ASHLAND, Ore. – A space providing art education and resources for local artists is closing its doors.
For over a decade, the Ashland Arts Center has been a place for the community to engage with art and artists directly. The non-profit also offered economic and social support to artists.
On May 22, 2020, the Ashland Art Center Organization’s board of directors voted to close the brick-and-mortar arts center on East Main Street, citing decreasing revenue and increasing costs compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ashland Art Center released the following statement regarding the closure:
For over 13 years, the Ashland Art Center has been a dynamic force for creative enrichment, expression, and arts engagement within the community. The economic and social support the organization has provided to the visual arts community of southern Oregon has enriched the lives of artists, members, and visitors alike. Like many non-profit organizations, we have struggled over the years to promote our mission in the face of decreasing revenues and increasing costs. There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has already had severe economic impacts , and it’s still too early to gauge the full magnitude of this crisis, we know that canceled theatrical performances, cancelled music events, and restrictions on travel will significantly reduce tourism through the remainder of the year.
Due to these unavoidable conditions, the Board of Directors has made the extremely difficult decision to fully close the art center at 357 E. Main St. Were it not for the generosity of our donors, and our landlord’s willingness to provide a period of free and reduced rent, the gallery, studio spaces, and classes would have closed many months ago. However, it is clear that even with such generosity and support, the non-profit organization can no longer cover the costs of the physical building and necessary staffing. The Ashland Art Center will not be re-opening.
We are extremely saddened to close the doors of this special place that has supported artists and students in their explorations of creativity for well over a decade. Artists, who, even before the pandemic, were making very modest incomes, have been increasingly left without commercial outlets for their work, as many galleries, auction houses, and art fairs have shut down. The Ashland Art Center organization cannot alleviate the health and economic hardships so many are experiencing but we remain committed to supporting the art community.
So, although our doors at 357 E. Main Street are closing, the non-profit Ashland Art Center Organization will continue, and will be entering into a voluntary state of dormancy. During this period, we will be restructuring the organization to find new and creative ways to supporting artists and present artwork to the community. We hope we will have your continued support as we adapt to this new reality, recover, and continue to promote arts and artists within southern Oregon. We hope you can directly support our local artists during this crisis and beyond.