Prineville is on the verge of gaining a new art gallery, which will represent fine art from 15 painters and four bronze sculptors.
Rimrock Gallery will open its doors on Saturday, Aug. 3, and the public is invited to attend the grand opening. The collection of original art work is represented by artists from the Western United States and beyond — including the work of the owner, Pam Claflin.
Claflin started Mockingbird Gallery in 1989 in Sisters. Four years later, she moved it to Bend, and operated Mockingbird Gallery until 2007, when she sold it to Jim Peterson.
She began painting oils at the age of 30. She primarily paints landscapes.
"At 30 years old, I started painting quite a bit, and working at the same time," said Claflin. "When I sold the gallery, I went into full-time painting — and thought I would do that for the rest of my life."
She had an empty spot she couldn't seem to fill, however. She found herself needing a reason to get up each morning.
"I went down and looked at that space (the new Rimrock Gallery space), and when I walked in, my jets went to 100 miles per hour. I just said, 'I want to do this, and I want to give this to Prineville as a gift,' and hopefully I will succeed."'
She grew up with her three brothers below the Ochoco Dam, living there until she was 12.
"My claim to fame is that Les Schwab bought our property," laughed Claflin.
Les Schwab also filmed his beef commercials in the same pastures where she and her brothers took turns irrigating.
Claflin has two sons. One of her sons, Craig Harvey, will be working at the gallery. He left a career of defense contracting for the government, so he could be part of the exciting startup of a fine art gallery in Prineville.
"He collects art, but when I had Mockingbird Gallery, he wasn't quite ready to hang it up and do the gallery," said Claflin. "This time, he called me up and said, 'Mom, I called Washington DC, and told them I'm not taking the job. I'm not going, I am going to come up there and help you with the gallery."'
Running an art gallery is a true passion for Claflin.
"I love the people that you work with in a fine art gallery. People that you meet, and I love the artists and working with them," said Claflin.
She really likes to share a great deal of information about the artists in the gallery, so visitors can learn about the artists.
"There are some galleries that do not, and you walk in and you never know the person that is connected to that piece of art that they created," she explained. "I like them to have that."
She said that it has been a huge undertaking. It has been 12 years since she sold Mockingbird Gallery, and everything has changed and become more complicated.
She is hoping the gallery will bring pedestrian traffic to downtown Prineville.
"I love living in Prineville. People are very kind and very nice. I love the easiness of it."
Rimrock Gallery grand opening Aug. 3
12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
405A NW 3rd Street, Prineville, OR 97754
Contact person: Pam Claflin, owner: 541-903-5565
Open six days per week, closed Mondays.
Gallery will represent 15 painters and 4 bronze sculptors.
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