Who We Are

Our History

The Magnolia Art Experience (MAX) was the brain child of Scott Ward. Scott, a fine artist himself and owner of Scott Ward Art and co-owner of Current and Furbish, works with the Magnolia Chamber and is Director of Community Life at Magnolia United Church of Christ (MUCC). He began to see an opportunity, “I noticed what Magnolia had lots of and…what was missing: a community gathering place that encourages art and creativity, provides gallery space for local artists…a dedicated place for classes and community building around all disciplines of art, performance, literary and visual where kids and adults can participate in making art and being inspired by art.”

Scott began networking with others in the art field exploring ideas for developing his vision. A small group of believers Colleen Monette, Tiffany Thiele, Mary Pringle, Nancy Gellos, and Mary Langholz set up a booth at Winterfest 2015 to ask other Magnolians what they thought of the idea of an arts organization for Magnolia. “Over 60 folks responded with ideas, donations, volunteer hours, and great enthusiasm…,” reported Monette. A free art class for four was offered as a raffle prize that night. The winner was selected and called at the next MAX meeting. The winner Jud Bell selected from a number of choices a class in encaustics (hot wax painting) as his prize, his wife and two friends attended. That successful class, taught by Monette, was the first MAX.

I noticed what Magnolia had lots of and…what was missing: a community gathering place that encourages art and creativity, provides gallery space for local artists…a dedicated place for classes and community building around all disciplines of art, performance, literary and visual where kids and adults can participate in making art and being inspired by art.

Scott Ward

Co-Founder, Magnolia Art Experience

The group began to formalize with regular meetings shortly after that. A steering committee made inquiries into becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. A Board of 11 was formed, seed monies were donated and the paperwork to begin the process of incorporating was completed in January and granted in February. The group has been given non-profit status and the final designation of a 501(c)(3) is pending completion of by-laws which are being prepared. The group expects it will receive full non-profit status when by-laws are finalized and recorded with the State of Washington in the fall. Magnolia United Church of Christ (MUCC) is providing the space for events and activities like quarterly art classes: introduction to watercolor, workshops in creativity, writing classes/groups, photography and more. There is gallery space available and local artists are invited to show and sell their work.

On May 21st, 6-9pm, the adult public was invited to: “Join us for an evening of creativity, artistry, community and fun!” Folks helped us design our logo, share dreams and hopes, sign up for classes and meet the board. 140 people came to participate in a fun evening of art activities, meet Board members, discuss visions and ideas for MAX, bid on auction items, enjoy Kasper’s food, learn about MAX and begin fundraising for the cause. Close to $3724.00 was raised to begin the work of MAX. The first MAX classes were launched Summer of 2016: Encaustic for adults by Colleen Monette, Introduction to watercolor for teens and adults by Nancy Gellos, Glass Fusion for adults by Tiffany Thiele and Soullage Collage for the Soul for adults by Becky Robbins.

Our History

I noticed what Magnolia had lots of and…what was missing: a community gathering place that encourages art and creativity, provides gallery space for local artists…a dedicated place for classes and community building around all disciplines of art, performance, literary and visual where kids and adults can participate in making art and being inspired by art.

Scott Ward

Co-Founder, Magnolia Art Experience

The Magnolia Art Experience (MAX) was the brain child of Scott Ward. Scott, a fine artist himself and owner of Scott Ward Art and co-owner of Current and Furbish, works with the Magnolia Chamber and is Director of Community Life at Magnolia United Church of Christ (MUCC). He began to see an opportunity, “I noticed what Magnolia had lots of and…what was missing: a community gathering place that encourages art and creativity, provides gallery space for local artists…a dedicated place for classes and community building around all disciplines of art, performance, literary and visual where kids and adults can participate in making art and being inspired by art.”

Scott began networking with others in the art field exploring ideas for developing his vision. A small group of believers Colleen Monette, Tiffany Thiele, Mary Pringle, Nancy Gellos, and Mary Langholz set up a booth at Winterfest 2015 to ask other Magnolians what they thought of the idea of an arts organization for Magnolia. “Over 60 folks responded with ideas, donations, volunteer hours, and great enthusiasm…,” reported Monette. A free art class for four was offered as a raffle prize that night. The winner was selected and called at the next MAX meeting. The winner Jud Bell selected from a number of choices a class in encaustics (hot wax painting) as his prize, his wife and two friends attended. That successful class, taught by Monette, was the first MAX.

