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Pie in the Sky

The other day, I was hunting for a file deep in the recesses of my Dropbox folders when I found a document from over twenty years ago. It was a self-assessment essay, written for my senior portfolio as an undergraduate.
At some point, I must have transferred it from a floppy disk, and I hadn’t read it since I wrote it. I winced before clicking “open,” wondering what young Anna had “assessed.” I started to scan the double-spaced, Times New Roman font. Two paragraphs in, and it wasn’t as terrible as I’d thought. I read on. In one section, I detailed the then-highlights of my writing education. One was a seventh-grade project on The Odyssey. Calypso’s fire of the future inspired me, and I wrote an essay musing on my grown-up life.  
I was simultaneously back in my college basement apartment writing that memory and back in the grade-school classroom writing the original. Meta-historical-memory, maybe.
Toward the end of my nine-page self-assessment came this paragraph about my post-graduation dreams: “Once I have the diploma in my hands, I could find myself teaching, working on the staff of a literary magazine, publishing, curating…or even traveling as a freelance artist and poet. I cannot predict what will burn in Calypso’s fire this time, and I do not want to. Through serendipity and grace, the right things come. I am willing to wait.”
I blinked. I hadn’t realized my twenty-year-old self had known all the things she wanted to do. And then I realized I had done them all—including the “or even” of being a traveling freelance artist and poet—the least likely element on the list at the time, especially since I had no role model for that in pre-social-media 1997. It was my pie-in-the-sky dream.
Young me just reminded middle-aged me of serendipity and grace: Thank you, Anna.
Let’s remind ourselves of our dreams, live them, and keep hatching new ones. Apparently, it’s time I hatch some new dreams….

And apparently, there’s pie in the sky after all!

Representative Chellie Pingree’s Statement at the Full Committee Markup Meeting

The new co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Representative Chellie Pingree, gives a heartfelt statement at the full committee markup meeting covering arts funding and expanding grantmaking opportunities for the NEA and NEH.

Serenity and Joy at Butler

Palm Pattern #125, Edith Bergstrom, at Butler Institute of American Art

The Butler Institute of American Art, the nation’s first museum devoted exclusively to American art, is a jewel tucked way in an old, slimmed-down Rust Belt town, which was booming when America’s industrial age was in full swing. Youngstown is probably one of the communities hardest hit by the migration of heavy industry out of the U.S. and has had to rebuild since huge job losses in the 1970s. Once a city of 170,000 people, it shrank to around a third of that in the 70s and 80s. As with most cities once nourished by the Erie Canal (like the one in which I live), it has had to find ways to diversify its economy and attract and grow innovative new technology firms despite the Great Lakes climate. In the past decade, Youngstown began to stir with new economic life and because of its history as an industrial powerhouse, back when it attracted immigrant workers from around the world, it remains one of the most racially and culturally diverse cities in the nation. Flint and Detroit may get all the publicity, but Youngstown has to have been buffeted and betrayed by the global economy about as severely as any town in the world—and yet it has found a path forward to a new sort of identity and pride in itself. The Butler seems to assert a kind of unassailable character, an affirmation that a few quiet human virtues—gratitude, appreciation, taste—won’t just survive but can prevail in our current feverish media culture. It feels a little miraculous to walk into this little oasis of beauty and wisdom hidden in “flyover country,” among the ghosts of steel mills almost exactly halfway between New York City and Chicago, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

I delivered a painting to the Butler this past week for the Midyear exhibition by driving west through Buffalo and Erie. I was startled, when I turned onto Wick Avenue, where the museum is situated on the Youngstown State University campus. It’s a beautiful structure, a little grander in person than in its photographs, with a columned façade that looks as if it were modeled after one of Piero’s early Renaissance piazzas. After I dropped off my still life in its wooden crate, I decided to linger for a look at my destination. It was such a pleasure, I ended up staying far longer than I’d intended. It was like being introduced to someone with whom you feel a deep affinity—both the permanent collection and the current temporary exhibits were evidence of a guiding, deeply affectionate intelligence about great art. That sense of welcoming affinity is how I feel every time I visit the Phillips Collection, and to a slightly lesser degree, smaller museums like the Morgan and the Frick—as if I’m perfectly at home in the space and with the work itself. Many of the museums in cities that once thrived because of the Erie Canal offer art museums whose character is akin to the Butler’s—The Albright-Knox, the Memorial Art Gallery, The Everson and Munson-Williams Proctor. The emphasis on American Art at Butler makes it somehow feel the most companionable of them all. By contrast, this hospitable sense of belonging is what I don’t feel when I tour many galleries and some museums. The Tate Modern in London, for example, had an atmosphere of severity, an almost impersonal sense that the art on display was meant to be a rude awakening, which is fine. That’s certainly a recurrent quality in modernist and post-modern work, and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional swift kick to the head, but here, everything I saw seemed to be imbued with a sense that art can celebrate life as a welcome gift. It was moving to feel this kind of serenity in a community that has endured enormous tribulations as America’s economy reconfigures itself.

