The art wrangler

Artists get exposure, business owners have art on their walls, and Theresa Ackerson follows her passion in a concept she calls "the mobile gallery."

Ackerson, who lives in Medford, is showcasing artists whose works are displayed in The Cupcake Daily in Talent and La Baguette bakery in Ashland. She'll add Limestone Coffee Company in Medford next month.

An art agent since 1977, Ackerson was in the Southeast before moving to Southern Oregon in 1999. While in the Southeast, she helped display art at home-furnishing stores. That led her to the mobile gallery concept.

La Baguette owner Merrill Smith has purchased a couple pieces of art that Ackerson has hung on the walls of his business. Smith alternates Ackerson's shows with works by other artists.

"I get to look at a lot of great stuff," said Smith. "She puts a lot of effort into the shows."

Acrylic works by Coos Bay artist O G Ravello are currently at the bakery, located at 340 A St. Ravello incorporates vinyl-record album jackets ranging from Henry Mancini to ZZ Top into larger pieces, extending the artwork from the covers.

Watercolors of jazz musicians by Ashland's Jeannie Azzopardi are now on display at Cupcake Daily, 102 Talent Ave.

Ackerson discovered Azzopardi's work when she visited a local frame shop while looking for art for October's Medford Jazz Festival, where she hung art in four venues. The artist was having pieces framed.

Three years ago, Azzopardi had breast cancer that led to a mastectomy and additional surgeries. At the same time, she lost a stepson and nephew, and her relationship ended.

"I got really depressed, so I started painting," said Azzopardi, who previously had done pen-and-ink work. "I focus on jazz and blues."

The artist says she likes the freedom and movement she can incorporate in the paintings compared to the more detailed ink drawings.

"I haven't sold a lot, but everybody likes them," said Azzopardi.

Ackerson's recent efforts have focused on new artists who haven't had much exposure.

"These are people who don't have a voice," she said.

Ackerson does not charge for the service, but does collect commissions when pieces sell. During November's Talent Art and Music Festival evening, four of Azzopardi's works sold.

"It's a passion. It's not going to feed me," said Ackerson, who also works with the Gold Rush gallery in Gold Beach and represents artists from the coast and Northern California. She oversaw Headwaters art gallery in Ashland for three years.

Boulevard Coffee, Bloomsbury Books, Organicos Natural Cafe and Lithia Springs Resort are among other venues that have featured shows.

The hangings usually last 60 to 90 days, new works are rotated into the displays and an opening event is usually held.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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