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Talent to hold its first Friday art walk

TALENT — Art will be on display in a some unexpected locations during the town's first-ever art walk this Friday.

Many artists have made Talent their home in recent years, but the town has few local exhibition spaces. That will change, if only briefly, Friday night. Ten local businesses in the first three blocks of South Talent Avenue will display art from 4 to 8 p.m. Some will stay open later.

"It's really about the community more than the businesses," said Cory Dalpra, an agent at the State Farm Insurance office that will be one of Friday's gallery spaces. "(We want to do) anything we can do to help the community center and support the local artists. It's exciting to see the arts community grow here."

All venues will offer food and refreshments.

"There are so many artists in Talent. We really wanted to push more artists out there," said event organizer Joe Dunbar, who owns The Total Picture, the only site that currently schedules art openings on a regular basis.

The full slate of exhibition spaces includes Downtowne Coffeehouse, Inti Restaurant, Nica Nelly Imports, Petal and Ink, Photographic camera supply, Proof print shop, Simply Sassy hairdressers, State Farm Insurance, The Total Picture, and the new, as-yet-unnamed sculptors' studio that occupies the former site of Southern Oregon Pottery and Supply.

Paula Fong, a local artist who specializes in watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings, will exhibit about 10 pieces at State Farm. Her insurance agent, Geoff Donaldson, invited her to participate.

"This is an option to do something close to home," said Fong, who usually displays her work at galleries and businesses in Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland.

The Total Picture will have oil paintings by Aurora Lupetti and Margaret Dunbar and silk orchids by Paradise in Bloom. Trium Winery will pour its offerings during the evening, and Paschal Winery will pour at Downtowne Coffeehouse, which will feature three artists. Artists at the sculpture studio will pour liquid bronze to make castings at 7 and 9 p.m.

"I haven't actually seen a bronze pour," said Dunbar. "It's not something everyone gets to see. You have to live near a foundry."

Jim Thompson, who will show at the coffeehouse, hopes the effort will draw what he described as a "loose-knit" artists' community closer together.

"I've been talking to some other folks in the community about the possibility of trying to start a local art guild," Thompson said. "This is kind of a precursor. We don't really know what the response will be."

Dunbar said monthly art walks aren't on the agenda, but there will be a spring event with another art walk and public visits to artists' studios when the days are longer

"This is kind of the learning experience. In time we'll get more people together on a committee" said Dunbar. "The banks and a couple of stores further away said 'We want to be involved.' It will be a little more intense for the spring time (event)."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.