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Almeda Fire Resources for Artists

Almeda Fire Resources for Artists. On September 8, 2020, the southern Oregon art community suffered devastating losses. Along with the wider community, many artists lost their homes and all their belongings in the Almeda fire. This is a tragic loss for anyone, but for artists it also meant that their home studios, all their supplies and equipment, and their entire life’s work in art was reduced to smoke and ashes. Coming after months of restricted movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was crushing. Furthermore, some artists found this was a massive insult added to other horrific injuries to their lives and careers that they had suffered the previous month.

Southern Oregon Artists Resource cares deeply about each and every artist in southern Oregon. Our hearts are shattered at the destruction they have suffered. And a great number of them are our personal friends, too. Whether or not they are members of SOAR, they are vital to our overall community’s economic, educational and mental health. Moreover, they bring beauty, healing and hope in times of crisis. Now they need our help, and that’s why we’ve assembled these Almeda Fire Resources for Artists.

After shaking off the shock that hit us as it did everyone in the Rogue Valley, we reached out to SOAR members, asking how they had been affected and what they need. As time has gone on, we have assembled a list of valuable resources that artists should take advantage of as they work to rebuild their lives. We have also received generous donations of art supplies, so when you’re ready to begin restocking, please contact us to make an appointment and come pick up what you need. Several have already come by and connections have been made that resulted in artists getting artists getting supplies they need. We want to see you creating again, both to help yourself heal and recover from the profound emotional toll this has had on you and to begin replenishing your catalog of works available for sale.

We know there are many more out there who need assistance. However, you may still be occupied with the stressful and urgent search for housing (in a county where housing availability was already extremely limited) and basic necessities. At some point you will have at least a temporary situation from which you can start painting/creating again. This horrific experience will surely be the source of much inspiration— painting out the trauma and creating through the grief will help us all to heal. If you are already doing this and don’t mind sharing, please send a shot of what you’ve done and tell us your story. But there’s no rush. We will be here for you when you’re ready.

Almeda Fire Resources for Artists

Here is a list of resources that can help you get back on your feet.

General Help

https://wildfire.oregon.gov/ If you sustained uninsured losses or damage due to wildfires beginning Sept. 7, 2020, you may be eligible for disaster aid. Federal funds are available to help eligible individuals recover from wildfire in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion Counties. To apply, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); TTY, call 1-800-462-7585; 711 or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Click here for more FEMA information or apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov

Added 10/21/20: More important information, advice and resources can be found at these two websites:

Rogue Valley Recovers

Rogue Valley Rebuilds (A site sponsored by Jackson County)

Talent Maker City has a page with links to a lot of important resources here.

The Rogue Valley Relief Fund will go directly to help people most impacted by the fires. In the short term, this fund will be used to directly meet the needs of those who have been displaced by fires—tents, meals, gas, and other supplies folks need immediately. In the long term, we hope that this fund will support people who have lost their homes in these fires as they rebuild their lives, prioritizing those who have the least access to aid. www.mrgfoundation.org/rogue-valley-relief-fund1

Added 10/18/20 – Oregon Artist Relief Fund: This might not apply directly to the fire situation, but if you’ve seen sales drop off this year AND were affected by the fire, it could help you, too. Deadline to apply is November 10, 2020.:

Oregon artists may now apply to a new Artist Relief Program created by the Oregon Arts Commission in partnership with The Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be distributed until the program fund, totaling just over $1.25 million, is depleted.

“Without our artists, there would be no art in Oregon,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission. “We feel strongly that, in addition to the significant relief we were able to provide to arts and cultural organizations through federal CARES Act funds allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Cultural Trust, we need to offer relief funding to struggling Oregon artists as well. We are extremely grateful to The Oregon Community Foundation and the Miller Foundation for joining us in that effort.”

The purpose of the Artist Relief Program is to provide relief funding to Oregon artists who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic due to cancellations of exhibitions, performances, rehearsals or other activities with a stipend, events, teaching opportunities, book signings or other professional presentation opportunities. Guidelines are now posted on the Arts Commission website.

“In times of crisis, artists help us make sense of our world and stay connected to one another,” said Martha Richards, executive director of the Miller Foundation. “The Miller Foundation stands with Oregon artists in this difficult time because we recognize the critical roles they play in our communities and our lives–they are the foundation of our state’s arts ecosystem.”