It was a pleasure that a few of the paintings I was seeing for the first time had been familiar to me from reproductions for decades–while others were unfamiliar works by some of my favorite artists. It was a delight to finally see, in person, Edward Hopper’s Pennsylvania Coal Town, James Valerio’s Ruth and Cecil Him, and Music by John Koch along the mezzanine in the museum’s central gallery.  Each is an example of the painter’s mastery at its peak. They were on display along with equally powerful work by Janet Fish, Neil Welliver, Alfred Leslie, Will Barnett, Jules Olitski, Paul Jenkins, Motherwell, Avery, Gorky, Ivan Albright and Pollock. Much of the work is exceptionally good, sometimes in ways that aren’t entirely characteristic of the painter’s best-known style. Alfred Leslie isn’t represented with one of his figures lit from below, but with a large grisaille watercolor landscape, a twilight view of a road in Massachusetts. A large abstract by Jenkins, Phenomena Panning Gold, isn’t anything like the intensely colorful swirls of paint most familiar to his admirers, but an almost monotone study of molten lobes that look like a fossil record of an orchid blossom. The work by Chuck Close was a complete surprise, maybe one of the most charming images he’s ever done, a mid-sized portrait of his daughter, Georgia. It’s another grisaille image, hung on the wall opposite the Leslie watercolor, constructed as a mosaic of thick paper pulp chips squeezed through a metal mesh. As always with his more recent work, it’s a marvel how Close creates an impressionistically accurate and convincing glimpse of the human face—this time cheerful and smiling—through such rough deconstructions of its photographic source. His usual grids are here replaced by chunks of pulp organically arranged, like an assembly of thumbprints. Even seeing Arsen Roje’s work for the first time was eye-opening. In reproductions, his depictions of scenes from classic movies look a little too ironic, sharing the slightly jaundiced irony that seems to be essential to Pop Art, yet the dramatic scene from To Have and Have Not is technically masterful. It goes to interesting places with oil paint that seem unique to Roje. It made me grin to see the perfect likeness of Sheldon Leonard—the bartender from It’s a Wonderful Life, and an actor who went on to produce of the Dick Van Dyke show —finding his nook here in an art museum.

And that was just the central gallery. Other smaller gallery spaces at the museum were devoted to different themes and mediums: print-making, pastels, art about sports, art about the American west. Each one was just as interesting, surprising and beautifully curated. Wolf Kahn’s small drawings of old barns looked exactly right in proximity to Mary Sipp-Green’s twilight scenes as well as an Olitski impressionistic drawing of a dusk landscape. In the print room, a lithograph by Bellows, a quick sketch of one of his daughters, showed amazing draftsmanship, as quick and confident as a Rembrandt or a Matisse line drawing, the shine of her hair effortlessly rendered with a few quick strokes of crayon on stone. And the solo show, Edith Bergstrom: Exotic Palms, was equally impressive. Her work uses the distinctive patterns of palms, their fronds, the thorny armor they leave behind as they wither and fall off the trunk, the spikes, all aspects of a palm’s anatomy are sources for her to use in creating images that straddle representation and abstraction, some palms looming up like titans, others just a web of syncopated light and dark blades and stripes. Most exceptional were Bergstrom’s watercolors that simplify a dense thatch of leaves into backlit plumage, plants that look like winged raptors swooping in for the kill, or angels hovering directly in your path, just off the ground. The confidence, precision and simplicity of these paintings, as well as their sense of color, is breathtaking.

More Americans Able To Benefit From Arts

Americans for the Arts - Arts Action Fund
              

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dear Arts Advocate,

Earlier today, the full U.S House Appropriations Committee voted to approve last month’s Interior Subcommittee vote to increase funding by $2 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), bringing them up to $155 million for FY 2019. New Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME) was also successful in adding the following report language to the arts funding bill:

“The Committee acknowledges and appreciates decades of arts and humanities advocacy by the late Rep. Louise M. Slaughter. In her memory, the Committee encourages NEA and NEH to expand grant-making activities in a manner that honors her advocacy, especially in rural and under-served areas, so more Americans are able to benefit from the economic, social, and educational impacts of the arts and humanities.”

