Bank Left Gallery draws a crowd

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Art is displayed in the Back Left Gallery as part of the 2012 A Feast for the Eyes exhibit.

The Bank Left Gallery brings artists to the town of Palouse, putting it on the map as an art community.

Bank Left Director Nelson Duran bought the gallery after he received an invitation from the previous owners to participate in a show.

“I saw the potential that I could make a living, being an artist,” Duran said.

Located in the historic Old Bank Building in downtown Palouse, Duran said he opened up the second floor of the building that now holds concerts and dinners. He said he also opened a bistro next door, serving mostly French and Italian food.

Rosalie Harms, a Pullman resident, said she has known Duran since he opened the gallery. Harms said she credits him with putting Palouse on the map as an art community.

She said she is particularly impressed by the work Duran puts into each show, including the dinners held at Bank Left for the featured artist and guests.

“He’s not only an artist, but also an amazing chef,” Harms said. “He does everything from beginning to end.”

Harms said the gallery brings so much to the community through Duran’s commitment to the arts.

From its start in 2005 until now, Duran said the gallery has never had a shortage of artists’ work to choose from.

“There were artists applying constantly,” Duran said. “And still we have so many artists around this area and a lot of them need a place to show their art. We never have to look for artists.”

He said the gallery looks for artists that are passionate about their work and who want to sell art.

“If you want to make a living as an artist, you want to be able to sell art, not just create it,” he said.

Duran said the gallery has become more eclectic, featuring art of all mediums, including pottery, acrylics, photography, and oil.

He said the gallery is an important part of the community because it “creates a venue for artists to show their art.” He said being located in a small community has its difficulties, but Bank Left has many loyal clients.

“We have a lot of clients who want us to be here,” he said. “They come and buy art from us and come and eat at the bistro and tell us all the time that they want us to be here, that they want us to last in this area.”

Duran says he plans to keep expanding the gallery and continue focusing on art in the area. The gallery aims to encourage people to buy and create art and emphasize the importance of art in both small town and big city economies, he said.

“We want to keep creating and keep motivating people to create,” Duran said. “We need to remember that art is all around us.”