An anonymous Ashland resident has offered to match any donations made to help finish the Peace Wall tile mural in front of the Ashland library.
"It's really generous and really wonderful," said Sue Springer, who long has been involved in the Peace Wall project and is the owner of Illahe Studios & Gallery in the historic Railroad District. "We'd like to get the word out that any money raised will double in value."
Back in 2007, more than 200 kids and adults from Ashland and around the world decorated fabric panels with messages of peace. The panels were hung on a fence bordering the railroad tracks near A Street.
Vandals tore down the panels in 2008. But the panels had been photographed, and community members rallied and had many of the photographic images made into tiles.
A waving metal frame in front of the library is now partly filled with tiles.
As of July 1, people and businesses had donated $14,685 in cash toward the $25,000 needed to complete the Peace Wall, Springer said.
The anonymous donor will match any donations made after July 1.
Before the donor stepped forward, organizers needed to raise $10,315 more. Now they have to raise only half that amount.
Springer said many individuals and businesses have donated time, labor, money and materials. None of the donated money has been used for administration, she said.
"It's been community-based from the beginning. Everyone is pitching in one way or another," Springer said. She said the offer from the anonymous community member to match donations continues that tradition.
Organizers hope to have the Peace Wall project finished by Sept. 21 for International Peace Day, Springer said.
Anyone who wants to make a tax-deductible donation can send a check to the local nonprofit Peace House at P.O. Box 524, Ashland, OR 97520. Write "Peace Wall" on the check memo line.
Organizers are also starting a "Sponsor a Peace Wall Tile" campaign. For $100, a person can sponsor a tile that will be installed on the Peace Wall, and get a 6-by-6-inch replica of the tile.
"For $100 — every dollar of which will be matched by our anonymous donor — people can sponsor a particular tile," said Nancy Parker, who has been involved with the project since the idea was first hatched to hang fabric panels on the fence by the railroad tracks.
To select a tile, browse through the website www.peacefence.org/pwall.htm.
Photos of the fabric panels that are being turned into tiles are scattered throughout the site. Write a description of the panel you would like to sponsor and have turned into a tile, and send it along with a check for $100 to Peace Fence, P.O. Box 992, Ashland OR 97520.
Donations to sponsor a tile need to go to the Peace Fence address, rather than the Peace House address, so that Peace Wall organizers can see the fabric panel descriptions written by people who want to sponsor a tile, Parker explained.
To see especially colorful and whimsical designs, visit the "Children's Panels" page of the website.
For the Aug. 4 First Friday Art Walk, Pasta Piatti owner Tom Beam and employees of the downtown restaurant will be serving up gourmet soup from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fourth Street between A and B streets. The soup is $5 per bowl, with all proceeds donated toward the Peace Wall project.
Pasta Piatti donates the soup. Past First Friday soup fundraisers have netted between $400 and $700 each, Parker said.
"For everyone who buys a bowl of Pasta Piatti soup for $5, we will make $10 because of the anonymous donor," she said.
Illahe Studios & Gallery will be hosting August work parties where community members can help lay small tile mosaic pieces around the spaces where the larger peace tiles are installed. The work will take place at the gallery, located at 215 Fourth St., and then be transferred to the Peace Wall metal frame.
No tile-laying experience is needed. For information, call the gallery at 541-488-5072.
Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or email@example.com.