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Art with a View: More opportunities to share beauty with the public

Courtesy photo

A new perspective on an annual arts fundraiser broadens participants’ view.

Art With a View is Ashland Gallery Association’s invitation to peruse locally produced art, listen to live music and stroll the pollinator-friendly grounds of a solar-powered gallery. The May 14 event, organizers say, reinvents the association’s long-running A Taste of Ashland in a format that’s “more accessible to more people.”

“This is a chance for a wider variety of the public to be able to come,” says Cheryl Kempner, association board member and treasurer.

Admission is free to the outdoor festival, from 2 to 8 p.m., on the rural property of Gambrel Gallery, 1980 E. Main St. Twenty-two artists plan to display and sell works that range from painting and collage to glass and ceramic to jewelry and textiles.

Some of the items — hefty metal lawn sculptures and materials salvaged from a fire scene — likely wouldn’t adorn A Taste of Ashland’s traditional galleries, says Kempner. A refurbished barn that opened last year, Gambrel Gallery also will open its latest exhibit, paintings by Anthony Adonis Lewis, for the event. A bandshell will host the Danielle Kelly Trio, Dusty Rubies, Wilderland and True Reactions.

A silent auction and hourly raffle drawings benefit the association, which is taking nothing from the participating artists, says Kempner, “because many artists are struggling.” The festival also supports two other fundraisers: Pollinator Project Rogue Valley and reconstruction of the historical Malmgren Garage, which burned in the 2020 Almeda Fire. Food from Stone’s Jamaican Roots & Juice and Martha’s Food Truck will be available for purchase, along with local wines, beers and nonalcoholic beverages.

“We essentially wanted to offer this as a celebration, and we hope to break even,” says Kempner.

Raising about $20,000 annually in recent years, A Taste of Ashland relied on donations from local restaurants and wineries, which the association did not want to solicit on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic’s hardships, says Kempner. But the association — after canceling Taste last year and moving it online in 2020 — intends in 2023 to bring back the Ashland tradition, much as it was for 30 years.

“Taste was such an important part of sort of the kickoff to Shakespeare and welcoming the tourists to town,” says Kempner, an Ashland resident.

Ashland visitors and locals can obtain the first new edition in three years of the Ashland Gallery Guide, says Kempner. The association printed and distributed the free guide to galleries in February and also posted the digital version, available for download, on its website. Fewer pages than in previous years helped to keep costs lower and also reflect the reality of the arts community since the pandemic, says Kempner.

“We have lost some galleries in town.”

The association received grant funding from City of Ashland and Oregon Cultural Trust to support its work, says Kempner. Art With a View, she says, has been in development for about a year to offer a “safe” venue that would accommodate not only the hundreds that previously purchased tickets for Taste but new enthusiasts of the region’s visual arts scene.

“So we’ve got elbow room, and it’s beautiful,” says Kempner. “It’s a 360-degree view.”

A large field a block from Gambrel Gallery will provide the majority of event parking, and a shuttle will run between the two sites. Biking and carpooling are encouraged. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination may be required upon entry, depending on pandemic conditions at the time.

See ashlandgalleries.com.

Almeda fire repurposed remnants
Courtesy photo

Remnants of the Almeda fire repurposed as wall sculptures are among artworks for sale at Art With a View.

More than 60 pieces, priced from $20 to $65, can be purchased to help fund restoration of Talent’s historical Malmgren Garage and its designation on the National Register of Historic Places. Owned by Bonnie Morgan, the 1924 structure was at one time Morgan’s ceramics supply store and more recently rented to an antiques dealer before its destruction in the September 2020 blaze.

Using a plasma torch, Morgan and fellow artist Cheryl Kempner cut silhouettes of the garage’s burned-out facade from the building’s own fire-scarred metal flashing. The duo also produced from the same material a series of heart-shaped hangings.