Thomas Kinkade gallery opens in Kennewick

KENNEWICK -- Anne Craff is banking on Thomas Kinkade paintings having found a niche in the Tri-Cities.

Craff and her husband Carlos opened a gallery of Kinkade art in time for the holiday season.

The cozy showplace at 19 N. Cascade St. in downtown Kennewick displays dozens of creations by Kinkade, who sometimes is called the painter of light because of his skill in making the effects of light a powerful element on canvas.

"It has to do with doing something for the downtown," Craff said. She and her husband already own the Visiting Angels nursing services, located next door, and live upstairs.

"We've seen a need for more family oriented places in downtown Kennewick," she said.

Kinkade's distinctive style of painting and the subject matter seemed like a good fit, she said.

Craff and her husband became interested in opening a gallery after searching Thomas Kinkade's website for ideas when remodeling their second home in Port Townsend.

They bought the building on Cascade Street from the Tri-City Herald 18 months earlier, so they already had a place to create a gallery.

Carlos did all the interior remodeling to make sure the lighting and displays were just right.

The gallery includes five rooms, each featuring a specific subject or theme common in Kinkade's work. One front room represents a living room, with fireplace, and a half-dozen of Kinkade's better known county cottage-style paintings. There is a Disney room, and a room with nautical Northwest-themed art.

Craff said the Tri-City gallery is one of 350 across the nation, with the nearest in Spokane and Leavenworth.

The paintings, which are lithographic reproductions of Kinkade's original creations, have brush strokes added as highlights by Kinkade or one of his master highlighters. The highlights provide a three-dimensional quality and demonstrate the luminescence that Kinkade is known for, Craff said.

The gallery offers Kinkade art at prices from under $15 for matted prints to as high as $2,200 for large artwork up to 5 by 5 feet.

A large painting of Seattle Pike's Place Market is unique among others in the gallery because Kinkade did the original en plein aire style, meaning he painted it on location from the same perspective as represented in the artwork.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Catherine Riddle is the manager.

* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529;