EXPLORING BROOKINGS' VIBRANT ART SCENE

August 11, 2004 12:00 am
HUGS Tour participants walk along Chetco Avenue to Brian Scott Gallery for a look at three floors of artwork. ().
HUGS Tour participants walk along Chetco Avenue to Brian Scott Gallery for a look at three floors of artwork. ().

The August HUGS program went in search of art and found it everywhere.

Organizer Jan Norwood said, "Art is everywhere," and proved it by leading her group of a dozen to several art-rich sites within a one block area in downtown Brookings.

Art Central

It didn't hurt that Norwood started the tour at the Manley Art Center and Galleries in Stout Park off Oak Street.

In 1955, Virginia Manley and other local artists formed the Pelican Bay Arts Association.

When Manley died, said Bette Sherbourne, the association's public relations director, the house was dedicated to the arts association.

If the association should ever dissolve, she said, its funds would go the the Chetco Community Public Library, and the house to the city of Brookings.

The reaction of local artists at the center that day to the proposal to build tennis courts in adjacent Stout Park? They'll lay down in front of the bulldozers.

The building has a colorful history, said Norwood. It housed a brothel that served the lumber workers in the company mill town.

Today, more legitimate arts are practiced there, including painting, pottery, sculpture, stained glass and photography.

A classroom was added to the building in 1997 and the association's artists offer classes in most art media.

Artists can rent interior wall space to display their works for only $35 for three months. The chosen artist of the month, however, receives free wall space in the gallery.

HUGS participants watched some local artists paint, and also had the opportunity to ask questions.

Norwood asked if artists usually varied their styles and mediums.

Artist Jane Simmons gave examples of local artists who became famous for one type of art and stuck with it.

"Us beginners just try everything," she added.

Norwood asked how the owner of a painting might research the artist who created it.

Simmons said the library would be a good place to start. Association vice president Luanne Lee said some art mediums have associations dedicated to them. Sherbourne said an art history course is taught at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Norwood also asked if there were any local art restorers.

Lee said the closest ones would be associated with San Francisco museums. Simmons said art restoration costs so much the additional cost of shipping it to experts around the country doesn't amount to much extra.

As for where to buy art supplies, Lee said, "Most of us buy by mail." Simmons said Mory's has some supplies.

Sherbourne said the association benefits when members purchase frame material from American Frames.

Locally, frames are sold at Mory's in Brookings, Judy's Corner Frame Shop in Harbor, and Frame Shop Plus inside the Ben Franklin Store in Crescent City.

For more information on the Pelican Bay Arts Association, call (541) 469-1807.

Art is Everywhere

On the short stroll into downtown Brookings, Norwood pointed out examples of art that people drive by every day but seldom notice.

Across Oak Street from the art center driveway is the Abbey Shopping Center, the original Catholic church of Brookings.

Norwood said Brookings didn't have its own priest, so Catholics would gather at the church each Sunday and hope the priest from Coquille was able to make it over the dirt roads.

He didn't always make it, said Norwood, but when he did, he had to catch up with all the baptisms, marriages and other ceremonies that day.

Actually, said Norwood, the ornate abbey was the second Catholic church because the first one burned down before it was ever used.

On Chetco Avenue, Norwood pointed out concrete trash cans on the street that are now decorated with art from members of the Pelican Bay Arts Association. The paintings are protected by laminated plastic.

"Now that's real trash art," said Norwood.

Art Avenue

Art is featured in several galleries and shops near the intersection of Chetco Avenue and Oak Street. The HUGS tour had time to visit only a couple of them.

The three-story Brian Scott Gallery features works in nearly all mediums by two dozen local artists.

Besides art, the top floor is the home of The Snug coffee House, a full-service espresso bar with a flower-filled outdoor deck.

Entertainment is featured in the basement during regular art walks held the second Saturday of each month.

Watercolor artist Horst Wolf, who leads the art walks, also led the HUGS group through the gallery.

He explained the process of gicle, which is a museum quality digital reproduction of a painting on canvas. It lowers the cost of art, but still looks like an original painting.

Wolf showed the oil original of "A Day at Cape Blanco" by Jim Davenport, $875, then the smaller gicle version for $95.

For information, call the Brian Scott Gallery at (541) 412-8687.

The tour ended a couple of doors down with Fire & Light glassware featured in the At-Home-by-the-Sea shop.

The dinnerware and giftware is made in Arcata from recycled glass. After the glass is cleaned and crushed, colorants are added and it is melted in 2,400-degree furnaces. It is then hand-ladled and pressed into molds.

The glassware is dishwasher safe, but not recommended in microwave ovens because it could contain minute amounts of metal.