Next, the bill will move on to be reviewed and voted on by the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. As the bill moves to the Senate, we have invited three grassroots arts leaders to “Fly-In” from Missouri, Montana and West Virginia to meet with their Senators and advocate for this increased funding bill. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), are all members of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. We hope this advocacy strategy will continue to be effective throughout the appropriations process.

Help us keep pressure on the Senate and provide support to pro-arts leaders by contributing to our Campaign to Increase Funding for the Arts in America.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Thank you for your support. Please keep checking back to our blog post for more information. We’ll be posting a detailed table of the FY’19 House and Senate appropriation allocations for each of the federal cultural agencies.

 

Take action now!

NEA Funding Increase Approved by Full Appropriations Committee

Earlier today, the full U.S House Appropriations Committee voted to approve last month’s Interior Subcommittee vote to increase funding by $2 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Growing Roses

I did not inherit my Grandmother’s green thumb. Alas, the extent of my gardening skills is buying basil plants from Trader Joe’s in the spring, plunking them into clay pots filled with soil, and watering them. Somewhat to my surprise, they are bright and abundant and flavorful—often well into October.

My basil’s success (or the fact that it doesn’t shrivel and die) is largely due to good soil from the Grange. The rich, composty stuff that kind of smells when you upend it from its unwieldy bag.  It’s all in the soil. I take zero credit for my basil.
You might be wondering why I called this post “Growing Roses” if I can barely keep a store-bought basil start alive. Well, I grow supernatural roses, if you will. And from seed, no less.
In short—as in short enough to fit on the back of a seed packet: Life is full of shit. You can either sit in and complain about the smell, or you can choose to grow roses in it.
Me? After trying both options through many seasons, I far prefer growing roses. And though I recommend this choice highly, I would add to this “seed packet’s” suggestions for care, along with the proper watering, pruning, et cetera: once you’ve made this choice—once you set your attitude out in full sunshine, don’t be surprised if you encounter people who want to stand over your new start, casting over it the shadow of their own unhappiness.
Years ago, I stood in a kitchen, cooking with a friend and her sister. I shared a story of a lesson I’d learned from a bad circumstance and how it had turned into something beautiful. My friends sister turned to me and said, “Well, don’t you just shit and it comes out roses.”
Nope. But I have learned to grow ‘em. And my secret isn’t Miracle-Gro or Garden Organics. It’s choice.
That moment in my friend’s kitchen, I saw how many connections are established in commiseration. Group lament, even when staked with humorous sarcasm, is stenchy decay at best.
But spend enough time with others who are growing roses, and before you know it, you’ve got a riotous swath of them, and the air begins to fill with their sweet fragrance.
Just as I can learn to keep plants healthy and happy in my garden if I really want to, I can learn to keep my attitude healthy and happy if I really want to. Even when things are shitty—or especially when they are.
May we all choose to cultivate green thumbs in the spirit.
Happy gardening,
Anna

Ashland Gallery Association June 2018 Spotlight Exhibits

Ashland Gallery Association Art Exhibit Openings & Artist Receptions

First Friday Art Walk, June 1st from 5 to 8 pm

Stroll the galleries and take in the visual delights in downtown Ashland and the Historic Railroad District.  Enjoy this free year-round community event, filled with a diverse array of artwork, live music, artist demonstrations, refreshments and lively conversation!

For more information about all of our exhibits and to download the June Gallery Tour map, please visit: www.ashlandgalleries.com

Studio AB

20th YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Studio A.B in Ashland is marking their 20th anniversary with a weekend celebration June 1, 2 and 3, kicking off the festivities during the First Friday Art Walk 5 to 8pm, and following that on Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to close.

There will be new work by Ann DiSalvo and Bruce Bayard on display, and 20% off all items of art old and new.

Starting at 9am Saturday morning, Todd Barton joins Bruce for their weekly Control Voltage Therapy music session in the courtyard. There will be tales of Doppler Dog and other Railroad District Mysteries, audio-video performances, Photoshop demonstrations, and spontaneity throughout the weekend.

