Artists join together to weather hard economic times

At a time when art galleries across the country are forced to shut their doors, Joan Franklin and 10 other local artists, sculptors, photographers and jewelry makers have joined together to beat the recession by sharing gallery space at Studio 5.

Located above Lela's Cafe on A Street, this collaborative venture allows the public an opportunity to take in a wide variety of artwork in one space. It also offers these artists an affordable venue in which to show their work in the Railroad District.

"I think Ashland galleries are affected by the recession as are galleries everywhere," Franklin said. "We are doing our best to stay afloat by sharing the rent and by putting our heads together to come up with creative solutions."

Studio 5 is both the suite number of the space they occupy and also the original number of artists that began as an art support/critique group. They have now grown to 11 members: Lindsey Barraclough, Midge Black, Katy Cauker, Dan Elster, Joan Franklin, Mary Hills, Shari Kalb, Thalia Keple, Darlene Lyon Kruse, David Lorenz Winston and Julie Young.

"Having 11 artists share one space makes having a gallery more affordable at this time with more ideas, energy, collaboration and support. We were specifically looking for quality work and people who could integrate well with the existing group," Franklin said. "As we grew, we became more organized. Now we have a committee to help make recommendations when there's an opening."

Midge Black, who specializes in outdoor Oregon and Northern California painting and printmaking, loves the diversity of Studio 5, "Because it is affordable for us we try to make the prices affordable for the public," Black said. "We try not to price anything too high. It lets us be true to our vision and experiment with what we're doing rather than being market-driven in order to pay the rent."

Studio 5 plans to hold events in the gallery space, including salon presentations and receptions by Studio 5 artists and others along with workshops, lectures and a holiday sale in November.

Studio 5 is located upstairs at 258 A St. and is open every Friday and Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. and by appointment. They are also open for First Fridays from 1 to 8 p.m. Beginning in September Studio 5 will be able to take credit cards for purchases as well as cash and checks. For information call 535-1206 or

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