ASHLAND, Ore. — A mainstay of the Ashland artist community will permanently shut down after 13 years in operation. The Ashland Art Center announced on Friday that it will shut its doors, and "will not be re-opening."
"The economic and social support the organization has provided to the visual arts community of southern Oregon has enriched the lives of artists, members, and visitors alike," the Art Center said in a statement. "Like many non-profit organizations, we have struggled over the years to promote our mission in the face of decreasing revenues and increasing costs."
The nonprofit's Board of Directors made the decision to fully close down the Art Center at 357 E Main Street, acknowledging that the building would have closed months ago if not for the generosity of donors and the landlord's willingness to reduce or suspend rent.
"There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has already had severe economic impacts , and it’s still too early to gauge the full magnitude of this crisis, we know that canceled theatrical performances, cancelled music events, and restrictions on travel will significantly reduce tourism through the remainder of the year," the Art Center said.
Despite the closure of the Art Center building, the nonprofit Ashland Art Center Organization plans to continue, entering "a voluntary state of dormancy." They hope to restructure the organization to support artists in the community through other means.
"We are extremely saddened to close the doors of this special place that has supported artists and students in their explorations of creativity for well over a decade," the Art Center said. "Artists, who, even before the pandemic, were making very modest incomes, have been increasingly left without commercial outlets for their work, as many galleries, auction houses, and art fairs have shut down. The Ashland Art Center organization cannot alleviate the health and economic hardships so many are experiencing but we remain committed to supporting the art community."