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Popping up with art

The Art Space is opening in Lake Oswego
by: VERN UYETAKE Portland artist Sue Jensen hangs encaustic paintings inside The Art Spot, a new pop-up gallery at 510 First St. The gallery will offer a little bit of everything, from painting and sculpture to prints and cards, to metalwork, textiles and jewelry, in borrowed space through December.

Lake Oswego is hopping on the pop-up shop bandwagon with a new, temporary gallery set up at 510 First St.

The Art Space, run by nonprofit arts organization LOCAL 14, will launch with a soft opening this weekend, followed by a grand opening Nov. 17.

About 20 artists will sell items at the store in November and December. Many of them crowded into the building on Monday to divvy up the space.

'It's all original, it's all unique, and it's all handmade,' said Jan Rimerman, a LOCAL 14 artist known for her watercolor and mixed-media images. 'The ideas and creativity with this bunch of people is so outrageous and cutting-edge, I'm hoping the people of Lake Oswego will come in and purchase something.'

The pop-up concept has already been a hit in larger cities. Many cropped up in downtown Portland last winter, helping property owners fill empty storefronts and letting local entrepreneurs test the market and make some cash without a long-term lease commitment.

In Lake Oswego, LOCAL 14 has free use of the space, which is being leased by the city's redevelopment agency as part of a future urban renewal project.

The idea took shape after Mayor Jack Hoffman attended the annual LOCAL 14 Art Show and Sale in October, although he directed credit to Cheryl Brock, executive director of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, and to Rimerman, who 'has been thinking about this for years.'

'If it works, it will be because of her,' Hoffman said.

LOCAL 14 began 44 years ago as the Lake Oswego Crafts and Art League, with 14 local housewives coming together to create and sell arts and crafts.

Rimerman lives in West Linn but grew up in Lake Oswego. She remembers LOCAL 14's original members, who were friends with her mother back when they sold art out of someone's garage. Rimerman was first juried into a LOCAL 14 show in 1982.

The group has grown to include about 45 members from all over the region, and its popular annual show now takes place at the World Forestry Center and includes an additional 45 juried artists as guests.

In a way, Rimerman said, 'We're coming back to our beginning' by setting up shop - albeit temporarily - in Lake Oswego.

There's something for everyone in the store, she added: Holiday stockings and ornaments, greeting cards, scarves and vests, paintings, fused glass, encaustic art, jewelry, poems incorporated with embellished paper leaves, pottery, ceramic animals, some garden art, whimsical sculpture and more.

A portion of LOCAL 14's profits fund art scholarships for women, and some of The Art Spot's proceeds will also support the Oregon Food Bank, said artist Dorothy Steele of Gresham.

'We want to support art as well as our community,' she said.

The city is providing the space rent-free 'to support the arts and add vitality to the downtown over the holiday season,' said Jane Blackstone, Lake Oswego's economic development manager.

'Lake Oswego has an amazing arts community,' she said, 'and hosting a pop-up gallery over the holidays is a great way to support the arts and draw people to Lake Oswego.'

In the future, the city might provide a longer-term, temporary sub-lease to the arts council, which could then move out of its 'closet' office at city hall and into the First Street building, where it might host art shows, lectures or other community events, Blackstone said. A financing arrangement hasn't yet been worked out for that idea.

Starting Friday, The Art Spot will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through December, excluding holidays. A grand opening is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17, and additional special evening events are also in the works. Visit www.local14.org for more information.