August features creative art in Florence

El Dodge by Jon Grass

Aug. 7, 2019 — On Saturday, Aug. 10, many Florence-area galleries are showcasing local fine artists with receptions. Be part of the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour from 3 to 5 p.m. and visit more than a dozen galleries.

Galleries include locations in Historic Old Town Florence, around town and uptown. For a complete listing of participating locations, visit

Below are some gallery highlights and art happenings to look forward to in August:

The Studios

Hot Havana nights continue to be part of August’s activities. Besides the Siuslaw Athletic Booster Club’s annual auction on Saturday night, The Studios at Jayne Smoley Designs is featuring unique mixed-media photography of Cuba and Havana with “Classic Cars in Cuban Culture,” a show by Jon Grass. In addition, there will be a "Classic Cars of Florence" Stand Around to go with the art show.

For Grass, inspiration struck during a vacation stop in Havana in April 2019.

The quick, one-day tour of Cuba provided by the cruise ship included a stop at a parking lot filled with Cuban taxis. With a giant painting of Castro overlooking, the lot was filled with cacharros: 1950’s era Chevy’s, Dodges, Pontiacs and Fords. The legendary Cars of Cuba. However, it wasn’t the classic Bel Aires or makeshift engines under the hoods that piqued Grass’s interest. It was the chrome. Or, more specifically, the light hitting the chrome.

“The light reflection drew my attention. I wasn’t even looking at the cars. I was drawn to the way the light was catching the chrome,” he said.

So he started snapping photos. While the other tourists were taking traditional shots, Jon was in tight, focusing on the chrome, the hood and the tail, with close-ups of the grill and the ornaments.

Earlier in his life, Glass was a painter and later went into commercial photography. Upon selling his company in 2017, he was eager for the next chapter in his life and began doing experimental abstract paintings before his Caribbean cruise. After going through his images of the Cuban cacharros, Grass had a new revelation.

He called up his long-time friend, Joshua Greene, owner of The Archives, a digital print and restoration studio located on the central Oregon coast, which printed ‘El Dodgé’ on rag media.

Grass pulled out his watercolors and started painting. Not thinking about the car, just seeing it as a work of art.

In the end, Grass created 31 paintings, all part of his show at The Studios.

Grass and The Studios resident artists Jayne Smoley, Tamarah Phillips and Gigi Lassan will attend the 2nd Saturday reception at 1458 First St. There will be live music and a new seasonal Studio Box will be on display.

Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) is featuring the photography of Craig Shreeve and the creative talents of Youth Artist and FRAA Scholarship recipient Alyssa Lydick during August at 120 Maple St. The public will be able to meet the two artists in person, enjoy refreshments and view a collection of their works at the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour.

Shreeve has lived in Florence for the past five years, retiring from the field of telecommunication work in California.

“One doesn’t have to go far to be able to see and capture the wonders that our beautiful coast has to offer,” Shreeve said. “I am grateful in my ability to see every photo as a blank canvas waiting to be recreated in the mood that I feel will best bring out the uniqueness of the subject matter.”

FRAA will debut prints and cards of Shreeve’s original photography at the reception.

Lydick is an 18-year-old graduate of Siuslaw High School, class of 2019. She participated in pottery all four years of high school, crediting art teacher Kim Pickell as being her mentor and helping her reach her full potential.

During her senior year, Lydick served as an instructor’s aide to a beginner’s art class. Besides working part time as a barista at Ocean Grinds Coffee Co., Lydick enjoys being outdoors hiking, fishing, going to the beach and playing with her dog Lola.

As for her near future, Lydick will be attending Lane Community College in Eugene to obtain her prerequisites, and then it is off to Montana State University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

“I cannot wait to see what life has in store,” Lydick said.

Siuslaw Public Library

Artwork by River Gallery owner Jan Jagoe will be featured during the month of August at Siuslaw Public Library in Florence. Her work will be displayed in the entry hall and includes pencil drawings, photographs and a collection of close-up photography from Balboa Park in San Diego.

Jagoe studied art and photography at San Diego State University. Several years ago she began studying close-up photography with Paul Johnson at Palomar College.

“I love to share the beautiful things that I see through my camera lens,” she said.

Jagoe and her husband, Brian, own and operate The River Gallery in Historic Old Town Florence. Jagoe always dreamed of opening an art gallery featuring local artists. Living in Florence and owning The River Gallery has made that dream come true. The gallery features the work of more than 20 local artists.

Jagoe will be at the library during the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour.

Backstreet Gallery

Colleen McKnight, gourd artist, and Karen D. Nichols, multimedia artist, will be honored at a reception on August 10 from 3 to 5 p.m., at Backstreet Gallery, 1421 Bay St., featuring guitar music by Denny Weaver.

McKnight has developed her skills decorating gourds since 2015, converting her skills from systems design and flower design to transforming the organic shapes of gourds into works of art. Her gourd crafting patterns emerge from the use of wood burning, cutting and carving, then finishing with inks, dyes, paints, beading, embossing, decoupage, metal leafing, glass frit and mosaic work.

Whether looking for sculpture, a bit of whimsy, a playful animal, a useful vase, a basket or a beautiful decorative piece of art, individuals will appreciate McKnight’s expertise of taking nature’s gift and redefining it as fine art.

Nichols’ art includes, watercolor, acrylic and oils; however, her signature work is paper painting collage. The original technique she perfected starts with various kinds of fibrous papers. Using watercolor or acrylic paints, the paper is colored. By tearing, cutting and molding paper, she creates three-dimensional sculptural relief works. Certain papers lend themselves to feathery wings or animal fur. While birds continue to be Nichols favorite subjects, flowers and equine creatures come close.

Besides fine art, Nichols writes novels, short stories and poetry. Her seven books and Pocket Poetry can be found at the gallery. Her latest novel, “A Name by Any Other,” comes out in September.

She has edited and created cover art and illustrations for other authors. In addition, Nichols enjoys teaching and has been on writing panels, spoken at literary salons and taught classes at writing seminars as well as beginning art workshops.

Oregon Pacific Bank

Oregon Pacific Bank, 1355 Highway 101 in Florence, is showcasing the work of Jo Beaudreaux in August.

A photographer, mixed-media artist and art store owner, Beaudreaux surrounds herself with art every day. She also serves on the Florence Public Arts Committee, the Florence Events Center Gallery Committee and with other community- and arts-focused groups.

The bank is featuring Beaudreaux’s stunning encaustic mixed-media photographs, where she creates texture, drama and light effects by pouring wax over her photographs of the Oregon coast. For more information, stop by BeauxArts Fine Art Materials & Gallery, 2285 Highway 101, Suite H, or visit

Florence Events Center

Galleries one and five at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St., continue to display FRAA’s “Spirit of Summer” community exhibit. In addition, there is an open call to artists for the next community exhibit, “Everything Odd-Umn.” For more information, call the Florence Events Center at 541-997-1994 or visit for the application.