McMinnville gallery to host student artwork

Amber McKenna

Editor in chief


Hidden in the McMinnville Artists District, anchored by the historic Gallery Theater, is a little building full of creativity: It is called Ford Street Studio.

The building has seen days as a garage and a beauty shop, but it has risen to its full
potential as an art gallery.

Gallery Director Donna Lee Rollins said the studio opened at the beginning of the year as a creative space for Studio Manager Renee Lorenze.

“I enjoy having a place to spread out and make a mess,” Lorenze said.

In conjunction with the McMinnville Art and Wine Walk, the studio is now a gallery where people can come by and view and purchase art.

Rollins and Lorenze were recently approached by Luke Zimmerman, adjunct professor of art and visual culture, who asked them if they would be interested in featuring art by Linfield students at the studio.

“We said we’d love to,” Lorenze said. “Part of our philosophy is to showcase young talent. It’s a chance to show different creative ideas.”

Rollins thinks bringing in young, raw artists is a good way to introduce something new to the McMinnville arts community and give the student artists real-life experience.

“There are good talents in town, but everybody’s seen them,” she said.

Senior Zach Mitlas’ work will be the feature of the show. His seven paintings are titled “Forgetting Hesitance: Spontaneous Play with the Physicality of Paint.” The abstracts are done in heavy impasto style with acrylic paint.

Mitlas said for these seven pieces he didn’t focus on outside influence, like he has done in previous works.

“I just painted with the paint,” he said. “It’s a concrete, non-representative work. I was just painting to paint.”

Mitlas said he started working on the paintings the first day of the semester, at least four days a week. After a while he had to distance himself from them to regroup and not get overwhelmed.

“I was able to learn a lot from these pieces,” Mitlas said. “It feels great to have finished them and have them in the gallery. I have a sense of accomplishment.”

The studio hopes to continue featuring student work and plans to show the work of senior Laura Johnson next month.

“We will entertain any and all Linfield art students,” Rollins said.

Lorenze and Rollins’ works are constantly featured in the gallery. Rollins does black-and-white landscape and nature photography with ’70s plastic novelty cameras.

“There is one shutter speed and lens setting,” she said. “It’s so low-tech. You never know what you’re going to get.”

She develops her photos in a darkroom in the back of the studio and then hand colors them for a unique effect.

Lorenze does paintings in oil and pastel, focusing on the face. She is showing a series of apocalyptic angels and a group of three paintings titled “What happens at Club 13,” inspired from a photo booth shoot of her son and his friends.

An artist reception honoring Mitlas’ work will be held from 4-8 p.m. Nov. 15. Ford Street Studio is located at 207 NE Ford Street and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 4-6 p.m., or any time by appointment.

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