Creating Place

“If they say it can’t be done, it doesn’t always work out that way” – Yogi Berra

Visualizing is a wonderful tool. It is empowering to imagine a place where people are happy, healthy and prosperous. A place where community comes together to support one another through trade of goods and services, food, art, craft, music. Ideas abound in a place like this. A place easily accessible by bike, or walking. A clean and safe place where conversations happen between strangers who treat each other like old friends. Sound familiar?

A family chooses which feathers to put in their hair at the Lithia Artisans Market, Ashland, Oregon.

We talk a lot about “peace”, but what can we do about it? We can create it in our own community. We artists understand what it means to take a vision and turn it into something. I pick up ocean tumbled stones and turn them into wearable tribal necklaces. Steve McLaren bends and pounds on pieces of scrap copper to create images of ancients Gods, nymphs, and winged creatures. Larry Shinerock picks up a weather worn chunk of driftwood and sees a lamp, a cribbage board, an abstract sculpture. Artists manifest our visions every day. Not every one is lucky enough to have the time to engage that gift we all have at our core.

Jim Young and I spent our Thursday morning talking with the City Administrator and one of the heads of City Planning. It was a constructive meeting. We are on a path that presents many obstacles which will need to be overcome. However, the vision is becoming clearer. Our mission is to help the City of Ashland and the Lithia Artisans Market foster community space that is vibrant, vital, happy, and thriving. Many of you know about the plans we have been sketching and working on. Let me thank Dimitre for his fine ability to draw what Jim and I described to him. Artists working together to bring an abstract notion into form. As we get further into the project I will post the images, not today. Too much ground work to do first.

“We shape our public spaces, thereafter, our public spaces shape us.” -Winston Churchill

Wide sidewalks instead of parking spaces in downtown Guanajuato, Mexico, the sister city of Ashland, Oregon.

Taking public space that is underutilized and transforming it into vibrant community place is the challenge in front of us. Remember that line in the song, “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I’d strongly urge everyone to engage your mind and turn that concept on its head. Can anyone answer the obvious question, why do we give some of the best space in our downtown to automobile parking spaces? As we make our way into the future we should ask each other if our cars are more important than our-selves? We need to look to old public squares in places like Germany, France, and our neighbor Mexico. A excellent example is the public square in our sister city, Guanajuato, GTO., Mexico.

“Where there is a will there is always a way.” – unknown

As we work to expand our opportunities, remember that our home for nearly three decades on the meandering Calle Guanajuato is beautiful. We are blessed to be able to engage wonderful folks, display our hand made creations, and support each another. Moving into an era of change we need to remain ever thankful for the blessings we already enjoy.

Richard Cole as he plays with Cole Cullin. Cole and Richard play this weekend, Saturday from 3:00 - 5:00.

Music Schedule for the Weekend

Saturday, August 20

11:30 – 1:30     Rod Petrone

3:00 – 5:00     Cole Cullin and Richard Cole

Sunday, August 21

11:30 – 1:30     Dave and Gabe

3:00 – 5:00     Shaloma

About LithiaArtisansMarket

We are a collective of artists, artisans, and musicians who gather along Ashland Creek during the sunny months of the year to sell our wares, dance to the sounds, and share in the abundance of life. Saturdays from 10:00am - 6:00pm and Sundays from 11:00am - 5:00pm, April 14th through November 15th. Two sets of live, original music each day. 40 local and regional artisans selling their unique creations.
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2 Responses to Creating Place

  1. shantrin says:

    Guanajuato is such an excellent model for what is possible right here in Ashland. There are no cars driving through their jardin (plaza), which offers such a welcome respite from the chaotic and unsafe traffic situations that exist in both of our sister cities. It also encourages folks to walk, and slow down.

    In my mind, transitioning the Plaza is the obvious next step for the City. If getting more people downtown and supporting and developing local green business (which local artists and artisans embody) are true goals, it seems like such a win-win for you and for all Plaza businesses. As you have said, people tend to go where there are other people.

    Stay with it Marcus and Jim!

  2. Shakeira says:

    Our Council does not sell Savannah Smiles. There are 2 different bakres of Girl Scout cookies and those are baked by the other baker. You can check other councils they may be able to send you some if you’re willing to pay shipping. Our lemon cookie is the Lemonade.

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