Elena Star Gann is the owner of Cafe Chilingo, 227 Cherokee St., Leavenworth.

Elena Star Gann is the owner of Cafe Chilingo, 227 Cherokee St., Leavenworth.

1. Can you tell us about the monthly art shows that will be featured at Cafe Chilingo? What other downtown businesses will host the shows?

Every 2nd Saturday at 5 p.m., we will celebrate one or more of our local artists with an opening for their exhibit. The artists will be there and we will offer a complimentary hors d'oeuvre bar for our guests. Ideally, as local artists realize there is an opportunity to display their work, they will get involved with the other local shops and form a partnership so our community can visit several shows on a given night. Scriveners creative center on 605 Shawnee St. is also hosting artists.

2. Why did you decide to host the art shows in your restaurant? I love art.

As a consumer, I love seeing local art in our community. As a former art major, after finishing my art degree, it was difficult finding venues to display an entire body of work, but so rewarding when the opportunity was available. Now, as a restaurant owner, I have the opportunity to support our local art scene and provide that opportunity in a way that also brings a lot of creativity to the atmosphere of my restaurant.

3. Will people come in and just browse the art or can they also purchase it?

The art is for sale! We certainly hope people will find a piece of art at the exhibit that they can't live without! Our artists would really love that. Browsers are definitely encouraged, every show will hang for the majority of the month, so there will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to see it.

4. Who are some of the artists that you will feature and can other artists in the community show off their work at the shows?

This show features the artwork of Amy Pack Stephenson and the poetry of Rita Jensen. Rita's poems accompany Amy's watercolors, drawings, ceramics and batiks. ( Batik is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique). Next month is tentatively booked with a very talented and very young artist named Charles who has a large, creative and colorful body of work. In August we are inviting all artists to submit pieces that play on a "fun French bistro" theme. I'm looking forward to the many possible interpretations. The hope is that we draw many more artists to display their work in the future.

5. How will the monthly art shows benefit the local community?

On a community level, art builds community identity and pride. It allows for the free expression of positive community values such as tolerance and diversity. People come together who might not otherwise come into contact with each other and celebrate the communities image and status that is raised through a strong art culture. On a larger scale, art can reflect the undercurrents of what is happening in our community and society. Art inspires action, change and transformation by communicating to and influencing the masses!
— Rimsie McConiga