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This Friday Evening: Important Double-Header in Southern Oregon Art!

Tomorrow evening promises to be a delight for Southern Oregon art lovers!

First comes the Fourth Friday Art Amble from 5-7 pm in charming downtown Jacksonville. The new monthly event has drawn substantial numbers of visitors, drawn by the opportunity to see new works by emerging and established artists of Jacksonville and surrounding areas. Some venues rotate artist members of Art Presence, the organizers of the Amble, and some prefer to pair with one or more artists for the duration of the May – through October series.  Either way, this Friday’s Jacksonville-style Art Walk will feature new artists who have recently joined Art Presence and new venues who have agreed to host artists each month, so be sure to pick up a brochure (there will be many all around town) and keep your eyes open for the golden pennants signifying a participating venue. You won’t be able to see each venue unless you run, so relax and plan to attend another Amble to see more! More on this month’s participating artists below.

After enjoying a pleasant stroll around Jville, plan to drive over to Veranda Park for the Annual Show and Benefit Auction for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County and the Studio at Living Opportunities (formerly Studio Sfumato) from 7-9 pm. These two programs serve some of the most needy individuals in the greater Southern Oregon community, people whose pain is very real, yet who tend to be sidelined by the maintream: child victims of abuse and trauma and adults with developmental disabilities. And art is their greatest tool for healing.

The Studio is making a name for itself locally and around the country for the success of its art program in opening opportunity for its clients to participate in the activities of the wider community. Director Dan Mish teaches art workshops in the Studio’s new Medford studio/gallery, just opened in May, and arranges for his artists to show their completed works both in their own gallery and in shows throughout the region, as well as entering top-level works in national competitions. Some artists have achieved national acclaim for their works, with art hanging in such venerated galleries as the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Be assured, these works are not good “considering” – they’re fantastic art with the added value of a perspective on life and the world most of us will never see ourselves – and therefore really should see in order to more completely understand what life is like for those with such “disabilities” and to be challenged by their talent and cheerful personal presentations. Proceeds from the sale of Living Opportunities artists benefit both the program and the artist as funds are split 50/50, giving the artist their own money as well as much-needed personal validation and providing for the ongoing work of the Studio in their lives.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County Executive Director Marlene Mish successfully uses art as a tool to help victims of childhood physical and sexual abuse recover from their traumas. A particularly sensitive and articulate individual, Mish can bring an audience to tears when speaking about the importance of their work with this fragile and delicate group, the tragedy of its inability to prevent such abuses and the miracle of watching fragmented lives becoming whole again under its care. On the other hand, her strength in steering this organization is formidable.

Attending this show gives one the opportunity to become part of the healing process. Bidding on and purchasing works by the kids of the CAC helps the Center continue its important work in their lives, but you have another opportunity even if you don’t have the resources to buy art.

These brave kids, dressed in their best to show and talk about their art, will respond to praises from deep within, and those encouraging words will help them rebuild their broken self-esteem and worth. Working artists have an opportunity to praise their artistic efforts, especially valuable when coming from professional artists. Perhaps a teaching artist will find a worthy protege in the group and decide to take a young artist under their wing? Good things can happen if we attend this event with the intent of shining our love on this most overlooked, yet important subset of our population, these broken little people who are mature far beyond their years, trying to break free of the prison of fears many of us will (hopefully) never know. Who knows how greatly we can encourage them on their healing journeys? We should do what we can to heal the broken lives in our community, just as they are trying to pick up the pieces themselves. After all, the art of living really is as simple as putting our love into action, and when we creatives have the chance to help with something as simple as an uplifting word, with the opportunity to reach so many in one place at one time, we should embrace it. And who knows how greatly we might be transformed ourselves? Perhaps so much so that it affects our own art going forward.

Come to the show. Veranda Park, 1641 Veranda Park Dr. in Medford, July 22nd from 7 PM – 9 PM; wine and appetizers will be served, there will be live music and admission is free. New work by 40 youth from the CAC mentoring programs will be featured.

Here’s a sneak peek at the artist members of Art Presence and Jacksonville merchant venues participating in tomorrow evening’s Art Amble:

[slidepress gallery=’july-art-amble-artists-and-venues’]

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