On April 3, artist Penn O. Shelton passed away. With her connection to the arts community, a celebration of life was held at the Larson Gallery on April 24.

After her passing, her family donated her collection to the Boxx Gallery in Tieton. The Boxx is a nonprofit gallery and community gathering space that was born out of a desire to use the sale of art to benefit the Highland Food Bank. It specializes in showing the work of artists in Central Washington.

Shelton was especially known for her paintings of faces and horses, using minimal details to portray emotion and meaning. She received many awards for her work in her lifetime and was respected and loved for her spirit and humor. She became an inspiration and a mentor to other artists. During her lifetime, she collected the art of others in the community, including Leo Adams, Delma Tayer, WD Frank, Margaret Carpenter, and many more. The “Penn O. Shelton Art Collection Sale” includes a number of her own works as well.

Penn was born in Santa Fe, N.M., then moved to Bellingham as a child. She graduated from high school in Bellingham at the age of 16 and attended Western Washington University, where she majored in art and her studies included art history, oil painting, watercolor, and pen and ink.

After three years of college, she moved to San Francisco. While working there, she met several practicing and academic artists that taught her that art could be a full-time profession. Returning to Bellingham after several years, Penn married Phil Shelton in 1970.

After moving to Yakima, Shelton attended J. M. Perry Technical Institute. She then worked as a professional graphic artist and illustrator. In 1989, she began to create art as a full-time profession.

The Boxx is hosting a sale of her collection on June 18 and June 25 from 11 AM to 4 PM at 601 Elm Street on the town square in Tieton. The Boxx Gallery is grateful Penn’s family, Kay Barga (Bruce), Marc Bruce, Noah Bruce, and Sylvia Bruce for their generosity, as well as Penn’s friend, Kathy Hennessy who made this donation possible.

David Lynx is executive director of the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley College. He writes this weekly column for Explore. Learn more at www.larsongallery.org.

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