October marks the grand opening of the new North Pole Grange Gallery and Studios.

To celebrate its new nonprofit status and to promote local art, the North Pole Grange Gallery and Studios is hosting an art show this month, along with both an online and in- person auction. The exhibit’s opening reception is 5-8 p.m. Friday.

The October show is a fundraiser, after nearly two years of inactivity. Funds will pay for future programming and much-needed repairs and upgrades to the building, according to grange president John Poirrier.

The North Pole Grange was built in the early 1960s and has served for years as a venue for community gatherings of all sorts. Now it hopes to become a center for local artists to create and show their work.

“The gallery is searching for new ways to promote local art within the community,” Poirrier said.

Local artists donated original artwork for this first show and others donated artwork from their personal collections. Some artists also donated original art to the grange’s online and in-person auctions. The traditional art show runs through Friday. The online auction, at liveauction.fairbanksauction.com, closes at 6 p.m. Friday. An hour later, an onsite auction begins at 7 p.m.

People who come in person can also enjoy baked potatoes, grown right in the grange garden.

The Grange Gallery plans to offer special programs and workshops as well as art shows every month. The November show will be “Teeny Weeny Elf-Size Art.”

Poirrier said art classes will introduce beginners to different art forms and provide workshops designed to allow more experienced artists to develop and refine their talents. Once those presentations and workshops are confirmed, they will be listed on the Grange website at www.northpolegrange.org.

Donations are welcome to the new nonprofit, even if you don’t buy a piece of artwork. For more information contact John Poirrier at 907 322-0623 or John@grangegallery.org.

An authentic Bob Ross

The Bob Ross painting Fairbanksan Sheri Martin found tucked away in her garage is authentic and she now has an authentication certificate to prove it.

The expert at Bob Ross Inc. who examined the painting told her it was painted very early in his career and very few of his paintings from that era are ever brought to their attention.

Sheri Martin found the painting while going through possessions that once belonged to her father, who died in 2018. In the garage, she went through boxes of framed photos and paintings.

“One was wrapped securely in plastic, so much that I couldn’t even see the painting,” she said. “I opened it and wondered which of my parents painted it.”

The painter was actually Bob Ross. He created and hosted “The Joy of Painting,” an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS. He was also a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base for a time. That is where he fell in love with painting mountains and landscape.

On a recent trip to visit family in Virginia, Martin took the painting to the nearby Bob Ross Inc for authentication. Now, she has a certificate and a gold seal on the canvas back, marking the painting as an original Bob Ross painting.

She plans to frame it and hang it in her home.

The authentication expert does not buy or sell Bob Ross paintings, so could not provide an estimate of its value. Eventually, Martin said, maybe her family will pursue that question.

For now, they are just going to enjoy viewing it in their own home.

Reach columnist/community member Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.

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