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Dick Elliott and Jane Orleman, Dick and Jane's Spot

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Visiting Information

Visitors may admire the site from the exterior of the fences, but please respect them and do not cross into her private spaces. A public parking lot is available on the north side of the property; parking is prohibited in front of the house.

About the Artist/Site

Student colleagues at Central Washington University, Dick Elliott (a native Oregonian) and Jane Orleman (who grew up in New York State) received their B.A. degrees in art in 1971 and married thereafter. Dedicated to the philosophy that “one hearty laugh is worth ten trips to the doctor,” after a year in Portland they returned to Ellensburg to live as artists, founding Spot Janitorial in order to support their lifestyle. Around 1978 they began creating an environment around their home. Beginning with their own work, mounting pieces on the side of their home and placing freestanding constructions in the garden, they began to add widely varied works from over 40 artist friends and colleagues, most from the Northwest. The site is always changing as old works are modified or renewed and new ones are added.

Among the consistent media on the varied works are bottle caps (over 10,000 at last count) and reflectors. Elliott, in particular, developed a painterly aesthetic working with these materials, and ultimately received numerous commissions for public artworks. He was honored with the Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2008, among others, and the Washington State Art Commission purchased more than thirty reflective paintings for installation in public schools around the state. In 1992 he was awarded Patent #5079644 for his special layered reflective systems.

In contrast, Orleman’s work is more symbolic, expressing her inner feelings, emotions, and life journey through colorful, allegorical imagery. Many of her paintings deal with feminist iconography, and range from smaller discrete works to large-scale cut-out shapes and forms. She has also received several important awards and honors, and has served as a visiting artist at several universities in the US Northwest and Canada. Her book, Telling Secrets: An Artist’s Journey Through Childhood Trauma explored personal childhood sexual abuse. Its publication by the Child Welfare League of America was funded by the Paul G. Allen Foundation.

The bottle caps, reflectors, hub caps, and paintings are installed on the façades of the buildings, on the perimeter fences, and in the yards. They are intermingled with glass insulators, buckles, chains, keys, and other small hardware; paths wind their way through the property – some are painted, and others “paved” with mosaics of pebbles, tiles, and found objects. Figures may include nudes, Uncle Sam (who morphed over time into Aunt Sammy), robots, aliens, animals, and more. Totems and lawn ornaments mesh with the other abstract and figurative elements in a colorful and grand array. The site has been well documented in print media, television, and film, and the art collection, in total, will be bequeathed to the Yakima Valley Museum.

Since Dick’s passing in 2008, Jane continues to maintain the environment and create additional artwork. Visitors may admire the site from the exterior of the fences, but please respect them and do not cross into her private spaces. A public parking lot is available on the north side of the property; parking is prohibited in front of the house.

~Jo Farb Hernández

 





Map and site information

101 North Pearl Street
Ellensburg, Washington, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 46.992558 / -120.547532

Visiting Information

Visitors may admire the site from the exterior of the fences, but please respect them and do not cross into her private spaces. A public parking lot is available on the north side of the property; parking is prohibited in front of the house.

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