Art is one of the fundamental elements of the Yamhill Valley wine country experience, which is why I totally get the name of the Art Elements Gallery.
The gallery, located in the historic downtown of Newberg, is a great first stop when looking for fine arts, crafts and unique offerings from over 60 local Oregon artists. Each month (generally around the third Thursday) the gallery is transformed to showcase a new artist or group of artists.
The entire front of the gallery is dedicated to the featured artist(s), and the remaining back gallery is a selection of works that rotate monthly as well. The gallery aims to promote shows with varying styles themes from abstract modern art, impressionistic paintings of vineyards and fun characters like a goat that you instantly fall in love with. This helps to keep the gallery fresh for the Newberg First Friday Art Walk events and it’s local patrons.
Many different media are represented in the gallery, from pottery to mixed media, to oils and glasswork. Basically, no matter what your style or taste, the gallery usually has something to pique your interest and make you stop and stare.
“Since we are in wine country and a destination for many people, we have had art admirers come in and expect us to be a small, quaint gallery, and leave thinking we rival things they have seen in New York or Chicago,” says Lauren Wylie, manager. “We have some amazing local artists that are very talented. Really it’s our honor to show their work.”
The only rule, it would seem talking to Wylie, is that there are no rules. Mixed media shares spaces with oils, and ceramics and wood-fired ceramics.
“One of the great things about working for a gallery like this, is that we know the artists,” Wylie says. “So when people ask questions we usually have the answers, or can get them. We have even had times where the artist has come down to the gallery to meet with customers. I can’t imagine working in a gallery that isn’t like that, where you don’t know the artists.”
The gallery does ship art, and offers prices in the range from expensive to affordable, and even have prints and other lower-cost items if art isn’t in your vacation budget.
“We try to have something for every price range,” Wylie said. “We love having people come in to just look around and enjoy the artwork. That’s the best part about working here, seeing the different art.”
Personally I would stand in front of some pieces and try to figure out how they did it. For example, when I visited, Kim Hamblin’s work was on display. It’s called “cut paper assemblage” and it consists of paper cut in tiny pieces to make a picture. A grove of trees in winter, a tiny flock of birds and even an old tractor are just some of the images that Hamblin made with the process. The art is amazing, but so is thinking about the amount of work this artist put into her craft.
The gallery’s vision is that of Loni Parrish, who was involved with the art collection at the Allison Inn in Newberg and also worked for the Lawrence Gallery at Salishan on the Oregon Coast. She not only runs the gallery, but will also do interior design for local homes and businesses with art from the gallery.
“This gallery really is her passion, and I believe that’s why it’s so good,” Wylie said. “She loves visiting with artists and hearing the whole story and even visits their workspaces.”
So the next time you find yourself in Newberg, or even if you are just driving through on the way to the Oregon coast, you must take the time to visit the gallery if you enjoy fine art. The fact that many of the artists are local is just an added benefit.
About Art Elements: ART Elements is located in historic downtown Newberg, the gateway to Oregon’s wine country. We are dedicated to showcasing and promoting local and regional artists throughout Oregon. Our portfolio contains a diverse collection of contemporary/modern to impressionistic artwork including: paintings, ceramics, woodwork, sculpture, glass, drawings, photography and jewelry from over 60 Oregon artists.
What to bring: Your appreciation for the art. Make sure when you visit the gallery you give yourself enough time to walk through and see all the art in the roughly 3,000 square foot gallery. It spans two floors, and simply put, is stuffed with amazing local talent.
Where else to find them: If you are out and about wine tasting you can also find their artwork featured at the following tasting rooms: Bella Vida, Beaux Freres, Anam Cara and Fox Farm Vineyards.
Tip: If you are visiting around a time when the gallery will feature a new artist – check the gallery’s website for details – you can catch a reception where you can talk with the artist. The gallery will also ship art, so don’t be afraid to purchase those bigger pieces. In addition – and I can’t stress this enough – talk to the staff or other patrons. Wylie told me a story of an artist talking to a customer, and then producing a piece of art that fit the space the customer had. There are some amazing stories that go with the art, take the time to hear them and it makes the experience much more enriching.
Season: The gallery is open year-round.
Getting there: The gallery is located in historic downtown Newberg on the east bound side. The address is 604 E. 1st Street, Newberg, for those of you who have GPS.
By Patrick Johnson