Wednesday, April 17, 2024

'...It's been like not working.'

COULEE CITY – Throughout Central Washington, there are plenty of inspired artists willing to show off their work to the world. One of which – Cariboo Trail Studio – is Coulee City artist Don Nutt sells art inspired by the Columbia Basin.

“I’ve been here for 15 years this spring,” said Nutt. “It’s been a good deal. This has been how I make my living.”

Everything in the studio is an original piece by Nutt and every work of art is inspired by something seen around Coulee City.

One of his works, “Resurrection Creek,” is a painting of an area in Coulee City known as Rock Creek. Nutt thought Rock Creek was a dull name and since the piece was finished on Easter morning the name “Resurrection Creek” seemed more fitting, he said.

“Most of my sales are probably online or at least originate online,” he said. “People will see them online they’ll come in here and take a look at it in person and pick it up.”

Nutt began his art career about 50 years ago when he sold a painting for the first time at a shop called Highlighters Art Gallery. Then about 35 years later he got talked into opening his own shop.

During the time in between his first sale and opening his own gallery, he found himself painting murals around town. Though he was inexperienced in teaching, he also taught middle school art for a while, he said.

“I grew up here in Coulee (City); I always figured this would be a horrible place to have an art gallery,” he said, laughing. “But it’s actually been good.”

He decided back in High School that Coulee City was where he wanted to stay and raise his family. Now he gets to do what he loves in the place where he wants to live, he said.

“There’s times that I can’t sleep because I wanna get back down here and work,” he said.

In Coulee City and Grant County in general there’s a lot to inspire painters. There’s also a lot of good artists that come from the area that benefit from the beautiful scenery in the area, he said.

In the spring Nutt is holding an art show in Coulee City, where local businesses will stay open and host a local artist, he said.

“We did it last year, it was really successful,” Nutt said. “Since I sold my first painting 50 years ago, I decided it was going to be a 50-year thing. 50 years, 50%t off or something.”

This year's festival is to be held on Friday, April 14 to help coordinate with businesses to be open for the event as many are not open on weekends. Last year’s festival had around four to five hundred people in town which is quite a lot for the small, Central Washington town, he said.

Some other art galleries around Coulee City are Highlighters Art Gallery where Nutt began his career and a place called Ideal Endeavors which specializes in woodwork. All three places will be working in cooperation for the upcoming festival, he said.

Art is a very important medium not just to artists, but to society. Art is what dovetails the world together and art can be taken from all aspects of life, he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been like not working,” he said.

Caleb Perez is a communications major at Big Bend Community College and a graduate of Moses Lake High School.

Cariboo Trail Studio

318 W. Main Street

Coulee City, WA




“Resurrection Creek” A painting of Rock Creek near Coulee City that Don Nutt worked on that was finished one Easter morning.



Don Nutt’s collection of different items and art pieces. The works shown are “Orion,” right, “Shadows,” top left, and “Rising Mist-Teanaway River,” bottom left. Also seen is an original flintlock London gun builder from 1809. Another hobby of his besides painting is building and restoring old flintlock guns said artist and gallery owner Don Nutt.