InterviewsLithia Artisans Market

Lithia Artisans Market

Hello Marcus, it is always good to chat with you and discover what is new at the Lithia Artisans Market. Can you briefly describe how it has been to run an outdoor art event during a pandemic?

Hey Shields, it is good to be back with you. It has been a challenging year, to say the least. Due to the pandemic, the market started three months behind when we opened the weekend of Summer Solstice, June 20 and 21. The market has risen to the occasion. We all mask up, practice social distancing, hand sanitize, and do all the things that seem to work at mitigating the risks. Because our state and region has done a decent job with reducing the spread, we have been able to remain open since June. We took a couple weeks off immediately following the Almeda Fire that swept through our valley. Our hearts are with all those affected by the fires. We stand with you!

2020 has been one challenge on top of another, but this valley, this community is resilient. I am so damn proud of how we have all stood tall together in the aftermath of these fires while in the midst of this pandemic.

We’ve been honored with the opportunity to work with our local government, local businesses, the Ashland Chamber, and especially Ashland Parks and Recreation and Superintendent Rachel Dials. This season I have witnessed great communication, understanding, flexibility, and solutions that require thinking outside of the box. When we all work together, we can find the path through difficult terrain.

Tell us about the upcoming Lithia Artisans Winter Market. What is different, or the same… Will you be doing your traditional shows at the armory in Ashland and in Medford?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to change things up a bit. We traditionally go indoors for the holiday season; however, we now know that the virus communicates better indoors, 20 times better. The best bet is to stay outdoors if you are going to be around people and shopping. With safety as our main concern, we have decided to stay where we are, hunker down and ride out the winter on Calle Guanajuato and in front of Lithia Park.

The Winter Market will be a continuation of our outdoor market only stretching longer into the winter. The air is crisp and clean and healthy. We are so grateful for this opportunity.

SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS 10:00AM-3:00PM

Located in our traditional space along Calle Guanajuato and various locations in front of Lithia Park.

The market provides a safe, family friendly environment to do some one-of-a-kind gift shopping. Our motto this season is, “Distance is kind, 6 feet is Love.” Hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout the market.

Dress appropriately this season, layers of wool and cotton. Masks will actually serve a dual purpose this fall and winter, less virus spread and warmer faces.

Tell us a story of a fellow artist or craftsperson.

I want to share a good vibe story… A story that illustrates the transformative power of art and the importance of working together on a shared vision. Beneficial vision outlasts the visionary. Art and music outlive the creators. Good ideas come from all walks of life.

One of my favorite new members at the market is fine artist Lori Agnew. Lori’s art whimsically speaks to the playfulness between humans and mother nature. Her art depicts a deep understanding of this interplay with images that transport us to a place of wonder. Her pieces bring me joy and contentment.

Lori and her husband originally hail from the east coast, their last home before Oregon was New Jersey. They built a tiny house back in Jersey and hauled it across the country to their newly purchased property up on Bly Mountain in the Sprague River area of Oregon. They went from the big city to the sticks. They purchased their land to create a place of their own, away from the hustle and bustle, and raise a family.

Lori and Eric literally stumbled upon Ashland one day while driving through from Klamath Falls to the airport in Medford. Lori was thrilled that there was an art market right here in southern Oregon. She joined our family of artists a couple years ago and it was a perfect match.

Lori lost both of her parents when she was a child. Orphaned at age 12, her remaining family decided to enroll her in the Milton Hersey School in Hersey, Pennsylvania.

The school was created by the famous chocolate man Milton Hersey. He and his wife couldn’t have kids, so they built an orphanage and created a trust with the Hersey Corporation. 51% of all profits from the sale of Hersey chocolates go to fund the school. The school is always growing and making itself more relevant, changing the model over time to fit new needs.

On the beautiful campus of the Milton Hersey School, Lori found art. She recalls that her art teacher, a grumpy old man named Mr. Shelhorn, acted as her early mentor. He taught her everything he could, but he didn’t know much about watercolors. The two of them enrolled together in a watercolor class being taught at the local frame shop. Lori had found her love.

Art became her private space, her home within her home. The dorm-like setting of the school was similar to a small university, private space didn’t exist like it would in a typical home. Her sketchbook became her refuge.

Roughly 2,100 kids from kindergarten through high school are annually enrolled at the school. For Lori, the school provided the foundation she needed to thrive. With her basic needs met, she was able to study hard and grow as an artist. Living in this environment created the opportunity for her to meet her artistic potential.

Art changes lives. Finding our true passion takes encouragement and nourishing from supportive parents, or in this case, teachers and foster care systems. Sometimes it takes a village to raise a child.

As we face unprecedented community challenges, we must come together and support one another, now more than ever. The story above illustrates that trauma can lead to beauty if we receive the support required to overcome the trauma. Art heals, kindness heals, together we heal.

The story of perseverance and community is the story of the Lithia Artisans Market. Artisans adapt to the set of circumstances and the environment in which they live and work. It is the nature of the artist to find solutions, constantly reinventing the model to fit the moment. That is what we are doing with the Winter Market.

20-30 Local Artists and Craftspeople will be participating in the Lithia Artisans Winter Market.

Open Weekends, Saturdays and Sundays 10:00am-3:00pm, from now until Christmas.

You will discover fine art, silver-smithed jewelry, blown glass, hand-cut stone beads, quilts and masks, woodwork, hats, photography, pottery, clothing, and so much more.

Find us outdoors on Calle Guanajuato and in front of Lithia Park whenever the weather looks conducive to marketing. Follow us on our Facebook page, facebook.com/LithiaArtisansMarket, where we will keep you updated on the week to week happenings.

The time to look at things differently is now. We are excited to try something new this holiday season. Enjoy ice skating and walking in Lithia Park while perusing art along Ashland Creek. Unique holiday gift shopping in a familiar, safe, outdoor setting.

Support local handmade, it matters.

www.lithiaartisansmarket.com

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LithiaArtisans

The Artisans of the Jefferson Region (Southern Oregon and Northern California) have joined together to form two corporations ~ The Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland and the Lithia Arts Guild of Oregon. Through the election of separate Boards, the Market and the Guild serve distinct, yet interconnecting functions within the community. The Market Board is completely involved in promoting events in the Bear Creek Valley. These events have included the Artisans Market on Calle Guanajuato, Holiday Galleries & Festivals, and now a website. The Guild, as a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, serves through interfacing with Ashland Parks, the City and the greater community. Projects of the Guild have included the formation of the Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland, helping with the restoration of Calle Guanajuato after the 1997 New Years Day Flood, encouraging the Arts within the city of Ashland, and the establishment of a dialogue between local artisans and artists working in our sister city ~ Guanajuato, Mexico. The people of Oregon have a long and unfaltering commitment to the Arts. The oldest Artisans Market in the United States is the Saturday Market in Eugene. The Portland Saturday Market is a close second, to Eugene, being established the following summer. And, of course, there's the grandmother of us all, the Oregon Country Fair. The Oregon Country Fair now covers more than 300 acres, west of Eugene near the town of Veneta; and it was this Fair that initially inspired the folks that founded the Eugene Saturday Market. It is this network of Festivals and Artisans Markets, throughout the state, that has allowed the Artisans Community to flourish. The community of Ashland and its visitors are incredibley supportive of the Arts. Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University, Jefferson Public Radio, and the First Friday Art Walk. The community is genuinely interested in the Arts, and this interest has been rewarded with a culturally diverse environment rivaling any small town in the nation.

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