LOCAL 14’s 50 Year History
Spring 1967~ There was an artist, a broken player piano, and an idea. The artist, Janet Almy, decided to sell some of her paintings to earn the money for this piano's repair. She invited a few friends to join her. They emptied the furniture from the first floor of her home, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Then they filled it and a long covered walkway with art. That 1967 art sale sold out. An auspicious beginning. With this success, the group decided to hold an annual show and call themselves Lake Oswego Crafts and Art League, with 14 for the original 14 artists. LOCAL 14 was born.
At the time, very few women artists were featured in gallery shows. LOCAL 14’s goal was to present a gallery quality showplace for women's artwork and offer the public a quality mix of well-designed, well-made original work. The 2nd show was held in Sandy Priesing’s carport and family room, on October 2, a Thursday.
The concept has not changed over the years, though the presentation has become far more sophisticated, an annual event that patrons look forward to. In those first years, the members were housewives in Lake Oswego who had put their professional lives on hold to raise families. Today, many of the members, coming from throughout the Pacific Northwest, support their families with their work and are recognized as professionals in their fields. For many talented women the show has been a first opportunity to exhibit before a major audience. Successful careers have developed from early promotion by LOCAL 14, including that of Lillian Pitt, now recognized nationally. The show, with 45 members and 45 juried guests, is held every October at Miller Hall, World Forestry Center, across from the Zoo.
LOCAL 14 grew exponentially through the 70's, moving from Sandy's home to a church, then to Mountain Park Recreation Center, and finally the Forestry Center. The membership (now 45) grew from 14 to 37 members. During this first decade, the group initiated key show elements that still exist: a core membership of showing artists as well as juried guests; a show set up as a gallery rather than a booth show; donations to charities and art scholarships.
At a time when the entire budget for the show was a mere $750, LOCAL 14 gave to the Parry Center, Portland Children's Center, Lake Oswego Library (for art books), and, in 1974, began an art scholarship, the Terry Hoberg Memorial Scholarship at Lakeridge High, to honor a member’s daughter. LOCAL 14 continues to award scholarships to outstanding women art students, attending local art schools and colleges. The scholarship fund now has non-profit status and an endowment begun as a memorial to Carol Fortin, a former director. For the past two years, LOCAL 14 has donated to the Oregon Food Bank as well, with proceeds from a cookbook “Looks Good Enough to Eat”, an “Artists’Book of Days,“ and a 2011 holiday pop up gallery, The Art Spot, in Lake Oswego, a project set to pop up again in October, 2012.
To present the highest quality original art and craft to the public is still the guiding priority. And while doing this, LOCAL 14 promotes, supports, and celebrates the art of women in the Pacific Northwest. Beyond the show, the group represents much more to its members. A director once noted that one year all the stages of a woman's life were represented by various members: one member delivered a baby, another remarried, one buried a mother, another dealt with cancer; one married off a daughter, while another went through a divorce. Members, their husbands, partners, families, and friends have given time and effort through the years continuing to add to the vitality and growth of the show and the member's lives.
In 2016 it was decided that we would change from an all women show and open it to every gender. This has been an exciting change!
Also, in 2016, we moved from the World Forestry Center to our new location at the Leftbank Annex. It has been our hope to open the show to the regions of Portland, and do so in a more central location. Because the venue is so large, we have been able to invite more guest artists and allow all artists to show more pieces of work.
In 2018 we are going to hold the show for 2 days- Saturday and Sunday only. We hope that our guests can arrange their schedules to come on those days without too much inconvenience. Missing will be also be the Gala. It is unfortunate that finances have caused us to make this decision, but we are excited about our new show!
In 2019 we will be moving back to our 'old stomping grounds' at the World Forestry Center.