Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Walla Walla Art & Design Center at NoMa

For years I've been driving west on Rose Street and would admire the woeful old Victorian located on the corner of Rose and Spokane Streets. In spite of its run down appearance with the wrap-around front porch, often cluttered with old sofas, boxes, and an occasional rusty stove; this building told me that at one time the porch and upstairs balcony were enjoyed and not used for a dispository of cast-offs and rubbish, but for relaxation and a view. And every time I drove by, I would wish that someone would see the building the same way I saw it and give the building back its integrity the day it was built in 1902.

In the early years of Sonoma and Napa Valley, San Francisco natives, Alexis and Roger Quiring, would spend time in the California wine country admiring the charm of the small towns, the old buildings, views of the country and of course, the wines. In time, as you know, others discovered the same secrets of the Northern California. By vacation and relocation of old friends, the Quirings visited Walla Walla and once again, found themselves surrounded with charm, historical buildings, views of the country and of course, the wines.

Fashion author and event coordinator, Alexis longed for a new project, but most of all a project that would give her a reason to journey out of the busy area of San Francisco once in awhile. At the same time, one of Alexis's best friends from high school, Ceil Blayne and Ceil's son, Damon Bruck were making plans to open a new restaurant-market, Luscious By Nature in the newly restored Schwarz/Adams Edgewater Plaza at Colville and Alder Streets.

So, it turns out I wasn't the only one who had been admiring the old 1902 Victorian after all and Alexis Quiring got her wish. She found herself a new project located on the corner streets of Rose and Spokane. The old Victorian with the great bones is once again alive and filled with positive movement thanks to Alexis and her dreams for the former run-down apartment house. Named the Walla Walla Art & Design Center, not only has the outside of the building been treated to a face lift, but the inside, too! The WWADC consists of seven tasteful renovated suites ready to accommodate an assortment of artists, designers and other creative entrepreneurs. Several times a year, the WWADC will host special events in their Garden and Interior Galleries featuring a variety of artists. I toured the building last night. The decor is beautiful with a blend of contemporary and vintage-style lighting, soft warm colors, and sea grass floor runners highlight the original wood floors. The first tenants to stake their claim is a mortgage company, video production company, a long time jewelry designer from California, and last but not least is the exquisitely decorated hair studio of Rob Paul. Nancy Mirsky is property manager and director for the new WWADC.

Last month, The Walla Walla Downtown Foundation awarded certificates to Roger and Alexis, in recognition of their restoration of the Walla Walla Art & Design Center and special recognition was also presented to them for the coining the phrase, "NoMa,'' which describes the developing district north of Main Street, where the WWADC is located on Spokane and Rose Streets.

This Friday, August 10, an artist reception will be held for Carolyn Amerian and her photography. Carolyn's works celebrate six years of found objects in her travels from Europe to California. Ceil and Daymon from Luscious by Nature will cater the artist reception and Walla Walla produced wines from Lynn Chamberlain, winemaker/owner of JLC Winery will be poured (by the way: Lynn has a fabulous Spofford Station Estate Syrah that really shows off the true terroir of Walla Walla).

My recommendation is to keep an eye on this resurged and vital downtown corner and when I hear more progress about new tenants and upcoming events, I will definitely let you know.


Sue said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was curious to hear more after last evening so it was nice to go to your "blog" this a.m. and see it. Truly besides the good wine tips I love to visit your blog because you are so good about updating us on the "new" happenings in WW. It was good to see you last night.

wild walla walla wine woman said...

Hey Sue! Thanks so much for the kind words. It was also good seeing you, too and I will continue to try my best to keep updating everyone about WW. I think I need a t-shirt "So many happenings in Walla2 and so little time!" Cheers!

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