Non-Profit Feature

Go Local donates 3% of each issue’s advertising revenue to a local nonprofit organization. This issue supports KALICO Art Center.

kalico art center

Q&A with Alisha Shilling, founder and board chair.

“Krusty” Overman teaching a screen printing class


What is your mission statement?
Officially: KALICO stands for the KALIspell COntemporary Art Center. We’re a contemporary community space for all ages and abilities to create, connect, and experience art by offering dynamic classes, events, exhibitions and studio space.

Off the cuff: KALICO’s mission is to unlock the creative in each of us, to help you remember the creative you were when you were a kid.

What does KALICO offer?
We wanted to create a space where, despite your ability or even belief in yourself as an artist, you could create, and connect with others. We offer a variety of art classes for all ages, a full clay studio with six pottery wheels and a kiln in the basement, paint-your-own pottery upstairs, quarterly art exhibitions, and Saturday Sessions, free learning and creating classes with a professional artist.

What’s KALICO’s backstory?
Well, we opened our doors in January 2020. Our planned grand opening was the day the lockdown was announced. But a lot of great things have happened, even with the pandemic. The government funding allowed us to put art kits together, which we handed out in partnership with the library and the Hockaday Art Museum. We had an art show in June 2020 called “Quarantine Dreams,” and, from the sales of those pieces, we established a

BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] microgrant fund. It wasn’t the beginning we envisioned—and we’ve done a lot of pivoting—but we’ve managed to have art classes and exhibitions and events safely, with a lot of creativity and flexibility.

What kind of assistance would help KALICO?
We have a running list of volunteer opportunities, from organizing donated art supplies to deep cleaning projects—an art center is messy! Volunteers can become clay studio techs, helping our pottery studio manager, or front desk docents, greeting people and getting them started on pottery painting projects. And, like every nonprofit, we always need funding. If we had more funding security, we could be more creative. Funding comes in so many ways: purchasing an annual membership, making a regular donation, or even putting some cash in the donation bucket at one of our free events. Micro-donations add up!

What do you wish people knew more about?
There are two things; the first is our Saturday Sessions, where we bring in different artists who share their body of work and do a hands-on project with the attendees. Park Side Credit Union sponsored us so we could provide this donation-based experience. It’s so fun! I really love it because it’s multigenerational learning; everyone is welcome.

The second is that when we have our quarterly exhibitions, a percentage of the money from the sale of those works goes back into the community. The artists get to choose whether to put KALICO’s share of the profits into our scholarship fund or our BIPOC microgrant fund. Our exhibition sales give back to the community, not just to KALICO.

How would you like to affect the valley?
We throw around the word ‘community’ a lot, but it’s harder to create community than we realize. You need people to show up, and you need something for them to do. We want to bring something to the community by creating another place for people to meet each other. A place that’s inclusive, where everyone is welcome. I would hope we could bring some more fun and creativity to the community, things that are different and unique and keep us engaged and inspired.


Monica Gilles-BringsYellow sharing her alcohol ink technique


Ceramics and pottery wheel classes in the basement of KALICO


How can folks donate to/get involved with your organization?

Phone: (406) 471-2832
Instagram: @kalicoartcenter

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