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27 Mar, 2008

Another year, another devastating winter storm. Sigh. Such is life on the Oregon coast. And we don't even live right on the coast. We're about twenty miles inland. Global Warming is getting old, as far as "trendy stuff" goes ;) and already I'm starting to blurr details with the previous winter's blowout.

I won't soon forget, however: the 100+mph December winds; our busted fireplace chimney that we, [being starving artists] can't afford to fix, [FEMA, in its Infinite and Inexplicable Wisdom won't fix]; and the five days without electricity where temps ranged around a balmy 40º inside the house.

The two of us managed to keep our 92-year-old dementia-suffering mom from dying from exposure with all the blankets she'd tolerate and a small propane heater we judiciously used, only to lose her to uro-sepsis the following month.

This last winter, all the same, we had the good fortune to have TCAA's Five Rivers gallery building raised 31" above its four-foot height off the ground [into nosebleed territory] by a FEMA grant. The flood waters were foiled, although not by much. The water came within three steps of the landing on an eleven-step staircase. The radio station manager next door had to be ferried by boat to reach his station.

Trouble is, the gallery is not getting the traffic it needs, sales are flat-line, the economy around here is flat-line and the gallery may soon have to close even though fund-raising efforts netted enough to keep us open for another month or so.

What happens then?

My own personal studio, Shangri-La Studio–named for the wee burg where we live–will soon expand into the second largest room in the house. Soon as we clean it out. There I'll work, teach lessons and work some more. My art will hang on the walls for sale. I ultimately want to build a commercial gallery on our property, soon as our ship comes in. Uh-huh.

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13 Mar, 2007

I've been a member of the Tillamook County Art Association now for nine years. It's been a wonderful relationship, I've made so many friends and taught quite a few people re: the joys and frustrations of becoming an artist.

TCAA is not only a club for artists, but a not-for profit service orgaization which holds art festivals and exhibits as well as offering affordable art classes to the general public.

Recently, in November of 2006, during the heaviest rains [24"] ever experienced in four consecutive days, a 500 foot section of river dike ruptured.

TCAA headquarters in Five Rivers Gallery was flooded with 13 inches of cow pasture and bay effluent. This is notable, not only for the damage, but because the building sits raised four feet above previous flood levels. The muddy mess wrecked not only the floors, carpeting and walls, but also computer printers, particle board furniture and art stored in cabinets or on print racks within the flood levels. The water rose so quickly that nobody was able to get into the property to sandbag or remove any effects. In fact, I was trapped in my little canyon by a mudslide for a day.

Well, it's been a few months, but I'm happy to report:

Tillamook County Art Association is pleased to announce the grand re-opening of its Five Rivers Gallery next Tuesday, March 20, 2007 from 10am to 4pm. The public is cordially invited to attend and refreshments will be served by the Tillamook County Chamber of Commerce.

Five Rivers Gallery, located in Suite 7 of Northport Plaza [1000 North Main Ave., Tillamook, Phone: (503) 842-1244] suffered heavy damage during last November's flooding and was evacuated, as soon as the water went down, by a dedicated group of volunteers: Art Association members as well as community supporters. Art Association President, Sherri Sheldon-Harberts, will thank and acknowledge these people at the re-opening.

The gallery has been remodeled and reinvigorated with a new look and an enlarged roster of new members. March Artist of the Month is longtime member, Patricia Moshofsky, whose beautiful oil paintings of local and regional scenes are featured.

We're so thankful to be up and running, teaching classes and selling art supplies, serving the artists of Tillamook County once again!

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