Bean Foundation surprises gallery with loan payoff
Award honors Diane Ramsey
Through economic ups and downs, Art Adventure Gallery has been a bright spot in Madras' downtown.
It all began in 1986 with Chamber of Commerce representative, Marjean Whitehouse and artists, Sharon Dodge and Camille Greene.
The three paid a minimal rent for a building on Fifth Street owned by Ralph Casady and established a venue for art in the community -- Art Adventure Gallery and the Jefferson County Arts Association.
Current gallery director, Coralee Popp, related some of the gallery's history.
"The gallery was all volunteer run, as it is today, and eventually, in 1989, a board of directors containing seven people was formed: Ted Freeman, Dave Glenn, Alice Brown, Diane Ramsey, Fred Christiansen, Ellen Peterson, and Dorothy Zimmerman," she said.
"Later, in 1992, the building was up for sale and a grand fundraising drive was launched. Diane Ramsey was a big part of this effort, reaching out to local businesses, foundations, banks, and the city of Madras," Popp said.
Along with Dorothy Zimmerman, she took a grant writing course, and they were able to raise the $40,000 necessary to purchase the building.
Soon after that, a whole new set of goals was established, which included much-needed repairs and improvements to the building.
In 1998, new larger windows were added to the gallery, and later a new awning.
Eventually, an urban renewal grant of $15,000 was obtained from the city, which resulted in a new tile facade and raised ceiling to allow more light into the gallery.
"Diane Ramsey resigned from the board in 1998, and her position was filled by Dru Aitken. But she continued on as one of the faithful volunteers each and every week all these years, greeting visitors to the gallery and faithfully supporting all we do," Popp said.
"Looking back through my old minutes and through her old files surrounding the fundraising drive has been truly uplifting," she added.
The arts association was making monthly payments on the $15,000 beautification grant, but a balloon payment was due this fall.
To raise money, the association held a fundraising dinner at the Macy Ranch, which raised $3,900, of which $3,500 was used for the balloon payment to the city.
In the meantime, Jim and Diane Ramsey had decided to move to Portland to be closer to their children, and a going away party was held for them several weeks ago.
At the party, Bean Foundation president George Neilson surprised everyone by standing up and burning the contract for the remaining owed on the urban renewal/beautification grant, and announcing a donation of $12,108 had been made to the gallery.
"The Bean Foundation paid our remainder in honor of Diane Ramsey, who was not only a faithful, original member of the gallery, but was on the board of the Bean Foundation," said arts association president Paula Carlson, noting, "The gallery is now debt-free."
A plaque with a picture of the Ramseys will be placed in the gallery in honor of her service and the Bean Foundation's donation in her name.