The same way the Columbia flows through the Gorge, the way the Mill is connected with Camas, the relationship downtown Camas has with Marquita Call is life long and deeply rooted.

Born and raised in this mill town, Marquita said it’s her “long standing love affair with Camas” that has made her strong desire to be a part of the downtown business community, and that’s the backbone of Camas Gallery.

Nine years ago, Marquita put her love of Camas into brick and mortar, into canvas and bronze, into art and business. She opened Camas Gallery along 4th Avenue, large glass windows facing the main street for all to see the wares inside. Lights shine on the art, even in the deep of night, 24/7 for passersby to see and enjoy.

Along with her daughter Jennifer Senescu, the family business has blossomed into a showcase of some of the finest multi-media art and sculpture in the region. In recent times, the gallery has been noticed for its steam-punk installations, a trend that has made its way across the globe. And peeking inside through those large storefront windows, lit up 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even during the mandatory lock-in days, some would say Camas Gallery has become an art installation in its own right.

Marquita said the positivity and appreciation that local artists and patrons alike spread through the Camas community brings her happiness, deeply roots her love for the city, and allows for visitors and tourists to pick up on that vibe and spread the word. “If they’re overjoyed, they’ll tell everyone!”

She explained that Camas Gallery is, “about all Northwest artists … and also, it’s about being a part of the community.” Looking around her gallery, she doesn’t necessarily notice the art. “I found myself one day, looking around and not seeing the art. I was noticing the people. The artwork is great, but we are here for people.”

People like her father, who built dozens of houses in Camas. Her grandfather, who built the lake store at Lacamas. Her grandmother, who played during silent movies at the Liberty Theater in the 1920s. And her many classmates and friends she recalls and visits with on a daily basis, some of which she’s known since her formative years after World War II, through the ’50s and ’60s, and into the present renaissance of downtown Camas.

The minute the stay-at-home order was lifted, Marquita hopped in her car and opened the gallery downtown. She was watching up and down the street, welcoming all those back from the long lock down to her gallery with open arms. Artists will soon be back to painting and sculpting through her “Fresh off the Palette” series, where everyone is invited to interact with artists and their work, and join in the fun and fellowship.