|
|
DailyTidings.com
  • Area artists welcome $50,000 in grants

    Haines Philanthropic Foundation plans to distribute funds every year
  • Eighteen Southern Oregon artists are reaping the benefits of $50,000 in grants from the Haines Philanthropic Foundation for use on supplies, education and time to pursue their creative visions in painting, sculpture, film and other media.
    • email print
  • »  RELATED CONTENT
  • Eighteen Southern Oregon artists are reaping the benefits of $50,000 in grants from the Haines Philanthropic Foundation for use on supplies, education and time to pursue their creative visions in painting, sculpture, film and other media.
    For Marie Maretska, a Medford sculptor, a $4,000 grant will go for materials and time for her to do more art — along the lines of her wall hangings now at Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland.
    "It's so unusual to find this kind of money available to individual artists, and it's very wonderful," says Maretska, who in 1971 dropped out of high school in San Francisco to move here and pursue her art. She has kept it all going through a succession of odd jobs, including driving a dump truck and being a street artist.
    "There's so much more to art than what you see," she notes. "Art teaches us to be creative and solve problems as creative thinkers. That's why it needs to be funded and not cut in schools."
    The grants are the creation of Ashland lawyer Lloyd Haines, a proponent of public art. They will be awarded annually, with invitations to artists to submit proposals, says Denise Baxter, the grant administrator. The amounts will increase for next year.
    "His goal is to support the visual arts community, so they produce more and better art, helping both the community and themselves as artists," she said.
    With her $3,500 grant, Sarah Burns will further her education in anatomy for her figurative paintings and drawings.
    "I'll be able to pursue studies I'm really passionate about and interested in now," says Burns, who was educated at Ashland High School and Southern Oregon University.
    "It means a lot to me, this vote of confidence. I've worked on my art for years and years and love what I do, but it's awesome to get this support." The grant program, she adds, is a good antidote to the high cost of living in Southern Oregon, where many artists find inspiration from the culture and natural beauty.
    The "starving artist" syndrome is so pervasive, she jokes, that when bankers get together, they talk about art, but when artists get together, they talk about money.
    Filmmaker Winfield Balcom received $3,400 to create geometric sculptures that require large amounts of expensive steel, wood and PVC pipe, as well as time to create.
    "This allows me to use bronze, hire welders and get coatings, which cost lots of money," says Balcom. "Once upon a time we had public funding for art but it all dried up, so it's a wonderful thing to have this in the community. It's a great benefit. For me, as an artist, it's just a dream until I crystallize it, and if the money isn't there, it could go unrealized."
    About half of the awardees are people engaged in education or therapies where art is a central tool, says Judy Howard, a juror for the grants. These include $2,600 for at-risk teens, by Joanne Manzone, $3,000 for a watershed project of Sue Springer, $4,000 for a community mosaic of Karen Rycheck and $2,500 for cancer therapy of Delaine Due.
    "Lloyd Haines is an advocate for the visual arts," says Baxter, "and he wants to see Ashland become an art mecca in ways that rival theater here. It's sad but true (about starving artists), but it's a matter of shifting our thought processes and seeing artists as talented and deserving members of society."
    Howard notes it's important for artists to be supported and inspired because the younger generations, raised in the digital age, are used to a faster-moving world, with much change, so they're less focused on buying and collecting art.
    Maretska's wall art includes altered panels of birch bark, which she got from a canoe-maker back east — and panels of copper buried in heated earth with birch leaves, leaving a haunting and engaging patina. They cost $1,800 each.
    John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.
Reader Reaction

      calendar