Studio A.B is located at 621 A Street in Ashland

Art by Bruce Bayard

Art by Bruce Bayard

Art by Ann DiSalvo

Art by Ann DiSalvo

Studio 151

Robert Jaffe Photographs

Art photographer, Robert Jaffe, will be having a one-man show of his photographs for the months of June and July. The show will be held at Studio 151, a gallery located in Ashland at 151 Pioneer St.  The opening will take place on First Friday, June 1st from 5:00 -7:00 PM.

The exhibit is open from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays, and 11:00-4:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment during June and July. Please call 541-482-3808.

“Robert Jaffe’s lens and eye are a gateway to a realm of transcendence. The scope of his work ranges from the close-up to expansive vistas. Whether his photographs are the astonishing insides of a raspberry or a full moon over Mount Shasta, you feel that perhaps you are experiencing these worldly wonders for the first time. Jaffe combines his consummate technical skill with the poetry of his vision. The camera captures reality, but Jaffe transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.  His work takes you to unforgettable moments and locations – a dove ascending from a monastery’s ledge in Assisi, Italy, or the Oregon Coast – filled with luminous rock and the calligraphic underbelly of driftwood. Jaffe’s photographs remind me of a line from Rumi: “We are tasting the taste, this minute of eternity.” The viewer with leave Jaffe’s exhibition, with that experience.”  Rebecca Gabriel

 

Shepherd’s Dream

“Manifest Magik”

Heather Brunetti is a self-taught artist living and creating in the Rogue Valley.  Her work strives to translate an emotional landscape that cannot be captured with words, but that gives access to emotions that we all share in common.  Heather’s artistic approach is vivid and dreamy – filled with rich, bold layers of color and fluid shapes.  She has enjoyed being published on the title page of the 2017 We’ Moon Datebook as well as multiple other publications. 

She will share her artistic flair with Shepherd’s Dream starting June 1st throughout July 2018.  Siskiyou Violins will be serenading while retail personnel will walk you through an inviting showroom in downtown Ashland.  Come for the art, stay for the munchies and the beautifully crafted musical experience both outside and within our new location.  Open daily Tuesday-Saturday 11a-6p.

Heather Brunetti, Aquarian Nights, 18 X 18, Acrylic on Canvas

Heather Brunetti, Aquarian Nights, 18 X 18, Acrylic on Canvas

Photographers’ Gallery

John Christer Petersen

John Christer Petersen is a local fine art photographer whose new show, Bandon at Waters’ Edge, opens at The Photographers’ Gallery At The Ashland Art Center during the 1st Friday Art Walk on June 1st.  John is always looking for the fingerprints of God, so he loves to escape to Bandon By the Sea for R& R.  Bandon Beach on the Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. It is a “must do” for landscape photographers. The majestic sea stacks, rocks, and tide pools along with the ever-changing weather make for great photography.

John Christer Petersen, Bandon Blues, photograph

John Christer Petersen, Bandon Blues, photograph

 

Music Brown and Other Browns

I’ve been getting pretty excited about the nuances of earth tones.   I’m really enjoying the range that comes from careful mixing of earth colors, aside from the dandelions, which require a punchy cadmium.




 

Of course when it comes to going outside the paintings have only blue and green…. and I promise I will post some new landscapes ASAP….. which for this blog means not very often.  🙂  Thanks for looking though!!!!

Soul Box Project- Art Revealing the Gunfire Epidemic

So much has happened and so it goes…

The last newsletter we sent was all about the flurry of the March for Our Lives activity. We are pleased to report all our combined efforts made for a very successful participation in the march. As a friend said, as we loaded the packs of 100 into the van at the end of the rally, “This was a 10 out of 10!!” Her enthusiasm, and yours, is what makes this Project GO!

We got lots of compliments on the organization of this action but it never would have happened without the stalwart help of several volunteers. On the days before the march they spent hours assembling the backpacks for the boxes and the flyer pouches which kept our handouts accessible but dry.
We had more than enough people to carry the 47 bags of 100 Soul Boxes and participants ranged in age from 11 to 80. High school students signed on and proudly carried our new Soul Box banner. It was generous of PNCA to allow our staging in their beautiful lobby – it would have been a struggle outside. And then at the end, EVERY single bag came back to First Congregational Church. Well done, everyone!
The Soul Boxes DID get noticed. Feedback like this was typical from various sources:
I saw some folks carrying bags of soul boxes at the March for Our Lives, and thought it was such  a great way to help visualize the massive numbers of gun victims.  And I also liked that this provided me a way to act  that might even have an impact  — I’m tired of being angry/depressed/appalled … at the way ‘thoughts and prayers’ after each mass shooting lead to absolutely no change”.

