When it opened three years ago, the 4th Street Theatre made it a point to showcase local visual and literary art alongside the performing arts.

But the work on the walls then — including paintings by Carol Hassen and Delma Tayer, as well as snippets of poetry from local writers — was just the beginning. The 4th Street Theatre, a modern industrial-chic black-box sister to Yakima’s grand dame, the Capitol Theatre, essentially added a small gallery the following year in a corridor leading to the venue’s restrooms. A reception from 5:15 to 7 p.m. today at the theater will introduce 12 new pieces of art that will hang for the next year.

“We wanted to showcase as much of the talent we have in our valley as possible,” said Steve Caffery, CEO of the Capitol, which oversees the 4th Street.

The theater contacted Hassen, who is executive director of Ellensburg’s Gallery One as well as a painter, and charged her with curating the gallery space. It is marked by a neon sign reading “Art on the Wall.” This is the third year of the program, which has included local luminaries such as Leo Adams.

This year’s artists are another strong group: Renee Adams, Carolyn Nelson, Deborah Ann, Laura Wise, Gary Miller, Justin Beckman, Bruce Lindell, Scott Bailey, Marcia Blevins, M.R. McDonald, Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer and Richard Nicksic. Their work is focused on the theme “air,” a continuation of the previous year’s elemental themes of water and earth. Most of the pieces are paintings, but there are also mixed-media prints, photographs and textiles.

Watch the Yakima Herald-Republic’s entertainment blog the On Blog, www.yakimaherald.com/blogs/onblog, today for video from inside the exhibit.