For most people who call Central Oregon home, the name Patricia Clark is no doubt a familiar one. Yes she is the founder of Atelier 6000 (A6), a modern, nonprofit print-making studio and gallery situated neat the Old Mill District in Bend.
Yet as committed and successful an artist as she has been over the past six decades, one can confidently say that her “achievement of a lifetime” is also that of a devoted educator. A dedication that in less than a decade since she first arrived in Bend has made her a treasure of our arts community.
Retiring as a professor, Clark moved to Bend nearly ten years ago and wanted to continue to do her artwork. Immediately she recognized the unique characteristics of the land would provide a wealth of inspiration and a distinct quality to her work. However, when she realized there wasn’t a place large enough to create her prints, she opened A6 for the third time in 2007. Atelier is French for an artist studio or workshop and 6000 references the elevation of her first studio in Prescott, Arizona.
Operating as a nonprofit creates specialized opportunities for A6 to work well with other nonprofit organizations. A6 acts as a museum to show the history of printmaking for school groups to view and features specialized artists such as wood engravers and photo etching specialists. Traveling exhibits, in partnership with other print houses, are showcased in the presentation gallery. The nonprofit status enables the studio to apply for grants to enlist greater opportunities for class scholarships and more transparent studio to studio collaborations for community members.
Being a place for learning, A6 offers classes in partnership with COCC, OSU-Cascades, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Portland State University, where students can learn directly from master artist teachers. “We are a center of information for book arts and print making,” says Clark. “We feel we are a vital part of the creative community in Bend and we want to continue to grow. Being nonprofit provides a good contribution to the community.”
A6 is an open studio providing opportunities for artists, from novice to professional expertise, to attend classes, Artist-in-Residence workshops and Art Talks. She adds, “It’s been very heart warming for me to see the change in the community since A6 opened its doors and how they’ve supported us.”
Ever the educator, Pat is pleased that the importance of print-making of all varieties is being taught and enjoyed throughout Central Oregon. “One of the most important things we’ve tried to communicate is the importance of the original print during the print making process, and not the reproduction… there is a huge difference between buying a poster and buying the original hand-pulled print.”
Pat’s career up to this point (she’s still a working artist and instructor, after all) will be celebrated from the beginning until the end of this month with the exhibit, Clark @ 80: A Retrospective. Curated by Sandra Miller the exhibit will highlight her prints, paintings, drawings (Six Decades of Marks) and artist books from her earliest periods until present day. In addition, the six other members who helped found A6 will also be represented.
Illustrating the current decade is a new piece that had yet to be finished at the time of this interview. Fish Ladders (graphite and prismacolor on clayboard) encompases her continuing interest and concern for our modern-day environment and is her vision of the water table – how it affects agriculture, fishermen and fisheries, and man’s role in climate change. Briefly, a water table describes the boundary between water-saturated ground and unsaturated ground.
“For the last 15 years I’ve been very interested in the environment, particularly landscape architecture… my work over the years reflects this – it talks about archeology, pottery shards, vanishing cultures and also the environment and the shape we’re in with the water table… this is something happening now that we need to talk about.”
Cascade A&E congratulates Pat on her latest milestone and looks forward to the completion of her latest series of works.