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Everything came into place.


What could have been too big a space is filled. The property’s purchase closed two weeks ago, and the grand opening of the Troutdale Art Center is on schedule for Feb. 6.

Alison Brown couldn’t be happier with how her idea came to fruition.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Sculptor Alison Brown works on a sculpture at the Troutdale Art Center. The renovated building hosts eight artists and opens Feb. 6.

“I needed space, so I was thinking about what I need,” Brown said.

She creates giant bronze Duck sculptures for the University of Oregon, something she only started doing three years ago.

“I was always financially practical and thought it would never happen,” she said, “but I’ve always loved art.”

After meeting Troutdale artist Rip Caswell, Brown said she realized working as an artist was possible. Her business has continued to grow — as have the size of her sculptures — sparking the idea for a larger work space. She said her business has outgrown all previous locations.

So when Brown found the space at 903 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, she knew it was a match.

“It’s such a great spot. In the summertime there’s just people everywhere,” she said.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Alison Brown is licensed to reproduce the University of Oregon's famous mascot, Puddles, which are on display at the new Troutdale Art Center.

“This is way more space than we needed, so I was thinking wouldn’t it be cool to have other artists involved.”

Brown put the word out, and the Troutdale Art Center was born.

“We just got so much interest right out of the gate,” she said. “It didn’t take long before we got all the spaces filled up. People just wanted a space to work.”

The center hosts eight artists with varying media — sculptors, a potter, photographers and painters, even a recycled-art artist.

“This is really artists on their own as far as being in business and promoting themselves and they have say over their own space,” Brown said.

Through this whirlwind experience, which started about two months ago, she said there’s really a demand for artist work spaces.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - A variety of artists work is on display and for sale at the new Troutdale Art Center.

“Some of them had have spaces before but it didn’t work out, or they wanted something new. Some were working from home and felt isolated, others wanted a community,” she said. “Most people thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be so neat to have other artists here. There’s this synergy here. They wanted to be a part of something.”

Loree Harrell said she hasn’t had an outside studio in 12 years.

“On a personal level, I’m so excited to get back to my very own dedicated creative space that I can just go and set up everything,” Harrell said. “It’s wonderful to have the synergy of having everybody together in that spot. And it’s a fabulous location. The Sandy River is my favorite spot on the planet.”

Brown said she was lucky that the first applicants were amazing artists and people.

“I just got lucky that the right people came at the right time,” Brown said. “Literally really, really awesome people all came forward at once and it filled up.”

Harrell said the mix of personalities allows everyone to fit in.

“(Everyone) is feeding off of each other and supportive,” she said.

Brown said the space really plays into the effort to make Troutdale an art hub.

“We’re excited about having more and more artwork in the city itself,” she said. “There are more artists in Troutdale than I thought. They’re all kind of working from home and doing other things for a living, but once they get an opportunity to have their artwork seen, you realize there’s really a lot of artists at work here. It’s becoming an art hub.”

Once open, the Troutdale Art Center will be open for visitors. Although hours aren’t nailed down yet, Brown said with eight artists at work, it won’t be often that someone isn’t available. Photo Credit: OULTOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Sculptor Alison Brown shares a large work space with multiple artists at the Troutdale Art Center.

“Anybody is welcome to come by,” she said.

The first opportunity to introduce the center to Troutdale will begin at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 during the First Friday Art Walk. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/TroutdaleArtCenter.

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