#309–Backstreet Gallery—a special place . . .

All six of my books on display!

When folks come into Backstreet who haven’t been there before, I give my spiel about it being a member-owned co-op of local artists that has a little bit of everything, and if they have any questions, just ask. I also add, “You’re in for a treat!”, which is also true.

The photos of Stephanie Ames. Amazing! And no photoshopping!!! She knows when the light works its magic.

This past Monday when I was on duty as clerk, it was stormy, and we didn’t have many customers. So, I had a chance to walk around and look carefully at the variety and quality of the artwork, and I snapped a bunch of photos. As always, I was very impressed. I’m the only non-artist, so I’m in awe of what each artist creates.

These are two of my favorites of Pattie Brooks Anderson who uses ink and watercolor.

I’m an author who has lots of beautiful photos on the covers of my books, and in one of my books, Devil Cat, there are illustrations by Backstreet artist, Karen D. Nichols. That’s as close as my work gets to being considered art. Nobody ever asks me to draw anything.

Karen D. Nichols is both an artist and the author of eight novels. Multi-talented!
Gorgeous black-and-white photos by Mark Anderson
Colleen McKnight really has a way with gourds.
Beautiful scarves and more all hand painted by Carol Lorraine.

But I am useful as a writer and editor. I edit nearly all press releases before they go out and edit the monthly newsletter. And I’m currently the secretary, just starting my second year on the job. It’s a big job, because as owners, members are very interested in the minutes and let me know if something needs to be changed because it is inaccurate or could be worded differently or even deleted. I think there is only one time when I did not have to make any changes.

With much of Phyllis Laird’s artwork, you get two in one––original painting and a piece of pottery.

During meetings, I try to take careful notes. Since I’ve been on the job, the meetings have been held via Zoom because of the pandemic. So, after typing up my notes from the meeting, I listen and watch a recording of the entire meeting, where I hear everything that is said and check it against my minutes. Takes forever, but it’s worth it. I always find a few things to change.

Meredith Draper’s fabulous vintage jewelry is unique and very popular. And this is only one of her talents. Another multi-talented artist.
Larry LaVoie creates his own designs but uses a computer to finish the process.

Besides being secretary and editor, I’m also one of two Hospitality Chairs.  However, that job has been moot since March 2020 because we quit having receptions due to the pandemic. We do have hopes of restarting the Second Saturday receptions sometime in 2022. They are also where we honor our featured artists each month. We have live music, wine, and goodies. They are great fun! I can hardly wait.

Kathryn Damon-Dawson, past president of the Oregon Watercolor Society, paints a lot of birds beautifully and often with humor.
John Leasure paints with oil and teaches oil painting at FRAA. His paintings with waves are my favorites.

Each member is required to be on two committees, attend all meetings or if unable, send in a proxy with voting preferences. And everyone spends two or three days a month as clerk on duty.

Claudia Ignatieff paints with oil and does a wonderful job with animals.
Teresa Zook likes to weave, and she’s very good at it!

There are also non-working members whose work is on display. They have no responsibilities, but the Gallery takes a much higher percentage when their work sells.

Kristin Anderson creates beautiful plates, coasters, and more from fused glass. She does amazing night lights and jewelry also with fused glass.
Karen Gassaway’s lampwork flowers and little critters (adorable bees, worms, and ladybugs not shown) are very popular.

Another valuable asset to being a member of Backstreet Gallery is being a member of a supportive community. When anybody needs to trade shifts because of an unforeseen conflict, there is always somebody willing to trade. When a job needs doing, someone volunteers.

Debbie Boyle repurposes antique beads and gemstones to create unique new pieces. I wouldn’t mind having this one.
Akos St Clair turns wood into art.

When I took a three-month medical leave due to total knee replacement surgery February–April 2020, I couldn’t drive for six weeks. Besides my wonderful sister here as caregiver for two weeks and my helpful neighbors being there for me, at least three Gallery members also came to my rescue, getting me to the physical therapy sessions twice a week, follow-up doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and other errands.

Larry Bishop; can create almost anything from wood. This impressive bowl is slightly more than two feet from end to end.
Geraldine McMahon makes interesting vases and small pots with the most amazing tops. I’ve got my eye on one of them.

Being a a member of Backstreet Gallery is being part of a supportive community of wonderful, very talented, and hard-working individuals that I’m proud and pleased to be a part of.

Note: All current members are represented with a photo here, but none of the non-working members are––that would’ve been just too much. For more information, go to https://www.backstreetgallery.org To subscribe to the newsletter go to the website and click on Newsletters.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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