Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Garden Party highlights new things coming for CBAA

Staff Writer | May 15, 2024 2:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — The Columbia Basin Allied Arts Garden Party brought folks together from all over the Basin to further the local arts scene Saturday. The event has so far raised nearly $29,000 and donations are still being accepted to help CBAA meet or exceed its $30,000 goal, Columbia Basin Allied Arts Director Shawn Cardwell said.

“We don't have to leave our area for amazing arts and culture,” Cardwell told the crowd. We are the arts and culture here. You are the arts and culture here.”

The event was held at The Garden in Moses Lake, on a shaded lawn under the trees. Lunch, catered by The Cow Path Bakery in Othello, consisted of salads and sandwiches. Beer, wine, lemonade and rum punch were also available to fight off the late spring sun.

There was a silent auction as well as a live auction conducted by Chuck Yarbro Jr. Attendees had a couple of other opportunities to contribute as well: a raise-the-paddle and a ball toss that put the player in a drawing for a half-carat diamond tennis bracelet donated by Harrison’s Jewelers in Ephrata.

Music was provided by the John Owens Marimba Duo, who will be among the musicians sponsored by CBAA to perform at the Moses Lake Farmers Market this year.

 “They did an outstanding job,” Yarbro said. “You know, when you're walking up it’s so cheerful. We’ve got a beautiful day and we’ve got this (marimba). It makes you feel like the Caribbean.”

The money went to support CBAA’s arts programs, which have expanded considerably over the last few years, Cardwell told the crowd. When she took the reins at CBAA in 2018, the Green Turtle Series of shows aimed at younger audiences were shown at the Wallenstien Theater, just like the shows for adults. Now the performers are brought to the schools, and not just the larger districts like Moses Lake, Ephrata or Quincy but in small districts like Wilson Creek that might not otherwise have a chance to see the show. This year CBAA has put on 10 shows for 13 districts, Cardwell said, because some smaller schools combined to make the shows more affordable.

“We are still making leaps and bounds making sure that all of the kids in the Columbia Basin — and that includes Grant, Adams and Lincoln counties — have access to the performing arts,” she said. “We believe that access to the arts helps students learn better, not only academically but also socially and emotionally. And that is not just something we believe as hippies, but also something that's well documented in science journals.”

CBAA still has its traditional Premier Series performances as well, and has also expanded its Civic Series to include events like the Umani Festival, a celebration of Hispanic heritage held in September in downtown Moses Lake. This year’s event will include a lowrider show, several bands both visiting and local and, for the first time, Mexican-style lucha wrestling.

“I'm talking the full wrestling platform, with the masks and the body slams,” Cardwell said. “It is gonna be exciting.”

In addition, CBAA has taken steps to be designated a local arts agency, Cardwell said. That could bring in tens of thousands of dollars in state funding for music dance, theater, visual arts exhibitions, literary readings and folk art festivals, among other things, according to the Washington State Arts Commission’s website.

“Next year, hopefully, your donation is going to get matched by several large grants that allow us to grow and allow us again to get the arts,” Cardwell said. “You know, we're not talking highbrow; we've put a band on a trailer out at the Sand Scorpions (off-road) events. It doesn't have to be in the theater. It doesn't have to be dressy. It just has to be fun. It just has to be a moment where we are connecting over expressions of joy. And that's what we're all about.”

Joel Martin may be reached via email at

    Columbia Basin Allied Arts board member Leslie Ramsden tosses a velcro ball at a target for a chance at a drawing to win a diamond bracelet at the CBAA Garden Party Saturday.
    The John Owens Marimba Duo provided music for the CBAA Garden Party Saturday, giving the sun-dappled event a Caribbean air.
    Attendees at the Columbia Basin Allied Arts Garden Party Saturday serve up sandwiches and salad catered by the Cow Path Bakery in Othello.