Back in 1961, Oly Brewing stockholders attended a luncheon meeting in the brewery warehouse in the Deschutes Valley. During that luncheon, a huge painting (about 9’ x 20’) was unveiled. Forgotten for many years, that painting has now been rescued and is again on display.
In April 1961, the brewery held a stockholders’ luncheon, at which time this painting was first unveiled. The meal was served by waitresses attired in Bavarian costumes. A German band serenaded the 490 guests with appropriate music before and during lunch. The painting served as an appropriate backdrop for the luncheon speakers.
The painting was displayed for a few years, then was stored in the brewery warehouse for decades, covered by brown kraft paper. But it was vulnerable to paint loss and vandalism. In 2021, retired Oly brewmaster Paul Knight, Schmidt House curator Karen Johnson, and security staff Dan Venable realized that the painting needed to be saved.
The warehouse’s owner, Tumwater Development LLC, agreed to donate the painting to the City of Tumwater. Black Lake Resources, which manages the Craft District buildings, agreed to store the painting until a new craft building was completed. With a lot of volunteer labor, the painting was recently installed in the new Market Building just south of the Capitol Boulevard/E Street intersection.
We know little of the painting’s history. Where did it originally come from? Who was the artist? Even the signature is hard to read (we’ve researched several guesses, with no luck). A search through brewery records now held by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation failed to yield any more information about the painting’s origins. If you have any answers, please contact Karen Johnson at email@example.com.
Come by the Craft District’s new Market Building to view the painting. While you’re there, be sure to visit the retail shops already in residence: Olympia Seafood Company, Finn River Cidery, SweetLee’s Ice Cream, and more! And you can keep track of the latest businesses and development at Tumwater’s Craft District – Distillery, Dining, Retail & Events (thecraftdistrict.com).
Thanks to the many organizations and individuals who made this art rescue possible:
Advance Environmental (Dan Venable)
Tumwater Development LLC (Chandulal Patel)
City of Tumwater (John Doan, Pete Kmet, and Chuck Denney)
Black Lake Resources (John Peters)
Olympia Tumwater Foundation (Karen Johnson)
South Puget Sound Community College (Megan Myers)
Article written and provided by Schmidt House & History Program curator Karen Johnson.