Photo by Kayse Angel 
                                Councilmember Linda Olson checks out artist Katie Harmon’s work during the Lake Wilderness Lodge Art Exhibition Grand Opening on May 8.

Photo by Kayse Angel Councilmember Linda Olson checks out artist Katie Harmon’s work during the Lake Wilderness Lodge Art Exhibition Grand Opening on May 8.

New art gallery opens at Lake Wilderness

Local artists ready to show off their creations

The Lake Wilderness Lodge has an art exhibition that is free for artists from all over to display their art in to provide more space for creative residents.

The City of Maple Valley hosted the Lake Wilderness Lodge Art Exhibition Grand Opening and Artist Reception on Wednesday, May 8.

The idea for this gallery came to the city back in 2018, according to Dorothy Stickney, an executive assistant for the city.

She said the city was limited on space to utilize in the lodge, but found a spot in a hallway on the top floor outside of the Maple and Rainier meeting rooms.

Stickney said there are two reasons why this art gallery is important to have in the lodge.

“One, is because we wanted to have a place that does not charge for local Northwest artists to display their work,” Stickney said. “Then second, we wanted to share local artists’ work with the community and surrounding communities.”

To reach out and alert artist of the gallery opportunity the city did a “call to artists” by posting onto art websites and contacting local art organizations.

Sure enough, artists came wanting to display their work.

Katie Harmon

Harmon is an artist from Olympia who actually heard about the the Lake Wilderness Art Exhibition from a friend who had their art displayed at Lake Wilderness too.

The way Harmon started painting with watercolors and drawing, she didn’t realize her work was really good until weeks into her art sessions with her husband.

She explained that her husband is a really good artist, but never wanted to do it as a business. So to nudge him along to start a business, she and her husband started drawing daily together.

The funny part about it was she ended up with the business.

“About 100 days in I started looking at my work it was actually somewhat reasonable and I always wanted to be an artist as a kid. I had to find my right mediums that were going to work for me. I still draw daily. I actually post a new illustration everyday to social media,” Harmon said.

When describing her art, Harmon said she really likes to draw whimsical things, sometimes animals and then other times more fantasy type things.

“I love capturing movement and grace — a movement in time just before it becomes something new,” she said.

To learn more about Harmon and her art, go to or contact her at

Beth Lawson

Lawson, an artist from Shoreline, said she heard about the art exhibition from an artist website and contacted Stickney and almost immediately heard back from her.

The problem Lawson was having with displaying her work in the lodge was that she works very large, she said.

“So when I came to visit I noticed that the art is actually hanging down that small hallway and it wasn’t going show up. You wouldn’t be able to see it because you would be on top of it. It looks really abstract from up close. So (Stickney) agreed to let me hang prints down there and we would do the artist reception with the original paintings.”

She said her art is more contemporary, but also modern impressionism.

“It can be very abstract up close, but as you step away from it, it becomes more into focus, you can see it better,” Lawson explained.

A lot of the art that she does is based off cityscapes such as San Francisco, which is where she grew up. She also likes to do a lot of Seattle based work as well.

Art runs in her family, Lawson said.

Her dad was a street artist in San Francisco and was a “legit starving artist,” and taught her art from a young age.

Lawson decided to go to school for design and spent 30 years working as an illustrator and graphic designer, but always dabbled in paint.

Her husband told her she should start painting again and sure enough she did.

“So I started painting and kind of found my voice with this style,” she said.

To learn more about Lawson and her art, go to or contact her at

Cheryl Renee Long

Kent artist Cheryl Long said she started painting when she was just 3 years old.

“I had rheumatic fever when I was 3 years old and back in those days they used to (put) kids up in their cribs for like a year and I was just bored out of my mind. I would just grab anything I could and paint on my sheets,” she explained.

She said art runs in her family as well. Her mom was a textile artist and her dad was a photographer.

Long enjoys painting birds, florals and landscapes. Color is a very important aspect to her artwork as well. She describes herself as a “colorist.”

Her art is what she called “enhanced realism.”

“You can tell what my paintings are, but I don’t necessarily need to follow exactly what it looks like,” she said.

The exception to that is birds. She said when she paints birds she wants them to be very recognizable.

Long decided to bring her art to Lake Wilderness because one of her art students brought the idea up to her. She has been teaching watercolor painting for a long time.

“My art is really to share with people and to help them become aware that we have to protect what we love. We have to protect our planet and to see the beauty that is still with us, I want people to understand that we can’t take it for granted and I hope that my love comes to their wall when they buy a painting from me,” she said.

To learn more about Long and her art, go to or email her at

Photo by Kayse Angel 
                                A community member checks out artist Beth Lawson’s work during the Lake Wilderness Lodge Art Exhibition Grand Opening on May 8.

Photo by Kayse Angel A community member checks out artist Beth Lawson’s work during the Lake Wilderness Lodge Art Exhibition Grand Opening on May 8.

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