20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY AT ASHLAND ART WORKS
Back in the pre-Covid days when the First Friday Art Walk attracted thousands of people to view local art, Ashland Art Works was always a popular place to visit, not just for its collective of 14 diverse artists but for its location at 291 Oak Street. They opened in 2001 with only one gallery space and today it has grown into four gallery spaces with an outdoor sculpture garden. All these spaces provide ample social distancing for visitors.
The art is featured in a garden setting and guests can enjoy the view of Ashland Creek from the back deck. The buildings tell part of Ashland’s Railroad District’s history. Two buildings were originally on the property, a late 1800s craftsman cottage and a three-story barn at the creek. The blacksmith and welding shop was added helping the owner, Brad Roupp, fabricate metal into functional pieces: stairs, fences and decorative art. The barn was set up for potters and then expanded to two galleries.
Additional buildings were added over the years. The old post office has a sign advertising the Twin Plunges which once filled the parking lot across the street. The next house to save was an example of the Railroad Engineers style architecture. The third brought on the property was a late Victorian farmhouse (circa 1900). The first floor is used as Ashland Art Work’s main gallery.
Ashland Art Works is a not-for-profit art collective that started 20 years ago and is proud to be one of the major art galleries in Ashland. It currently showcases the art of 14 local artists: Cheryl Kempner (clay & metal), Elin Babcock (painting & assemblage), Lorene Senesac (raku clay), John Weston (woodworking), Marydee Bombick (clay), Claudia Law (artistic quilting), Michael Gibson (oil paintings), Liz Ellingson (silver jewelry), Bonnie Morgan (clay), Shari Southard (watercolor), Connie Simonsen (dyed silk), Suzanne Etienne (acrylic painting), Roxanne Evans Stout (multimedia collage), and Ali Shannon (wire jewelry).
Ashland Art Works grew out of the vision that property owner Brad Roupp had to create a beautiful space to support the arts. The artists are excited to be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and celebrations will begin on First Friday, May 7th. Throughout the year they will host a variety of special events that will be announced in their monthly newsletter. You can visit their website at ashlandartworks.org to be added to the mailing list and watch for coming details.
Visitors to the gallery will find a wide range of original art work: ceramics, paintings, textiles, woodworking, jewelry, and mixed media. The artists all take turns working at the gallery so visitors will have an opportunity to meet and talk to the artists learning about their process and materials. Folks can wander through the four galleries at their leisure or enjoy sitting on the red bench in the sculpture garden and listen to Ashland Creek. The location has been described as “Ashland’s hidden gem,” being well worth a short trip off the Plaza to visit.
Community outreach is highly valued and AAW has been delighted to offer Ashland High School art students opportunities to display their artwork, as well kindergartners and first graders from Walker Elementary.
The hours in March are Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10-2 or by appointment (call Cheryl at 541-552-0100). Starting in April, the regular summer hours will be Sunday and Wednesday 10:00-2:00, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10:00-5:00. Because of Covid, they are currently only occupying the back three galleries, with the main office in back. They will move back into the front gallery in May.
For more info, call 541-488-4735 or go to ashlandartworks.org. You can also see them on Facebook.