for creating art and providing a space for art to be shown, led to his founding of Gallery ‘76, now renamed as the Robert Graves Gallery on the Wenatchee Valley College campus.
“There are those who notice a need in the community and there are those who do something about it,” said museum education coordinator Selina Danko. “Graves was a doer.”
Works by Graves can be found in collections at the Seattle Art Museum, New York State University, Portland Art Museum, Evergreen State College, Spokane City Hall and Leicester Polytechnic in England. One of his pieces occupies a family living space in a former Amsterdam brothel building that dates to 1620.
“I think Bob would love to know that his painting made the journey,” said owner Valerie Robillard, whose mother was a student of Graves.
Graves is one of five historical figures featured during the Wenatchee Valley Museum’s People of Our Past program. All five characters have ties to Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) and the museum. Both institutions are celebrating 75th anniversaries.
The rest of the People of Our Past lineup includes coaching icon Bill Penhallegon, WVC dean Helen VanTassell, WVC faculty member and author John A. Brown and Kenneth P. Sexton. Sexton was involved in the founding of the college and the museum. Tracy Carlson portrays Van Tassell, Bob Stoehr is Sexton, Eliot Scull is
Penhallegon and Bill Murray takes on the part of Brown.
Each actor will perform three times during the day with a culminating evening meet-and-greet gala starting at 6 p.m. Performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are by donation. Tickets for the evening event are $35 and include historically themed heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, live music and a chance to mingle with the characters following the performance.
For more information about the People of Our Past program, contact Selina Danko at
888-6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.