The group began to formalize with regular meetings shortly after that. A steering committee made inquiries into becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. A Board of 11 was formed, seed monies were donated and the paperwork to begin the process of incorporating was completed in January and granted in February. The group has been given non-profit status and the final designation of a 501(c)(3) is pending completion of by-laws which are being prepared. The group expects it will receive full non-profit status when by-laws are finalized and recorded with the State of Washington in the fall. Magnolia United Church of Christ (MUCC) is providing the space for events and activities like quarterly art classes: introduction to watercolor, workshops in creativity, writing classes/groups, photography and more. There is gallery space available and local artists are invited to show and sell their work.

On May 21st, 6-9pm, the adult public was invited to: “Join us for an evening of creativity, artistry, community and fun!” Folks helped us design our logo, share dreams and hopes, sign up for classes and meet the board. 140 people came to participate in a fun evening of art activities, meet Board members, discuss visions and ideas for MAX, bid on auction items, enjoy Kasper’s food, learn about MAX and begin fundraising for the cause. Close to $3724.00 was raised to begin the work of MAX. The first MAX classes were launched Summer of 2016: Encaustic for adults by Colleen Monette, Introduction to watercolor for teens and adults by Nancy Gellos, Glass Fusion for adults by Tiffany Thiele and Soullage Collage for the Soul for adults by Becky Robbins.

Our Board

I am so grateful for the response to Magnolia Art Experience. The excitement and enthusiasm around it tell me that this is the time and place for it. My wish is that it becomes a neighborhood hub, a place where the community comes together, a place where we create beauty, hope and friendships.

Scott Ward

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

I am extremely grateful for all those who have been helpful to me throughout my career. MAX is a way for us to give back to our community and help build an environment that supports the arts and the creativity in each of us.

Nancy Gellos

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

People tell themselves that they can’t draw or they can’t create, but it’s not true. The truth is they can and you can.  You may not draw like a famous artist, but the famous artist couldn’t either at first.  She practiced and she didn’t give up.  The same holds true for writing. We all know that writers write. Arts must be practiced.

Mary Pringle

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

Scott Ward Bio

Scott serves as Community Life Director at Magnolia United Church of Christ. He has worked with the Magnolia Chamber on the Vision Magnolia Tomorrow Project and as President. He was named Magnolia person of the year in 2015 and 2016. He owns Scott Ward Art.

Scott’s trademarks in his art are his use of rich saturated colors and his exploration of the spiritual realm with creative playfulness.  In these paintings, Scott explores themes of container and contained as his images reflect the vitality of the human spirit while pushing the limits of imagination.  His oil on canvas paintings mix animals, human forms and landscapes in a surrealistic yet lighthearted blend of color and shape.  His art is always filled with surprises and rewards us for paying close attention.

In May 2001, Scott debuted his greeting card line and prints on canvas, which is based on his growing body of oil paintings. In November 2010, Scott’s artistic offerings expanded into a variety of products including coasters, cutting boards, aprons and switch plates. In March 2013, Scott and his partner Cameron opened a boutique shop and gallery in Seattle where Scott’s art can be found. In July 2016, they moved the shop to the Fairhaven District in Bellingham, WA. Originally from Minneapolis (Anoka), Scott studied commercial design and illustration at the University of Minnesota before moving to Seattle in 1989.  He has worked as an artist in advertising, marketing, clothing design, graphic design, theater design, landscape design, interior design and murals.  He started painting in 1999. He currently shows at Current and Furbish and has had numerous shows locally and nationally since 2000.

Nancy Gellos Bio

Nancy Gellos is a Seattle illustrator and designer whose work has been recognized nationally and internationally. Beginning as a fashion illustrator, her work expanded to include a variety of illustration styles and mediums, logo design, graphic design, theater sets, a stationery line, book design and publication, and fine art. Currently she is working on a number of watercolor paintings for a children’s book series. She continues to work as a creative director in areas that strengthen community, particularly those which honor children, families, food and the Earth.

Mary Pringle Bio

 Mary Pringle is a Seattle artist and story writer. She believes everyone can draw and everyone is creative, so it is a natural fit that she supports the Magnolia Art Experience as a safe place to encourage the artist in each of us. Mary is also the MAX Secretary/ Treasurer.

