Arts Flounder? Is it Systemic? Community Comes to the Aid of A6

We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.
–Annette Byrd, GlaxoSmithKline


Recently Dawn Boone, executive director of A6 Studio & Gallery, founded and established by respected local artist, Pat Clark, called out for help to ‘save’ A6 as it was struggling financially.
The urgency of the message seemed especially alarming since only last year Arts Central had closed under leadership changes and financial challenges.
The update today is that A6 has been saved thanks to the generosity of our community, not by public funds or requests to the Oregon Arts Commission, which tends to ignore Central Oregon, but with private, thoughtful donations.
Dawn reports that nearly $30,000 was donated to A6 in very short measure. They surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $20,000 with donors saying keep going. A6 rolled out a donor challenge/match campaign so they have a cushion going forward. Dawn says she would like the community to know they are no longer in jeopardy. “We are pleased to announce that A6 is in a position of new-found strength! You can look forward to many more fine art exhibits, studio workshops, art talks and school programs,” she noted in a thank you to the community.
A6 serves 1,500 students each year through on-site and off-site programs. Students discover new forms of art in the gallery, explore printmaking and book arts and expand their understanding of history, science and language arts through special exhibits and Artist-in-Schools program.
Arts plays such a critical role in stimulating creativity and in developing a vital community, having a crucial impact on our economy. A6 is a stellar donor-supported organization in providing a creative learning and discovery environment.
A6 presents eight exhibits each year, featuring a wide range of contemporary printmakers and book artists from Central Oregon and far beyond. The nonprofit organizes special exhibits of historic works that rarely appear in our region. For many kids and adults, these special exhibits are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see original works by celebrated artists such as M.C. Escher, Edward Curtis and Japanese masters like Hiroshige and Yoshitoshi.
A6 has nurtured hundreds of artists. High school art teachers, professional artists, undergraduate students and true beginners discover the wide world of printmaking and book arts at A6.
Obviously A6 is worth saving and it’s also evident that there’s money out there to help now and hopefully in the future. The question is do we need a crisis to fund this vibrant nonprofit art studio?
There needs to be a ‘grander’ plan and a commitment to support A6 and other art and cultural learning environments such as the High Desert Museum, Cascade School of Music, Sisters Folk Festival, Sunriver Music Festival and Deschutes Historical Museum.
The Central Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee is working on a plan regarding arts and culture to support the retention, stabilization and expansion of the creative economy to the diverse populations in the region. It’s important to engage all resources in the community (public, private and civic) “to shape the region’s future and accelerate and complete on the ground economic and community development projects.”
I hope the advisory committee sees funding as an important aspect of the strategic planning.

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