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Local artist Mickey Ronningen hangs her work at the Wilsonville Clackamas Community College campus.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Artist Mickey Ronningen prepares her gallery work in her home studio.If a picture is worth a thousand words, local artist Mickey Ronningen's life story is worth double.

"I was born an artist. I had no choice," Ronningen says. "I didn't talk until I was 5, I drew pictures.

Ronningen, a Happy Valley resident, has shown her art in approximately 15 exhibitions throughout the United States and Portugal. She has a unique resume that includes co-authoring and illustrating a gardening book, working on a Swiss farm and acting as a reoccurring character on the hit TV comedy "Portlandia."

"I'd never acted before I went out and auditioned," Ronningen says. "When they were looking for some strange person to play Carrie's mom, they remembered my audition and called. Carrie and Fred saw my audition and liked it."

Focusing mainly in the medium of abstract art, her gallery work is currently being shown at the Wilsonville Clackamas Community College campus. She feels the Wilsonville campus offers a unique space for visitors to experience art.

"I love the space. I think that it's great to have places to sit," Ronningen says. "It is a big open area."

She hopes that the exhibit will bring excitement to her guests, both young and old.

"The exhibit is kid-friendly," Ronningen says. "I think kids need exposure to art."

In a departure from normal gallery showings, each guest will be provided a pair of 3-D glasses upon entrance. Ronningen wants the attendees of her show to experience the artwork from a different perspective.

"I was having some work framed by my contact Nathan at the store I've Been Framed," Ronningen says. "He told me how they had put on 3-D glasses to look at my work."

This sparked the idea to use the glasses in the show. The gallery also boasts abstract pieces such as "The Myriad Things of This Fleeting World," inspired by a book she read of the same name.

"It struck me that we get so preoccupied by our things — it's all fleeting," Ronningen says.

When asked what drives her, she speaks to the sheer fragility of her own humanity.

"I'm driven by the fact that I am old enough to realize that I am not immortal," Ronningen says. "I feel that it is my job to share my gift of art, for better or for worse."

Contact Wilsonville Spokesman reporter Madison Staten at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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