Mary says, “Classes help you to set aside time to devote to the arts you want to pursue, and they help you meet like-minded artists pursuing the same goals.  It’s only a win. I believe in continuous learning and that you never learn anything in vain.”

I joined MAX to add more opportunities for creativity in the community, and to share my skills teaching others who want to learn about creativity and art.

Becky Robbins

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

I’ve been dreaming about doing something like this for years now – a place to teach or to take a class, a gallery, interaction with the community. I’d love to see parents and kids come in together to paint, or a fun night of improv or dance. What I envisioned is happening now with MAX and it represents the best of what we all have to bring to the table, art exploration, expression and education.

Colleen Monette

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

The idea of MAX “Art for All” and the concept of creating Magnolia as an artist’s hub really excites me. I see MAX as a catalyst for all kinds of art experiences that will make it a great addition to the neighborhood and a draw citywide – where artist communities –painters, writers, actors can gather, mentor, support and practice their art in a vibrant community setting.

Monica Wooton

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

Becky Robbins Bio

Becky is a third generation native to the PNW, a lifelong artist and lover of art, as well as a returning graduate student for her encore career in Counseling and Creative Arts Therapy. Becky enjoys everything from metal-smithing and mosaic to collage and storytelling.

Becky is playful, inspiring, and loves to explore. She greatly values the ripple effect that occurs when individuals connect: the creation of the unique experience that makes up each group, and which allows each of us a deeper awareness of our inner landscape and how we relate to this amazing and intricate place.

Colleen Monette Bio

Colleen is an encaustic/mixed media, collage and assemblage artist, who’s work incorporates antique documents, books and found objects. Her paintings and assemblages have been published in books and she has exhibited her work throughout the Northwest. Colleen lives in Magnolia and teaches encaustic painting at MAX, as well as at WWCC and Pendleton Center for the Arts, and her own Wax and Wine Workshops in the Walla Walla Valley.

Monica Wooton Bio

Monica is a life-long resident of Magnolia. The oldest of ten and the mother of four grown adults with 5 grandchildren. She has been active in many community projects for Magnolia. She served as one of the founders and president of The Magnolia Historical Society, was project manager and writer/photographer/editor for the award-winning award nominated Magnolia history books Magnolia: Making More Memories and Magnolia: Memories & Milestones; served on the Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council; helped create Magnolia Manor Park as a steering Board member and publicity chair and grant-writer; was a founder and is co-facilitator for Seattle Women’s Art Collective. She has been a reporter/photographer and columnist for the Queen Anne Magnolia News for over 30 years. She graduated from University of Washington in English with Writing Emphasis Magna Cum Laude in 1995.

I am so grateful for the response to Magnolia Art Experience. The excitement and enthusiasm around it tell me that this is the time and place for it. My wish is that it becomes a neighborhood hub, a place where the community comes together, a place where we create beauty, hope and friendships.

Scott Ward

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

I am extremely grateful for all those who have been helpful to me throughout my career. MAX is a way for us to give back to our community and help build an environment that supports the arts and the creativity in each of us.

Nancy Gellos

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

People tell themselves that they can’t draw or they can’t create, but it’s not true. The truth is they can and you can.  You may not draw like a famous artist, but the famous artist couldn’t either at first.  She practiced and she didn’t give up.  The same holds true for writing. We all know that writers write. Arts must be practiced.

Mary Pringle

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

I joined MAX to add more opportunities for creativity in the community, and to share my skills teaching others who want to learn about creativity and art.

Becky Robbins

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

I’ve been dreaming about doing something like this for years now – a place to teach or to take a class, a gallery, interaction with the community. I’d love to see parents and kids come in together to paint, or a fun night of improv or dance. What I envisioned is happening now with MAX and it represents the best of what we all have to bring to the table, art exploration, expression and education.

Colleen Monette

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience

The idea of MAX “Art for All” and the concept of creating Magnolia as an artist’s hub really excites me. I see MAX as a catalyst for all kinds of art experiences that will make it a great addition to the neighborhood and a draw citywide – where artist communities –painters, writers, actors can gather, mentor, support and practice their art in a vibrant community setting.

Monica Wooton

Board Member, Magnolia Art Experience