This article first appeared in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Updated
Jean Arnold’s paintings will be on display this spring
A Pullman woman is using her artwork to benefit the Malden community through raising awareness and donations.
Jean Arnold recently painted two pieces depicting the destruction in Malden caused by a devastating wildfire that swept through the town and Pine City last fall.
Arnold’s pieces will be for sale and on display at a pop-up show May 1, 2 and 8 at the Little Pink House Gallery in Genesee. She will contribute 25 percent of the proceeds to the United Way’s Whitman County Wildfire Community Relief Fund.
She believes artwork can inspire people to look more closely at important issues.
“Using art to shine a spotlight is an interesting approach because if something’s well painted it draws a viewer in,” Arnold said.
Art, she said, can “cause them to look at something they may otherwise turn away from.”
Arnold moved to Pullman from Salt Lake City in August. Her friend, who is an art curator, organized a Salt Lake City art show with a theme centered around wildfires. Arnold became involved in that show, so she went to Malden to shoot photos of the destruction and create her painting from those images. When she traveled to the small northern Whitman County town, she was struck by the emotional weight of what she saw.
“Very sobering,” she said.
In addition to the pieces that will be shown at Little Pink House Gallery, Arnold plans to do a series of paintings about Malden.
Arnold knew that if she was going to do this and get attention for her work, she did not want to benefit from the misfortune of others. So, she decided to donate some of the sale money of her paintings to the community.
“I should do something to help,” she said.
Ever since she declared at 4 years old that she wanted to be an artist, Arnold said she enjoys the creative process of painting, seeing the image unfold and seeing each work develop its own personality.
Her artwork has reflected her concerns about the effects of the climate crisis, an issue she has been following closely for 14 years. Her Malden paintings are no different.
Arnold said she hopes that when people view her paintings, they will get a sense “that more and more of us are being impacted by what’s happening and that what is happening has such far-reaching consequences.”