Medford art walk could get new start

The Heart of Medford Association may take over organization of Medford's Third Friday art walk, an event that has helped draw people to downtown one night a month for more than four years.

"It's been such a positive thing for downtown," said Richard Barney, the association's executive director. "We want to continue it and grow it."

The association's eight-member promotions committee will vote Tuesday on whether to assume leadership of the event.

Leena and Bruce Lee, the event's main organizers and owners of downtown's Yesterday's Blossoms Flower Shop, announced Wednesday on the art walk's Facebook page, "Medford's Third Friday," that they would no longer organize the art walk. The last art walk was held Jan. 21.

"Due to (a) heavy work schedule, after four years plus organizing the Third Friday Art Walk, I am sad to say I'm no longer able to continue it," Leena Lee wrote Wednesday on Facebook.

Lee said Fridays are one of the busiest days at her shop, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at 275 Theater Alley. After 5 p.m. Friday, she said, she's busy making flower deliveries.

"I just can't do it anymore," Leena Lee said. "I'm not getting any younger. It's time for someone else to take over, and I hope they will because I've worked very hard at it for four years."

Barney said Heart of Medford, which is made up of local businesses that seek to promote downtown and encourage more foot traffic, had already discussed playing a larger role in the art walk by providing music performances in a central location downtown.

"Now that we can do the whole event, I see that as an opportunity," Barney said.

Tami Abeloe, owner of My Daughter's Closet at 237 E. Main St., in downtown Medford, and a Heart of Medford promotions committee member, said the event has helped to showcase local artists, the local shops where their artwork is displayed and the downtown area.

"It creates a buzz downtown," Abeloe said.

She said she credits Leena Lee with establishing the art walk and designing vintage-style maps that show where all the artwork is displayed. "She didn't always see eye-to-eye with everyone, but she put the art walk on the map," Abeloe said. I think it needs to continue."

Leena Lee said organizing the event entailed finding visual and performing artists, placing their work in venues or shops, and gaining publicity to let people know about the event. She said she also had to update the art-walk map each month.

More information can be found online at heartofmedford.com and www.facebook.com/pages/Medfords-Third-Friday/51331246099

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail pachen@mailtribune.com.

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