Art for everyone

Local art gallery creates space where art for and by the people can take place.


Tammy Ortegon considers herself a folk artist, and she believes folk art is created by and for the people. A part of making this a reality is by creating a space where community members can gather to learn and express themselves. For 19 years Ortegon, a Kingfield resident, has run the ColorWheel Gallery (46th and Grand) that features her own art along with many other local artists. With art exhibits, special events, classes, and inspiration, the ColorWheel Gallery aims to make art accessible to everyone by focusing on community building, diverse voices, and social change. 

“My vision for the ColorWheel Gallery is to be a community space that supports artists, neighbors, and ideas. I want to attract customers that want to make a difference and a statement in what they choose to buy,” Ortegon said

What kinds of art do you offer?

Ortegon: The gift shop carries an always changing, variety of locally made, hand crafted and one-of-a-kind items. Handmade and vintage jewelry. Incense, soaps and body products, Frida Kahlo-style folk art, Prince, Twin Cities icons, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs. Unique art prints and greeting cards. Funky, global inspired treasures. Gently used art and social justice books. Re-purposed, recycled collectables and décor. Global, vintage, and funky clothing and fabrics. Found trinkets, inspired charms, beads, and art supplies.

How do you help promote local artists?

Ortegon: I love giving an opportunity and encouragement to artists. Being an artist myself, I believe that we need to uplift each other. Inspiration and talent grow in a creative community. I believe that it’s important for art to be accessible to everyone because so often art has been kept separate, considered something for only privileged people. Everyone in my family are artists and they never thought they were “real artists” and believed “people like us” are not the kind of people who go to galleries or museums. My insecurities kept me back for a while, believing I wasn’t “good enough.”

When I opened the ColorWheel Gallery, I made sure that everyone felt welcome. I have worked with many artists that were just starting out, mentoring them, and sharing what I have learned as a self-taught artist, as well as exhibiting many well-established artists. For many years, I curated an “Artist under 18” show, working with young artists. One of the main themes of the ColorWheel is art is for and by the people, and that art should always disrupt the system of what we’ve been told to believe. Being able to exhibit my mother’s art in my gallery was a way to break some of those classist ideas my family believed about themselves. 

An annual exhibition at the ColorWheel is on Mother’s Day weekend called “Fight Like a Mother!” features 20 artists in all mediums who are mothers. Their art has to be inspired by the question “What does it mean to fight like a mother?”.  I am thankful that I have been able to host many diverse voices and ideas at the ColorWheel. The artists I have worked with have been women, POC, LGBTQ+, and people in the social justice community.

How are you making art accessible to everyone?

Ortegon: I love interacting with customers and talking about the art and artists I carry in the shop. I especially want to be a safe and inspiring space for neighborhood youth. I really love inspiring people to create, to find their artist within. I have held hundreds of community interactive art events, classes, and workshops for all ages. People from ages one to 91 have created art at the ColorWheel Gallery, and I have exhibited and highlighted over 800 local artists, musicians, poets, writers, designers, and small business creators in the last 19 years open.

 I am so thankful to have curated and organized many fantastic events, art exhibits, community, social justice meetings, book and poetry readings, workshops, art demos, fashion shows, pop-ups, live music, street festivals and more! I always want to be focusing on progressive ideas, reusing, and recycling, creating art together, diverse voices, and social change. Please come and support, enjoy and celebrate local artists, makers, and independent entrepreneurs at ColorWheel Gallery guest artist pop-ups held two Saturdays a month. Stop by, meet the artists, and enjoy local brilliance, creativity, and community. 

More information about events and ColorWheel Gallery can be found at 


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