It takes a Village, and then a Nation

So far the vast majority of the Soul Box count has come from Portland where the word has has been passed from friend to friend, to churches, to schools to community. We know this can happen all over the nation, and when it does we need to be ready to move forward.

Although there will be events between now and the year’s end, we are intent on getting 36,000 Soul Boxes representing the average annual number of gunfire victims to display at the Oregon State Capitol on Feb.15, 2019. This date will coincidentally be the day after the first anniversary of the Parkland shooting, which will bring focus to the press coverage of this one-day exhibit.

Here is a chart of the trend so far – we need to step it up in order to meet the 36K goal and continue on towards larger national exhibits. 

As we move forward funding becomes more important. We have gone beyond the basics of website, PO Box rental, paper, etc.

Our immediate need is a space, for storage and to work on display proto-types. We also need funds and volunteers to help staff the management and promotion of the Project. All tangible donations can be tax-deductible.

Three ways to send financial contributions

Tax Deductible Contributions: We’re pleased to announce that we now have a fiscal sponsor! Fractured Atlas is “a national organization that supports Individual artists at every level of the cultural ecosystem — performing, visual, literary, design, media, and everything in between — as well as arts organizations, from one-person outfits to the biggest of the big”.
When you click this DONATE link you will land on The Soul Box Project page on the Fractured Altas site. Enjoy the short video we made to introduce the Project. Your donations to The Soul Box Project via Fractured Atlas are tax deductible

As our nonprofit grantor, Fractured Atlas deducts a 7% administration fee of which 3.5% are credit card fees. It feels right that the rest of the fee is used to help other projects find a voice through artistic expression.

Contribute directly to The Soul Box Project: If a tax deduction is not important, you can contribute directly to The Soul Box Project.

  • CLICK HERE  to use your credit card or PayPal – 3.5% fee charged
  • Or, send a check made out to The Soul Box Project to:
    PO Box 19900
    Portland, OR 97280 
  • Contributions made directly to The Soul Box Project are not tax deductible. 

We have received nearly 9000 Soul Boxes. Thank you!

In order to reach our exhibit goal we need almost 100 Boxes a day for the rest of the year. This is doable. That’s 20 random people making 5 Soul Boxes on any day, or 7 churches or schools making 100 a week.
  • If you are mailing there is no need for Priority Mail. Ground service is inexpensive and will deliver your Soul Boxes just fine.
  • If you live in the Portland area there are now 2 drop-off locations for your convenience.
  • We could use more, so let us know of other possible locations, wherever you live. 
A group in Tucson, Arizona posted: “I am beyond grateful! Today 15+ people created 142 Soul Boxes. Thank you Tap & Bottle for allowing us to take over. Keep folding friends, and let’s do it again soon!”
The creative use of a theme was used for multiple Soul Boxes from Denver, Colorado. “The Day the Music Died” honors those lost in mass shootings from years ago to the present. 
Bravo for the volunteers who organized the Soul Box making event at their local library! Twenty-two people of all ages stopped by and 144 more Boxes were added to the total.
A supporter’s wine cellar turned Soul Box storage room will be too small too soon. Who knows of a storage space that could be a tax-deductible donation to the Project?

…and on it goes!

There is so much to tell between newsletters, so now we also have a blog. This is where we have a chance to tell the background stories, celebrate what members of our team are doing, report our wins and setbacks, and share what others have shared with us (that’s an invitation).  We have just begun but we are excited about this new addition to the Project. We think you will find yet another layer of meaning and connection in The Soul Box Blog & News.
Copyright © 2018 The Soul Box Project, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

The Soul Box Project

PO Box 19900

PortlandOr 97280

Central Art's Truck Load of Frames Sale Is Back

Central
                                                          Art Logo

Now there’s TWO chances to load up on ready made frames and canvas, during

Central Art’s Truck Load of Frames & Canvas Sale! 

Friday and Saturday, May 11-12

AND

Friday & Saturday, May 18-19,

save BIG on ready made frames and stretched canvas! The truck will be pulling in on the 18th loaded with ready-made frame stock and selection to dress up your next batch of artistic masterpieces! Plus, you’ll still be able to save on stretched canvas and frames in-store!

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this!

VISIT CENTRAL ART!