Mission & History

The Mission of the Ashland Arts Center is to serve as a vital resource for art experience and education, while offering economic and social support to the visual arts community.

Our Premiere Gallery Gift Shop represents over 50 exceptional local artists.  We also house 20 open artist studios, the regions only permanent Photography Gallery, a Clay Studio, Printmaking Studio, and an art supply store.  This innovative non-profit is a hub for artists to create, interact and teach; and for the community and visitors to enjoy the fruits of artistic expression.  Be sure you have ample time to browse all three floors of our historic building and experience first hand the philosophy that makes Ashland Art Center extraordinary…. Life Needs Art!

Ashland Art Center provides an environment where local artists may function and receive support as creative individuals and where their artistic abilities may be harnessed to reach a greater goal of arts education, artist support, and interaction throughout the community. Ashland Art Center is a visual arts organization that serves Southern Oregon citizens with art education, art exhibitions and art services. The center’s focus on artist support, arts education and artistic collaboration fills many specific needs within our community both locally and regionally.

Ashland Art Center promotes and supports a thriving arts economy through art education and individual artist support. Ashland Art Center offers everyone the art experience by providing:

  • Community Art Workshops
  • Children’s Art Education
  • Artist Teaching Opportunities
  • Community/Cooperative Art Creation Workspace
  • Local and International Community Lectures and Presentations
  • Artist Studio Space
  • Artist Career Consultation
  • Artist Marketing
  • Artist Communication
  • Artist Equipment and Supplies
  • Artist Exhibiting Opportunities

The Ashland Art Center (AAC) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2007 when it evolved from a successful, privately owned gallery to meet a clear and consistent need for artist support, artist marketing and community arts education classes for all ages. It has rapidly grown to include more than 180 dues paying member artists from our community who recognize the valuable rewards of professional artist support, promotion and camaraderie.

The AAC successfully operated in the 900 square foot gallery at 163 E. Main Street (across from the Varsity Theater) offering a welcoming sales gallery, special events, community arts education classes, artist marketing support, counseling in “the business” of being an artist, and providing juried art installations at many Ashland businesses.

As membership and demand for services rapidly increased, it became progressively more difficult to accommodate a proportionate display of member art in the Gallery while also trying to host creative art classes, or art history and other lectures, to a packed room. Fourteen volunteer artist members operated the gallery space and welcomed patrons. The need for a larger site caused us to travel Oregon, meet with the directors of other active Art Centers, research their structures, and seek advice on programming and funding profiles to prepare a business plan.

In the fall of 2008 the vacant 9,000 square foot Provost Building at 357 East Main was identified as the ideal location and configuration for relocation and expansion of our established programs. The Provost family was very supportive and encouraging as we investigated and planned the design and utilization of the facility. We engaged the services of a professional marketing and development consultant to assist us in our efforts to strengthen our organizational capacity by expanding our board of directors, reviewing our policies and procedures and guiding us in structuring and orchestrating the capital campaign.

Matt Small, with Kistler+Small+White Architects donated his professional services to help us refine plans, draw up plans and submit to the City of Ashland Planning Department. John Fields of Golden-Fields Construction assisted in planning and implemented the remodeling construction that could not be performed by volunteers alone.

Our plans became public when the Ashland Daily Tidings ran a front-page article on September 26, 2008. In the late fall we began meeting with community leaders from the most prominent cultural, business and governmental agencies. Two Open House special events were held during the holidays allowing the community to tour the facility and get a firsthand look at our proposed plans and layout.