Madelyn Milner’s exhibit demonstrates the value of WVC’s terrific art program
One of the most important cultural assets in this valley is the art program at Wenatchee Valley College. It has become a critical catalyst for fine art in this valley that is raising the level of quality and connecting artists in a way that elevates their art.
I thought about the critical role WVC is playing in the art scene as I attended a wonderful exhibit by a talented young Wenatchee native at Café Mela during last week’s First Friday Art Walk.
Madelyn Milner is a 20-year-old tattoo artist now living in Bellingham whose art has been profoundly influenced by the art program at WVC and its talented director, Scott Bailey.
Her work is absolutely stunning, showing a maturity and depth that belies her age. Milner is the daughter of Doug and Tami Milner. They were all smiles at the Friday night gathering that attracted dozens of art lovers.
She credits Bailey with pushing her to develop her unique painting style and technique. She completed through the series of painting courses at WVC’s MAC Center, including the advanced painting course that brings various artists from the community together to develop their talents or explore new mediums.
Last winter, Milner took that course and then went to Florence, Italy with Bailey and other students. That trip was the catalyst for a significant leap forward in her art, she said.
Bailey said it’s quite impressive for a 20-year-old to have an exhibition of this quality. On the walls of the café, she displayed various paintings and drawings from some of her earliest efforts to a stunning mountain scene titled “Where the spirit can rest.”
“To understand my show, there are really only three things you need to know about me,” she wrote in the artist’s statement. “I am a hiker. I am a painter. I am a tattoo artist. … I am constantly aware of the way I see the world and how that might be different from those around me.”
Fellow artist Karen Dawn Dean was effusive in her praise of Milner’s work. Looking at the mountain scene, Dean said it has a mystical quality that draws the viewer in.
Milner’s show and the response by the community demonstrate the value of the art program and Bailey’s ability as a teacher to help students elevate their work to new levels. Milner is definitely going places in the art world and this likely would not have happened without the opportunity at WVC and the inspiration of Bailey and other local artists.
And a tip of the cap to Kyle Hendrickson, the owner of Mela Coffee Roasting, for the investment he made in adding quality lighting and the willingness to use the walls of the café as a canvas for local artists.
Speaking of WVC, local artist Chad Yenney displayed his whimsical and offbeat college collage art at the MAC Gallery on Friday. He’s quite a talent, as well. At the entrance of the gallery, visitors were introduced to the exhibit with a photo of the late John Belushi titled: “The Dwindling Power of a Collage Degree.”
We are indebted to the First Friday committee and local businesses that is making art and arts accessible to our community. The making and appreciation of art is becoming quite the experience here.