Reclaiming the Sierra

Featured Artists

Franceska Alexander, Bio Pending

Ruth Chase
Ruth Chase is a multimedia artist whose work engages and activates community bridge building.  In 2017 Ruth completed the West of Lincoln Project that was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for Art in Action, as well as a grant to an individual artist from the Carl Jacobs Foundation. She was granted a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts in NY, was published in Professional Artist Magazine, Catapult Art Magazine and Huffington Post, and has taught at the Crocker Art Museum. Ruth was a featured sketch artist on the Dead Files TV program, was awarded an Artist in Residence at Nevada County Arts for Artist Activating Communities through a grant from the California Arts Council for BELONGING, I AM HERe, and most recently HOME. Ruth is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute.

Ashley Church
Nestled in the foothills of Northern California, Ashley Church can typically be found sprawled out in the dirt, sketching flora and fauna. Her intention is to continue calling in projects she is passionate about, around indigenous tribes, conservation, endangered species, her spiritual practice and mentoring eating disorder recovery through art. As a learner of both science and spirit, Ashley blends a unique perspective to both her world view and her creations. 

Jorie Emory
Jorie Emory is an artist and nonprofit professional who works at the intersection of art, environment, and community. Working predominately in textiles and printmaking, Jorie is a weaver and natural dyer. Her work explores sense of place and disruptions and restorations of ecological cycles. She currently works as Producer for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Jorie earned a Ph.D. in Arts Administration, Education, and Policy from the Ohio State University, and she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Surface Design Association.

Jenny Hale
Jenny Hale is a public artist based in Northern California. After a 15-year career as a producer/director in TV production, she transitioned from electronic media to sculpture. Motivated by the directive that public art is a powerful community building tool, she has focused on public art ever since. Her permanent public works are installed in schools, parks, and community centers in Northern California. Her multi-media artworks are site-specific, related to environmental and social justice themes, and often involve diverse, underserved and incarcerated, multi-generational populations in the design and execution phases. She is currently using the medium of light, shadow, and projected images to explore the intersection of nature and technology and the life force that drives it all.

Graham Keeble and Alex Keeble-Toll
First shown last year at the Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento, Gold Still Glitters is a multi-media, three-dimensional sculpture that depicts the ecological and historical intersection between California’s headwaters and the Sacramento Delta using spatial and temporal evidence that spans over 150 years and miles, beginning with the 19th century Gold Rush and stretching from the Sierra to the sea. The work incorporates sculptural, cartographic, and photographic components with the most persistent and pervasive evidence of legacy mining impacts: watershed-wide data on fish tissue mercury levels. Sculptural embodiment of the upper watershed utilizes place-based materials including wood salvaged from tree die-offs and scrap metal reclaimed from a hydraulic mine terrace. These elements are woven into a map and a story with historic and original photographs of legacy mines in the headwaters, the downstream Sacramento metropolis, and the Yolo Bypass wildlife area.

About the Collaborators:
The artist-scientist team behind this work is comprised of siblings who were born and raised on the South Yuba River, in an even-aged monoculture forest, backed up against a hydraulic scarp – both remnants of the Gold Rush. Graham has spent over 15 years producing place-based sculpture that incorporates natural and salvaged materials sourced in the headwaters. He received his training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been an artist-in-residence at the Squire Foundation and his art is featured in the collections of patrons nationwide Alex has an M.A. in sociology and an M.S. in environmental science with over ten year’s experience designing and implementing research projects to address legacy mining impacts in the Sierra Nevada, utilizing approaches that include historical analysis, participant observation, and collection of biological data.

Lew Toll
Painter Lew Toll has spent more than half of his life creating oil-on-canvas landscapes of places that he has spent time – an ocean view at Point Reyes, a Southwest scene from a road trip, the aspen filled canyon outside his family cabin in Colorado, and the beloved South Yuba River of California’s Sierra Nevada headwaters. Lew moved to Nevada City from Santa Barbara in 1982 with his wife and the first of two sons. A teacher of young and old, he has taught art to children at various local charter schools and spent twelve years teaching art classes at Sierra College. He was a founding board member for the Center for the Arts and over the years his work has been featured in multiple arts shows at the Center. Retired since 2015, Lew continues to paint in his light filled home studio at the rural home he shares with his wife and sidekick Libby-the-Dog.

San Juan Ridge Tapestry Project
The Ridge Tapestry Project is a series of embroidered tapestries intended to express the history, culture, and landscapes, as well as our hopes for the future of the San Juan Ridge, near Nevada City, California.