Making art accessible

Elida Field wants to revamp the gallery concept with her new downtown Camas digs

Elida Field is definitely not what you’d call an uptight artist.

“I have three kids,” she said. “I’m used to seeing the spaghetti fly through the air and hit a painting. If you can’t just wipe it off, then it’s not something I’m likely to have in my home.”

Field, who lives in Washougal, is taking that free-spirited concept into her latest venture, opening a downtown Camas art gallery.

“I don’t really have a name for it yet,” she said. “I’m usually good at coming up with catchy little titles, but this has been difficult.”

The well-known local artist has taught classes at schools and out of her home for years. However, she wanted a more centralized location.

When Field heard that Workshed Interactive was looking to move to a smaller venue, she thought the space looked promising.

“I am in the process of moving from my home, and have been looking at different spaces for a studio,” Field said. “I needed to be downtown as well. So many galleries have closed in downtown Camas. The fact that the couple who leases the space are artists pretty much sold the deal.”

Shannon VanHorn, who owns Workshed Interactive, moved out a week and a half ago, and Field moved in.

Currently, she is in the process of renovating the space.

“My real concept behind this place is to make it a gallery that is also accessible to the public and kid-friendly,” Field said. “I’m going to teach my Art, Women, Wine classes, my Art Van-Go kids’ classes and my collage classes here.”

Field also plans to offer “open studio,” time, where participants pay a membership fee and get to use the gallery to work on projects.

“I want to build this up with the community,” she said. “It will be a set space where people can keep all of their products and canvasses. They’ll also get a discount on classes I’ll offer.”

Future plans also include hosting bachelorette parties, birthday parties and open studio nights.

“My goal is to keep this space in use all of the time,” she said. “I think it is a nice thing for the community to have the arts. Before, the galleries were just selling art. The missing piece is making it a working gallery. It’s going to be a place for people to paint and kids to take classes. The concept of the old school gallery is phasing out.”

Currently, Field is offering kids arts classes with a variety of different themes.

The first one, Under the Sea, concluded last week.

The young participants worked with a variety of different mediums, all with a deep sea theme.

It was 13-year-old Cierra LeBlanc’s first art class.

“It’s pretty fun,” she said.

The Skyridge Middle School eighth-grader wants to be a cardiologist when she grows up, and enjoys playing piano and trumpet.

“I’ve been bugging my mom to sign me up for an art class,” she said. “I definitely think I’ll take another one.

She glanced down at her painting of a sailboat adrift in the sea and said, “I’m pretty surprised I created something like this.”

Third-grader Tony Kajino is no stranger to art classes.

“I like coloring, drawing and painting,” he said. “My favorite is landscapes. I really enjoy making friends and doing art, and having fun.”

Sunny Christensen is Field’s assistant for the kids’ art classes at the gallery.

“I think it is a great concept and come long term, it’s going to explode,” she said. “And downtown Camas is such a great place for this. It’s so quaint and cute.”

Field said the whole idea is to get people to come into a place they feel is inviting.

“I want them to feel comfortable and good to create,” she said. “I want this to be a place where people can gather.”

The gallery/studio is open from 9 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 421 N.E. Cedar St.

For more information about art classes or renting studio space, contact Field at elidafield@yahoo.com or 901-0031.

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