When Stephanie Barrow moved to Drain, she was immediately struck with the absence of family-friendly activities. Soon, she was pulling her own paints out and hosting Saturday art sessions, free of charge and on Saturday, April 22, the idea morphed into something bigger.
"Art Everywhere" was held in downtown with people coming as far away from Eugene to help make the event a success.
"Our goal is to create accessible art events and in this community, that means free because if the event isn't free, half the people can't come," Barrow said.
Saturday's event was free of charge and featured local artisans, music and popcorn for sale. Despite the wind and constant threat of rain, several dozen residents turned out to take part in the event.
Barrows is an organizer for DIVA, or Downtown Initiative for Visual Arts. The group has been active in Drain for several years and according to Barrows, managed to move the Eugene operation and its nonprofit status to Drain.
The trade-off is detailed on the group's website, noting, "DIVA's operations in Eugene are winding down now. We accomplished our mission in Eugene which now has a happening downtown. With our recent expansion into rural communities (Drain first), we re-ignited our passion for making real change through art. We are handing over the DIVA torch to a very dedicated group of people in Drain who will carry on our mission there. They are already expanding some of their programs to neighboring communities of Yoncalla and Elkton. Some DIVA activities and programs may continue in the Eugene area but, for the most part, all programs and activities will be coordinated through the Drain Gallery and Art Center from now on, giving some of us who have been intricately involved in DIVA more time to return to making art."
Saturday's event focused on the mission of bringing art to the community with several booths set up for residents to create their own artwork. Children were invited to use chalk to design flowers on the streets of downtown while a mirror was set up for passersby to create a self portrait.
While the focus of the event was art, the purpose was to raise money to purchase a facility to replace the community's now closed library.
The Douglas County library system was closed after commissioners voted to halt funding for the facilities as part of a continuously dwindling budget. The change went into effect on April 1 for Drain and will continue through June 1.
The courtyard beside DIVA's headquarters in downtown would serve as a new location for a type of reading room.
"We have crafting and gardening books we would donate and just give people a place to read," Barrows said.
A total for the event was not available as of press time but residents who wish to donate to DIVA can contact Barrows at [email protected]