“Oregon Community Foundation is thrilled to be a partner in this new Artist Relief program,” added Jerry Tischleder, Oregon Community Foundation’s program officer for arts and culture. “We recognize that independent and freelance artists are vital to the recovery of our communities, bringing hope and inspiration to the world while using their creativity to help process the collective trauma, grief and loss we’ve all experienced in these unprecedented times.”

The program supports professional artists from specific disciplines who have experienced or anticipate experiencing loss of revenue of $1,000 or more between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The artistic disciplines supported are: Literature (creative non-fiction, fiction, play writing and poetry); dance (including choreography); music (composition and music performance); theatre and performance art; folk and traditional arts; visual arts (crafts, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and new media); design arts; and media arts.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Awards must be spent by July 31, 2021.

Artists from underserved communities, including (but not limited to) rural communities and communities of color, as well as artists with disabilities, are especially encouraged to apply.

On Facebook:

There are a few groups of truly caring and reliable people working to help people recover from the fires. You can find information in the Southern Oregon Fire Info group. Now that some time has passed, many are no longer allowing GoFundMe links where you can donate cash, due to numerous incidents of fraud that were uncovered. These are groups that have been found to be trustworthy:

Southern Oregon Fire Victim Sponsorship Program

Medford Area Citizen Cares

Adopt A Family From The Ashes ALMEDA

Rogue Valley Relief Fund

Important to Know if You DID Have Insurance

A web design client told us that if you DID have insurance and are dealing with them to establish a claim, you need to be VERY specific about your losses. For example, if you lost a set of 150 Sennelier (or whatever brand) professional artist pastels, be sure to say what brand or they will compensate you for the least expensive pastels possible. Do this for every item you are seeking compensation for, including clothes and other essentials.

Studio Space

The Ashland Art Center is formulating ideas on how to effectively provide some assistance in the aftermath of the fires. Please see attachment. They offer temporary studio space at no cost. Priority consideration will be given to artists who have lost their working spaces due to the fire. Please share this information with anyone needing a place to resume working on their art. (All types of art mediums). For more info, email [email protected].

Art Supplies

Central Art Supply tells us that they have set up several accounts for specific artists as well as a relief fund for local art groups and organizations that people can donate to. Please contact [email protected] or go to Central Art for more information.

Donated Art Supplies are available at SOAR. Please click to see our spreadsheet with everything that has been donated thus far. Some has already been shared, some hasn’t yet been added to the spreadsheet, and more is on its way, so if you don’t see what you need, send us an email and we will be happy to tell you what’s new. Contact us to set up an appointment to pick up what you need.

Sign Up as a Beneficiary of November Benefit Show

Art Presence Art Center is having a benefit show in November, offering donated works by their members. All proceeds will go to artists affected by the fire. They ask that affected artists fill out this form so they can prioritize according to need and contact you after the show to offer you aid from the proceeds. They also have forms on the front counter at the gallery, so stop in and pick one up when you find yourself in Jacksonville. Art Presence is located at 206 N 5th Street, next to the historic courthouse. Contact [email protected]

Donations on Standby – Tell Us What You Need and We Will Connect You

  • A generous SOAR member has wood frames and canvases she would be happy to donate to an artist in need. Contact us and we will help you make arrangements to see and pick up what you need.
  • Another generous SOAR member is eager to help any one who needs it in any way that she can. “We are here for anything, any way for any one who needs comfort. Just let me know. I am in for any way I can be of help – watercolor supplies, my home for a cuppa or glass of ? or supplies that are needed. Painting supplies includes other arts…any knitters?” Contact us and we will help you make arrangements to see and pick up what you need.
  • Yet another SOAR member has an almost new easel. It’s tall and really gorgeous. Wood. Wheels. Adjustable. She’s glad to donate it to an artist who suffered the loss of their own easel in the fire. 
  • A former SOAR member has gently used pastels, surfaces and a tabletop easel she would like to share with an artist in need. Contact us and we will connect you.
  • A glass artist who is a friend of SOAR has plenty of sheet glass to share. Bullseye mostly but also Oceana, Yogi, Kokomo etc. It’s in her garage in 18”x30”x18” plastic craft bins. They will set a table up so you can look. No big sheets but about 6 bins of 12×12 and large scrap. “We would open the garage door wear masks and be safe too. If they didn’t have a place to take it to yet, we can mark it and keep it in the garage till they can come get it.”  Contact us and we will help you make arrangements.
  • Masterpiece Fine Arts Foundation is a member of SOAR. Jeanne, the organization’s director, said her artists would be happy to donate whatever they have that artists need. Be sure to let me know what you need so I can pass it on to her and find out who can help you!
  • Jessica Lee Findleton Can help with photographing/documenting damage. She also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for artists who lost their studios and artwork in the fire. Please contact her through the campaign to learn more about how to access aid. https://www.gofundme.com/f/25c56q5qeo.
  • Renee Childs of Harmonic Designs in Talent can retrieve art archives for those who have scanned their artwork with her.  “If anyone has extra thumb drives to donate… I am happy to fill them with beauty.” [email protected]

FOR DONORS – Artists Who Need Help

Below are our Almeda Fire Resources for Donors. Please note that the GoFundMe links we include below are for artists we know and are safe to donate to.

GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for artists who lost their studios and artwork in the fire. Please contact Jessica through the campaign to learn more about how to access aid. If you are a donor, please share to increase donations to this one! https://www.gofundme.com/f/25c56q5qeo

  • Felix Matchett at SO Clay Distributors says several potters have lost their homes. Contact [email protected] for details on how you can help.
  • Judy Benson LaNier has lost everything! We do not have her contact info but you can send her an email through her website https://s2naturalimages.com/contact.html She had been slated to show at Art du Jour in October and they should be able to help you contact her with your offer of help.
  • Andre Angermann: I am one of the people who lost everything in the Almeda fire. I had moved into the Bear Creek Mobile Home Park in the beginning of August and had brought my very last load of things there on Saturday September 5. For now I am OK staying in a temporary situation. Amazingly enough I had my new computer with me and the flash drives with the original files. Once I get a new copy of CorelDraw, the software I used to create them with, I can get new prints and offer them to customers. I also have jpg’s of different sizes which can be used to make prints. If there is anybody who either has a copy of CorelDraw or has access to buy one at a student price that would be very helpful as I need the program for any modification or resizing. [email protected]
  • Sheri Croy: “Like so many others, I lost my house and with it all my supplies, completed works for sale and in process pieces. My main medium is paper on glass and I lost 10 years’ accumulation of curated glass pieces for this work – more than 600 vessels, votives and candle holders, hundreds of assorted glass ornaments, magnets and jewelry pieces as well as several glass lamps, all my colored paper, hand-dyed and specialty papers, scissors, punches and blades. Over the last 2-3 years, I had diversified into alcohol inks and wood burning and had assembled gear to begin exploration of block printing and screen printing. I also lost all my colored pencils, sharpies, acrylics, pastels and watercolors along with my substrates of all sizes shapes and types. Losing the house and all of our belongings is devastating, losing the ability to work through the pain creatively and remember all the unique pieces of glass I’d been inspired to collect is just heartbreaking. I do not have a website, but my works can be seen on both Facebook and Instagram under Sheri Croy Artist.”  https://www.facebook.com/sheri.croy.artisthttps://www.instagram.com/sheri.croy.artist/ — GoFundMe page: https://gf.me/u/yxzipf
  • GoFundMe links:
  • Miles Frode – Lived in Talent and lost his house and 30 years of artwork. This talented artist, who specializes in abstracts/cubism and more, needs a place to live. We’ve been able to provide Miles with art supplies to get him through this, but there may still be things he needs. https://www.gofundme.com/f/miles039s-lost-art-alameda-fire
  • Norm Rossignol: It’s so hard to start from scratch when you’re over 70! But with your help, that’s exactly what Norm will do. We’ve been able to provide Norm with art supplies to get him through this, but there may still be things he needs.  GoFundMe link – https://gf.me/u/yxrrwp
  • Janet London: Janet formerly did pressed flower mandalas that were an amazing source of joy, just like she is. Earlier this year she was doing some amazing things in acrylic, preparing to make a comeback. That was cut short, as her husband just passed away from cancer, her mother passed away, and now their Talent home, her studio, and all her art is a pile of ashes. GoFundMe link – https://gf.me/u/yxzcvq
  • Jannie Ledard: Janie is a brilliant glass artist and a dear, loving person. No words can express how hard it is to begin again with nothing at 80+ years of age. GoFundMe link – https://gf.me/u/yyiggb
  • Steph Waaser shared this link tree of GoFundMe and PayPal accounts for OSF staff who lost everything. Most of these folks had also been laid off back in April due to the pandemic. They need all the help they can get: https://linktr.ee/memegarcia
  • Bridget Reynolds (from Ashland Art Center): Lost her home in Talent, Oregon along with all of her belongings and art work. She is going to have to start over from scratch: finding housing, getting clothes and toiletries, basic household items, as well as replacing her art supplies so she can continue to paint and create. She fled with the clothes she was wearing and a few personal items she grabbed when she left her home. She has selflessly volunteered for hospice, end of life care for many many years and could really use the community’s support to help her navigate the next steps to rebuild.  Funds raised here will be used only by Bridget to secure new housing, replace furniture, personal household goods, new clothing, toiletries, food and to get a paintbrush back in her hand. Many thanks to Patrick Beste, who donated art supplies to Bridget. We do not know at this time if she is stil in need of more. GoFundMe page: https://gf.me/u/yxykbf
  • Daniel Verner lost everything including his entire life’s work of art and all but one of his collection of musical instruments. We’ve been able to provide Daniel with art supplies to get him through this, but we had run out of acrylic paints by the time he made it to us. If you have acrylics you can share, please let us know. GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/verner-oregon-fire-relief/

