About Us

The Carnegie Picture Lab, formerly known as the Carnegie Art Center’s Picture Lady Program, is a non-profit volunteer-led organization founded in the early 1970’s providing art education to Walla Walla Valley schools serving children in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Mission Statement
The Carnegie Picture Lab Mission is  to nourish creativity by supporting and enhancing art education for elementary school children in the Walla Walla Valley.

Vision Statement
We envision a partnership between school districts, educators, parents, artists, volunteers and the community that leads to a strong and robust arts education curriculum in school, and future opportunities for after-school and summer programming. Picture Lab is a highly visible member of this partnership and brings leadership, coordination, communication and facilitation to the process.


  • 1971 – Carnegie Art Center founded. Early Carnegie volunteers start the volunteer-led Picture Lady Program for Walla Walla public schools in second grader classrooms with art history lectures and poster presentations. This program continues for over three decades – enriching the art education of thousands of Walla Walla public school second graders.
  • 2008 – Augusta Farnum steps in as the new Picture Lady chairwoman and substantially elevates the program to include not only the art history component, but also a student friendly art creation component. The most significant change is to expand the program from one that previously only served 2nd grade classrooms to include the entire K – 5 levels, thus underscoring a key value of the new organization: Every Child. Every Class. Teachers and students meet this with great enthusiasm.
  • 2009 – Carnegie Art Center Board moves to support the education component of its mission exclusively. This involves severing ties with the old Carnegie Library building and focusing endowment and finances entirely on the arts education program. A new Board is formed. Members are Heidi Cohan, Tricia Harding, Augusta Farnum, Mari Sanders, Denise Slattery and Carol Morgan.
  • 2010 – The Board engages Jan McGowan of Nonprofit Consulting to focus the program and help develop a strategic plan. The Board moves for a rename to Carnegie Picture Lab and a three year strategic plan is adopted ensuring the sustainability of the program. Fundraising goals are set.
    The program expands to include a half-day Fifth Grade field trip for every participating school to the Walla Walla Foundry. Fifth graders are exposed to this world-class art fabrication facility and foundry with tours led by the craftspeople and technicians who work there. A hands-on activity follows. It’s wildly popular!
  • 2011 – The Carnegie Picture Lab has “fine-tuned” their mission and vision statements to better reflect the arts program. New Board members are added and the organization gears up for a capital campaign in 2012.
  • 2013 – The Board undertakes a Strategic Plan emphasizing Development, Communications and Curriculum development. Plans are made to create a six-year cycle of curriculum so no elementary student is taught the same artist twice. Development efforts include the first Annual campaign and a dedicated effort to acknowledge and communicate regularly with Picture Lab’s supporters.
  • 2014 – Picture Lab is successful in achieving a Capacity Grant from the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust! We hire our first employee, Tracy Thompson, who had been a member of the board of directors; she starts as a summer hire, working on curriculum, communications, and volunteer recruitment. In October, the Board of Director decides to offer Ms. Thompson the position of Program Director, utilizing her background as an educator, nonprofit public relations, fundraiser, and marketer.
  • 2017 – Picture Lab engages in a process to develop a new three-year strategic plan for the organization.
  • 2019 – The Board moves the organization forward with the hiring of its first Executive Director, Susan Greene and naming Kristie Coleman as Program Director after Tracy moved onto a new position with the Blue Mountain Community Foundation. With our new staffing structure, Picture Lab is poised to move forward in new and exciting directions!  


Carnegie Picture Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on art eduction in Walla Walla valley schools. Read more about CPL here .