Dahmen Barn home to ‘family’ of artists

HAYDYN WALLENDER, Evergreen reporter

Art can come in multiple forms: sculpting, watercolor painting, acrylic painting, scratchboards and beading. These mediums are only a few that are showcased at Artisans at the Dahmen Barn.

Located in Uniontown, Artisans at the Dahmen Barn are housed in exactly that: a barn. Julie Hartwig has been the manager for two years now, and absolutely loves her job, she said.

“I have a friend that would never walk into a gallery,” Hartwig said. “People are just more comfortable coming to view artwork in a barn.”

Hartwig began her journey at the Dahmen Barn 14 years ago, where she worked in the gift shop, she said. After the previous manager retired, Hartwig was encouraged to take the position by friends, she said.

Dahmen Barn was owned by the Dahmens, who ran a small dairy farm. The couple were artists themselves, and decided to donate the barn to the Uniontown Community Development Association in 2004. Reconstruction occurred shortly after, and the barn had a grand opening in October of 2006.

The barn’s second renovation in 2014 has enabled the space to have a total of three floors, complete with one main exhibition space and 13 different studios that artists share or work in individually. These spaces are rented by artists, so that people can come in and view their work, either during an exhibit, or while they are working on their pieces.

There are 22 artists that share the space of the Dahmen Barn. All of them are from the Northwest, and within a 20-mile radius of Uniontown.

Judy Fairley and Linda Shewey are specialized in pastel and scratchboard at the Dahmen Barn. Fairley also teaches these classes, which are available to the public, and art from both of the women can be found on the walls scattered throughout the barn.

Katherine Clancy and Jennifer Holland specialize in watercolor and mixed media. Holland classifies her work as “mixed media dress forms,” which are on display in the barn as well.

Mary Lou Wayne specializes in sculpting polymer clay. Regardless of these differences in creating however, each woman feels the same way about one thing: everyone is supportive of everyone, and that was the consensus.

“We’re like a family,” Fairley said. “Anyone in the studio can walk up to anyone and they will help you. We’re not divas.”

Artisans at the Dahmen Barn hosts small and large-scale events open to the public. Two of the larger events include a summer concert series with musicians from all over the Palouse and the nation, Hartwig said. There is also a wood show in August, she said.

The barn also hosts multiple fundraisers and brings in an exhibiting artist each year, Hartwig said. For more local exhibits, Hartwig has a turn-around of one day of display, she said.

“If it’s somethin’ different, and I think I can sell it,” Hartwig said, “then I put it in.”

Because of health regulations and requirements for COVID-19, the barn is officially closed for the time being, Hartwig said.

More information about Artisans at the Dahmen Barn can be located on Facebook, or on their website, https://www.artisanbarn.org.