Hyla Lipson - Founding Member

I’m Hyla Lipson.

The phone rang and it was my daughter telling me she had tickets to a National Geographic lecture series in Seattle. Wow – a lecture series. What fun!

The next week I sat next to Rick Levine at Rotary and we talked about the possibility of engaging speakers and charging more than the actual cost and spilling out the proceeds to RCC to help their development. He put me in touch with Kathy Burkey, who was the dean of students at that time. A few months later we had lunch – and talked for hours. Ruth McGregor had joined us. We talked about our dreams – mine for more arts and cultural events in Grants Pass, Ruth’s for enhancing our down town’s sense of place, and Kathy’s for creating an Art Quadrangle at RCC near their manufacturing and welding departments.

At the exact same time – Al Devine was engaged in conversations with people interested in foundries. Then Phil Hart and Carolyn Kohn came on board and we began working on Artworks – you know – the idea that “Art Works” – to create jobs, build communities and realize dreams.

Bear with me hear – no pun intended – next I heard through the grapevine that Bears were coming to town for an event – I called Brady and begged to do a fiber optic bear. He liked the idea and we sent for our very own bear that came all by herself in a truck all the way from Maine. We had 3 weeks to complete Celeste L. Bear – but we did! We created the first ever fiber optic bear. Brady saw her at night and from that came the idea for the Magical Holiday fiber optic panels – which obviously kept Fiberoptic Lighting very busy during the summer and fall of last year.

And I was fortunate to meet and blend with lots of the bear artists. Linda Killion Smith was (is) one of them. She approached me one day about a project she was working on (she’ll tell you about it in a minute) and my thought was – 1. I liked the idea and 2. my own daughter is an artist – maybe if I participate in a project for an artist – someday someone will help my daughter.

So now we come to the “share our ideas with more people” part of the story – which is why you are all here tonight. We think we have some good ideas – and we hope you will too. This is a grow as you go organization – it’s fresh and malleable. I’m loving my part in it – I hope you will get involved and grow some of your own dreams with us!