More Heartbreaks and How You Can Help

We have learned that Cecilia Pestlin, a lovely artist who we met when she was associated with Art Presence, suffered a stroke in early August and wasn’t sure she would ever paint again. Then, on 8/19, her 102 year old mother died (not COVID-related). And THEN, she and her husband lost their home in the fire. Imagine going through either one of those second two events while trying to recover from a stroke!! They have a safe place to stay in Medford, but she is so deeply traumatized that she doesn’t want to talk to anyone. However, cards and letters are welcome (flat mail only, please). Her new address is PO Box 928, Talent, OR 97540. Whether or not you know her, and if you were affected by the fire or not, please send poor Cecilia a card and let her know she’s loved.

Free Association Gallery – Philippo LoGrande Fundraiser Saturday, November 14, 4–10 pm: We’ve all seen Philippo out painting the historic buildings of Ashland and Jacksonville. Well, his home burned down in August. Then he was diagnosed with inoperable, metastatic brain tumors. As a result, he has lost most cognitive function. He is now receiving treatment in California, and the friends who are caring for him need help covering his expenses—diagnostic tests, consultations, medicine, food and lodging—so this month’s event is a fundraiser to benefit Philippo and his caregivers. Please join us at 120 North 4th Street, Jacksonville, Oregon. Call 541-200-4184 to discuss ways you can help privately.

Almeda Fire Resources for Artists: Southern Oregon Artists Resource SOAR new logo

Happy Thanksgiving Week

Hello from my second lockdown to yours! It’s Thanksgiving week and it looks and feels a lot different than previous years. But you know what? There’s still pie. And there will be turkey and stuffing and it will be a very small quiet day but it’s a year of lowered (lowest?) expectations. I’m not traveling. I don’t feel good about getting on a plane yet. But amidst all of these unbelievable events of 2020, I find myself more grateful than ever.

For me, the southern Oregon fires this summer were the biggest wake up call of all. The very close proximity, the unimaginable loss and the aftermath in this community has put everything into perspective and I can honestly say, this is the year I am incredibly thankful for a good cup of coffee in my own home on my own schedule. So there’s no big Thanksgiving dinner? Ok. Everyone I know is healthy and safe and doing their own version of a revised 2020 holidays. Not every year is a confetti throw.

Because it’s been less hectic, no meal planning, shopping, place setting, house cleaning (phew!) and all the things that go with entertaining, I’ve had extra time to do solo things that bring me equal but different joy. I’m sending out more mail. Painting things I might not have experimented with. Walking longer trails with Bella. Reading more books and learning more skills from YouTube, Skillshare and online classes. You can do all those things with pie!!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! If this year finds you feeling meh…it will pass, promise. Grateful for you and this community of readers, writers and artists. xo

PS. No particular Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale but as many of you know, I do include extra extra goodies in every order placed on my website. That is a true joy for me! Holiday Cards and Holiday Fancy Envelopes are available. Stickers too. Free shipping, usually goes out within 1-2 days. Fast! xo

Ishtar Lakhani on BBC 100 Women List

Congratulations to the Center for Artistic Activism’s Ishtar Lakhani is included on the BBC’s 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2020.

Ishtar is an alumni of Center for Artistic Activism programs, and became a collaborator on programs we ran in South Africa like the 2016 AIDS Conference and trainings for artists working on the decriminalization of sex work in South Africa. She currently works on the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign – a partnership between the Center for Artistic Activism and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. Recently she was profiled in Maverick Citizen.

Congratulations Ishtar!

