The small mill-town of Toledo will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season through the beauty of art this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, as art galleries open their doors for First Weekend.

Attractions will include an opening reception for “Promise,” the annual Christmas show from the Yaquina River Museum of Art, starting at noon on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“Promise” is an exhibit of Christmas crafts and related items collected by museum founder Judy Gibbons over a period of 18 years living in Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile.

“Everywhere I lived in Central and Latin America I searched for and found an abundant and thriving crafts and art culture made up of the people living there,” Gibbons said. “My focus of Christmas art was easily fulfilled and I was delighted to meet with the artisans and hear their stories.”

Traditional religious ikons on loan from museum board member Pauline Morrison and the Gibbons family as well as contemporary bronze statues of Mary from David Robinson will also be shown.

At 2 pm, Gibbons will give a short art talk and tour of the exhibit, focusing on several items including a Peruvian “Naciemento” (Nativity set) made of carved wood and gesso.

At 2:30 pm, all are invited to walk across the street to the Fireplace Room in the Parish Hall at St. John’s church for free refreshments and a Christmas music sing-along led by piano and cello music which begins at 3 pm.

A silent auction of gift baskets will be on offer, with proceeds benefiting the “Hang One Up for the Kids” art project at Toledo High School. This project, which aims to create permanent spaces for art done by the students, is part of the museum’s educational outreach mission, spearheaded by museum project director James Nelson and retired Toledo High School teacher Peter Vince.

The Yaquina River Museum of Art is located at 1887 School House at 151 NE Alder Street.

Across the street, Michael Gibbons’ Signature Gallery will be featuring this renowned Northwest painter’s plein air landscapes, accompanied by complimentary Oregon wine and cheese. Michael Gibbons’ Signature Gallery, located at 140 NE Alder Street, will be open from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Just a block away on Graham Street, Ivan Kelly Studio & Gallery will be featuring Oregon Coastal landscapes and Northwest animals including “Black Bear,” an oil painting depicting a black bear amid the gorgeous colors of autumn at Moonshine Park. Ivan Kelly Studio-Gallery, located at 207 East Graham Street, will be open from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday.

On Main Street, assemblage artist Janet Runger will be featuring her found object sculptures at her exhibit space, Crow’s Nest Gallery & Studio. Runger will have a spotlight on “Bear Wares,” a captivating sculptural scene of a bear merchant selling honey. Crow’s Nest Gallery & Studio, located at 170 N Main Street, will be open from 10 am to 5 pm both days of First Weekend.

Further South on Main Street, Michael Hicks will be featuring his multimedia artistry, including his vibrant landscapes. Hicks’ Studio, located at 240 South Main Street, will be open from 10 am to 5 pm both days.

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