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Ashland Gallery Association Comes to Aid of AHS Visual Arts Departments

Ashland Gallery AssociationIn response to a need for student art supplies at Ashland High School, the Ashland Gallery Association stepped up their annual donation this year to support the increasing needs for materials not covered in the school budget.

The Ashland Gallery Association recently awarded the Ashland High School Visual Arts Department a grant of $500, given annually each spring to support the needs of artist materials in the classroom. This year, an additional $250 was donated to the school’s Woodshop fund, which also aids the Stained Glass classes.

Ashland High School visual arts teacher, Mark Schoenleber, expressed a growing need for artist materials for his painting and drawing classes, such as canvases and easels, given the increasing numbers of students in his classes each year. One of Ashland High School’s graduation requirements includes taking a Fine Arts class, and this, coupled with Mark’s popularity with the students, has resulted in exceptionally large class sizes.

Margaret Brownlie, the volunteer coordinator at AHS, recently attended the Ashland Gallery Association Executive Committee Meeting to inform the board of the needs of the Visual Arts Department. This meeting has resulted in the Ashland Gallery Association looking at coordinating a volunteer program for the 2011/2012 school year. The AGA currently has in its membership: 18 Gallery Members, 11 Associate Members, 4 Working Studio Members, and 54 Artist Members. Richard Newman, director of Hilltop Gallery at Mountain Meadows and AGA Artist Member Representative, has volunteered to coordinate a program that will involve community artists in the high school visual arts classrooms. In addition, the AGA is exploring other ways the community can become involved by donating unused art supplies such as frames, paints and canvases.

Student Art Show March 2011, Melissa Lamore, showing at Nimbus

Student Art Show March 2011, Melissa Lamore, showing at Nimbus

For over 20 years, the Ashland Gallery Association has been a strong visual arts presence in Ashland. Begun in the early 1990’s when a handful of local gallery owners pooled their resources to promote art awareness, the AGA champions Ashland’s visual arts through local events including, the monthly First Friday Art Walk, as well as the annual “A Taste of Ashland” in April, and the March Student Art Exhibit, which showcases the talent of student artists in our community.

In past years, The Ashland Gallery Association has sponsored the March Student Exhibit through the annual grant to the Ashland High School Arts Advocates (AHAA), as well as direct involvement with the coordination of the exhibits. Each year, Gallery and Associate Members reserve space in their galleries to show student artwork during March. Kim Olson, the AGA Administrator, has acted as the Student Show Coordinator for the past two years, working with the students, teachers, AHAA volunteers and art galleries. Student artists are nominated by their teachers and given an opportunity to prepare for and exhibit their work. Students learn the steps involved in showing their work in a gallery, including communicating with gallery owners, following a timeline, and presenting themselves and their work at the show opening night. This past March, 15 students exhibited work in a variety of mediums, including woodwork, drawing, painting, sculpture, and video production. The process of creating work to exhibit to the public in a local gallery has shown to be an invaluable learning experience for the students.


In a recent statement, Ashland High School teacher Mark Schoenleber expressed his appreciation of AGA’s interest and support of the high school arts program.

Student Art Show March 2011, Angelique Brownlie, showing at Enoteca by Eden Vale.

Student Art Show March 2011, Angelique Brownlie, showing at Enoteca by Eden Vale.

“Ashland High School truly appreciates the Ashland Gallery Association for their support each year.  Not only their financial contributions, but their willingness to share wall space during March’s First Friday Art Walk and their mentoring and support of arts students throughout the year.  All are selfless acts that reach more students than imaginable and foster a strong multi-generational connection of community in the Arts. Their financial donations help us acquire much-needed equipment and supplies not covered in our budget. Their generosity touches us all. “

According to Ashland Gallery Association Administrator Kim Olson,

“The AGA continues to be a sound force in the promotion of the visual arts in our community and recognizes the importance of supporting and encouraging young artists.”

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