Ed Marquand Keeps Tieton Mighty

Ed Marquand Keeps Tieton Mighty
Photo credit, Mike Longyear

Ed Marquand stands in front of a mosaic from Tieton Mosaic above. Ed began designing for artists and galleries in the late 1970s, and formed Marquand Books in the mid-1980s. In 2006 he founded Mighty Tieton, an incubator for artisan businesses in Central Washington.

We asked Ed about building a creative community in Tieton, some of the challenges facing small rural towns in Washington—and how creatives can be a part of the solution.

Will you describe the work you do and what inspires you to do it?

My primary occupation has been publishing art books for museums, artists, galleries, architects, and publishers for four decades. Lucia|Marquand is based in downtown Seattle, and over the years we’ve published for over 300 museums around the country.

However, I spend much of my time in Tieton, Washington. It’s a small orchard town outside of Yakima. Since 2005, we’ve built a number of enterprises based on a hands-across-the-Cascades business model. Creative design and production studios that would be too expensive to rent and staff in urban centers can establish themselves in this rural area. Our customers, markets, and outlets may be in Seattle and Portland, but the work is done by local talent. We hire and train them to run and manage the studios to produce work at a very high level.

We are called an arts hub, but I am most interested in creating enterprises that can create jobs for the people to live in Tieton. That’s essential to the economic benefit for the community.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your community right now? And what role can creatives play to support their community in achieving success?

Small agricultural towns are fighting to survive. Corporate agribusiness is on a steady march to automate all aspects of crop growing and storage. Small towns like Tieton need to reinvent themselves if they are to stay viable. It’s an on-going struggle.

Fortunately, the ability for many professionals to work remotely, and the interest of young (and older), talented, creative entrepreneurs to invest themselves in communities like ours can help stave off irrelevance. It’s creatively exciting, financially risky, and a lot of hard work.

Marquand Edition, One Tree. Photo credit, Ed Marquand

Some of the businesses that we have started in Tieton include: Marquand Editions, Paper Hammer, Tieton Mosaic, Nomad Mercantile, Boxx Gallery, Tieton Farm & Creamery, Tieton Cider Works, and El Nido Cabins. Tieton Arts & Humanities is our not-for-profit that puts on community events, exhibits, educational programs, and advocates for richer art and design education in the community.

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