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Friends With Heart benefits artists, Ophelia’s Place
by Natalie Miller
|Artwork by Susan Klein|
|Artwork by Yona C. Riel|
|Artworks by Susan Detroy|
Women of Eugene are taking this Valentine’s Day to celebrate the power of the female spirit and creative expression — and to help girls grow up loving themselves.
Seven local female artists are spending the Valentine’s Day weekend selling their work for the Friends with Heart benefit at Susan Klein Design Studios. The art sale will attempt to raise support and awareness for Ophelia’s Place.
A nonprofit that started four years ago, Ophelia’s Place helps girls can learn the skills they need to become confident, healthy women. And it’s not just for at-risk girls; it’s open to all girls. The organization offers skill-building classes such as yoga and meditation, self-defense and art. It also has individual therapy and drop-in services that allow girls to spend time in a safe place after school.
Although Ophelia’s Place has collaborated with the school districts and many other local nonprofits, executive director Verna Wise says it’s the first time they’ve worked with the Eugene art community. But that idea isn’t far from its mission to empower young girls. “Art is a vital way to express one’s sense of self,” Wise says. On Friday night, Wise will be at the studio to talk about Ophelia’s Place.
This is not the first time Klein has teamed up with a nonprofit when having a studio show. With more than 25 years of experience as an artist, Klein says she has never done a show without one. She says she chose Ophelia’s Place in order to bring attention to the small organization, because she strongly believes in the work that’s being done to keep girls out of Womenspace — the nonprofit’s sister organization. And by opening her studio for the “Friends with Heart” benefit, Klein has created an opportunity to support female artists, who, she says “always have it harder in the art world,” while also helping to strengthen the community’s future women.
The artists chosen to participate in the studio show comprise a diverse group. Each artist will contribute a different medium, including glass work, photography, Valentine’s cards, felted scarves, ceramics and jewelry. A percentage from each sale will be donated to Ophelia’s Place.
One of the artists in the show who understands the strengthening power of art is Yona Riel. A lifelong artist, Riel suffered a near-fatal head injury in December 2007, leaving her with no use of her left side and the fear that she had lost her imagination. “The pictures in my brain were gone,” Riel says. But after about three months, she says, the images in her mind began to reappear. And once again, she was creating art. “Working with colors and textures feeds the imagination,” Riel says. “It fed my right brain.” Since the incident, Riel has re-taught herself to walk and to read. She is now volunteering at M.E.C.C.A. She attributes her recovery to art and community support. For the studio show, Riel has created colorful needle-felted hearts, with charms and skeleton keys.
The other artists in the show include Susan Detroy, Mary Hindman, Paula Goodbar, Sue Hunnel, Susan Klein and Judith Sparks. In addition to the art, there will be wine donated by Territorial Winery, and tea and pastries by Tarte Bakery and LCC’s culinary school.
The show in Klein’s studio, located at 2nd Ave. and Blair Blvd., runs in conjunction with Clay Space’s weekend sale. Friends with Heart runs 5 pm-9 pm Friday, Feb. 12, with a reception; 11am-5pm Saturday, Feb. 13 and noon-4 pm Sunday, Feb. 14.