WESTAF Shoebox Arts

Waldport banners build community

Colorful banners hanging from downtown lamp posts are the Alsea Bay Center for the Arts' first project.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: “Waldport banners build community,” Cheri Brubaker’s story about a new public art project, was published originally on June 30, 2021, by YachatsNews.com, an ArtsWatch Community Partner. ArtsWatch is republishing the piece with permission.

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A few years ago, artist Amy Anderson responded to art collector Greg Holland’s social media request seeking people interested in forming a Waldport community arts group.

Anderson’s husband, Greg, and her friend and neighbor, Diana Buckley, joined Holland – now Waldport’s mayor — and five others to form the Alsea Bay Center for the Arts to help spread art education and appreciation in the community.

Amy Anderson, vice president of Alsea Bay Center for the Arts, prepares banners in her home studio for hanging in downtown Waldport. Photo by: Cheri Brubaker/YachatsNews.com
Amy Anderson, vice president of Alsea Bay Center for the Arts, prepares banners in her home studio for hanging in downtown Waldport. Photo by: Cheri Brubaker/YachatsNews.com

With much of the group’s first years spent organizing, then the ensuing pandemic prohibiting gatherings, the group was excited to see its first banner project going up this week on lamp posts along U.S. Highway 101 in Waldport.

The banner project is modeled after similar events put on by the Yachats Banner Project and Yaquina Art Association, Anderson said.

Community partnerships are at the core of the arts group’s mission. The banners are a partnership with 4-H, which sewed the banners, and Waldport High School’s career and technical education class, which silkscreened the backs.

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There were both artists and novices decorating the 32 banners. Ages of the artists ranged from 11 to 80.

“We make sure all the projects do have a focus of pulling the community together on creating new links and new threads between people,” Anderson said.

The group believes more enriching activities for kids, seniors, and visitors are needed in the area, she noted.

Buckley agreed, recalling the lack of activities available to her as a teenager growing up in a small town. She values and finds reward in providing opportunity to those who might discover a talent, becoming inspired by the opportunity to express themselves artistically.

The banners will remain up through the summer, coming down after Labor Day. The group will repair them before offering them for sale at auction this fall.

Anderson expressed gratitude to Michael Guerriero, Yachats banner project coordinator, for sharing his expertise; to Polly Plumb Productions of Yachats for financial and moral support; and to Pioneer Connect, for hanging the banners.

“It has really been a community effort,” she said.

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Limited the past year by the pandemic and always by the lack of a physical meeting space, the arts group hopes to find a home at 320 N.E. Grant St., the city-owned building recently vacated by the Waldport Heritage Museum. Anderson said the group will apply to lease the space once the city issues a request for proposals on how the building can be best used.

Don Meyers of Pioneer Connect gives a thumbs up Wednesday after finishing hanging one of 32 banners being attached to lamp posts in downtown Waldport as part of a beautification project by the Alsea Bay Center for the Arts. Photo by: Quinton Smith/YachatsNews.com
Don Meyers of Pioneer Connect gives a thumbs up Wednesday after he finishes hanging one of 32 banners being attached to lamp posts in downtown Waldport as part of a beautification project by the Alsea Bay Center for the Arts. Photo by: Quinton Smith/YachatsNews.com

Once located, the group plans to offer workshops and classes, have a small gallery and a small performance space.

On the horizon for the arts group, Anderson said, is a music festival. With the musical connections of Terry Hill, a founding member of the arts group, the tentatively titled Folk ’n Art Festival is being planned for next year.

The group currently communicates via Facebook, where information and events are posted. The group is seeking volunteers, particularly people interested in social media, website design, or coordinating volunteers. People not on social media can contact Anderson directly at 530-646-9012 or amyeandersonart@gmail.com.

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