A film crew will tour Baker County this weekend to explore the arts in rural America as part of a documentary and television series called AmericArt 2019.
The project mission is “Let’s talk about art. All voices matter.”
Timothy Bishop, who heads up Travel Baker County, learned about the project at a travel conference called Go West Summit. In a conversation with the producer, Bishop talked about various aspects of art in Baker County, including the Great Salt Lick art contest and auction.
But Baker City was not on the list of stops.
“At that point in time, they were looking at a route farther south that didn’t include Oregon,” Bishop said.
Then he got a call in April — the route changed and Baker County was chosen as one of the 10 featured communities invited to participate.
“We are super excited to be on that short list,” Bishop said.
The other featured communities are: Montgomery County, Maryland; Franklin, Tennessee; Wichita, Kansas; McPherson, Kansas; Pueblo, Colorado; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Elko, Nevada; Reno Tahoe Nevada; and Sonoma County, California.
Bishop worked with Ginger Savage at Crossroads Carnegie Art Center and the Baker Art Guild to prepare for the visit.
“We sent (the producer) a list of 25 to 30 artists and seven or eight different locations,” Bishop said.
The film crew will arrive Friday night in time to experience the First Friday art shows.
On Saturday the crew will visit Terri Axness at her Muddy Creek Studio outside of Haines.
“The setting of her studio embodies art in rural America,” Bishop said.
Other stops include the Blue Mountain Fine art bronze foundry with Tyler Fouts, and Churchill School with Brian and Corrine Vegter.
The film crew will miss the Great Salt Lick event on Sept. 21, but will interview founder Whit Deschner this weekend.
Filming is also planned at the future Baker Orpheum Theater.
“I’m really excited,” Bishop said of the scheduled interviews. “They’ll get a picture of the cultural landscape of Baker County.”
A public meet-and-greet is planned for Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Geiser-Pollman Park’s Powder River Pavilion. Bishop said a community event is scheduled in each of the 10 communities to garner comments and stories from those impacted by the arts.
“We’re trying to reach those folks who enjoy art and culture in Baker County,” he said. “Come and talk about art.”
Those attending will have the chance to sign a 14-foot art canvas that has traveled with the film crew through all 10 communities. It will be unveiled at the end of filming in Sonoma County.
The documentary’s producer/project director is Pierre Gervois, CEO and executive producer of Legit Productions. The director traveling with the film crew is Christelle Bois.
Bois wrote in an email about why she chose Baker City as a subject.
“I didn’t want to do big cities but small or rural cities,” she wrote. “The best way to meet and hear authentic stories and to show the USA from another perspective. I am looking for people who want to express themselves, to talk about art. Art is a way to reunite communities together.”
For more information about the documentary, go to www.americart2019.com