Quiet Day

 The sun rose over the eastern hills as John and I walked down to the mailbox on a Saturday morning, hoping to catch Sarah, the postwoman, on her rounds. It’s our quiet day–always on Saturday. Before dawn today John set a fire in the living room fireplace where we sat in contemplation, a daily ritual, but on Saturday’s we continue in the calm it instills by engaging only in those activities that bring us into the still center of each moment. Right now John is sitting on the couch reading “The Living Flame of Love,” in his complete works of John of the Cross. He’s facing the fireplace where the logs have burned down to coals. I think of Hopkins’ sonnet in which just such coals “fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.”

It’s good we have this weekly day of quiet, I think, remembering how the pain of the world wakes me almost every night around 2 A.M. and leaves me lying awake for hours, my heart filled with images of people around the world suffering from the pandemic, from wars, from poverty, from worry over the most basic of human needs and dangers: hunger, homelessness, violence, isolation…all too many to name. We’ve talked about it, John and I, how to spend those wakeful midnight moments and hours. We lean against the silence of night and pray. Last night I watched the stars behind the bare branches of the gigantic oak tree in the back yard. Points of light in darkness. It was as though each was a spirit of some person–an exhausted nurse on a COVID unit that I saw on yesterday’s evening news, a frustrated politician, a caged child at the border. Kyrie eleison. Then the sense of presence–those whose lives have mingled for a while with mine–family, friends, teachers, all deeply loved and caring, supporting our poor injured world. I breathe those spirits of light, hoping with them, crying out with them for mercy. Often there are no words, only the breath of life. We cannot do this work alone. It is time to breathe for and with each other. 

Sometimes I write incantatory prayer/poems. Here is one that will soon be published in our local Quarterly, The Applegater. 

The incantation I want to share is entitled “Sheva”meaning in Hebrew “a fissure or wound—a house broken.” “El” means Divine Oneness, so EliSheva implies the coming together or paradox of opposites—a divine fissure or wound. It is EliSheva who speaks: 

My dear beloved,
Your times have become a tumult
Your house near collapse
Your habitation without air or water.
You are broken in the fissure of Elisheva.
I know you.
I am at the meeting place.
You know me.
You have been told of these times.
You have heard the whispers and felt the wings of that which comes.
I am the Oak 
On my branches perch the hawks
I am the Terebinth
See my red berries
See my coral colored burls
I tower above the People.
I am beauty and I am bitterness.
Break me open
Taste.
I am the fissure.
Ravaged.
Do This:
Cry out for those who cannot speak
Weep for those who have no eyes
Dig in earth for those who hunger
Plant the seed.
Feel This: 
Agony of the fawn who has eaten poison,
Silence of the bee from the abandoned hive, 
Ache of the child left on the rocks
Fear in the belly
Dark in the mind
Hold out your being like open hands.
Release it all.
© 2020 Christin Lore Weber

Quiet Day

 The sun rose over the eastern hills as John and I walked down to the mailbox on a Saturday morning, hoping to catch Sarah, the postwoman, on her rounds. It’s our quiet day–always on Saturday. Before dawn today John set a fire in the living room …

Continue reading Quiet Day

Unstoppable Voters Panel – Behind the Scenes

What worked? What were some of the strategies used in the projects? What wasn’t captured in the photos and video? You can watch a recording of this panel below. Highest voter turn out, ever. You can’t win elections without turning out voters. While there’s work ahead and complex problems to solve, we’re allowing ourselves a […]

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No This But This: New Novel Just Released

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No This But This: New Novel Just Released

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Continue reading No This But This: New Novel Just Released

Emergency Circus

Emergency Circus is an Unstoppable Voters Project – a series of Center for Artistic Activism supported works that ensure every vote is counted in the 2020 U.S. election, relieve tension, and build healthy institutions in the aftermath. Emergency Circus Bringing circus joy to where it’s needed most. We are taking circus performer clowns across hotly contested Arizona […]

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Packing and Cracking

Packing and Cracking is an Unstoppable Voters Project – a series of Center for Artistic Activism supported works that ensure every vote is counted in the 2020 U.S. election, relieve tension, and build healthy institutions in the aftermath. Packing and Cracking Do we choose our politicians, or do our politicians choose us? Packing and Cracking […]

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Seed Evolution

Seed Evolution is an Unstoppable Voters Project – a series of Center for Artistic Activism supported works that ensure every vote is counted in the 2020 U.S. election, relieve tension, and build healthy institutions in the aftermath. Seed Evolution One Bus. Eight Cities. Two Weeks. We will have pop-up screenings and public art activations, from […]

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