Arts council brings back the gates

Construction educator and wrestling coach Jesse Clark (third from right) poses with some of the students who built the gates.

The city of Cave Junction was incorporated 75 years ago. In recognition of that milestone, Illinois River Valley Arts Council recreated the Gateway Project as a promotion for the 2023 tourism season.
The nonprofit invited 28 residents of varying backgrounds, from professional artist to young student, to decorate wooden garden gates. The organization’s first Gateway Project in 2012 celebrated the 90th anniversary of the completion of Caves Highway.
IRVAC President Judy Hoyle stated, “We had originally planned to have our gate auction Sept. 9, but the threat of wildfire prompted a postponement until Oct. 14. Since the tourist season ended Labor Day, we decided to bring back the two gates displayed in Grants Pass and the two that were at Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve, so Valley residents could get a chance to see them before they’re auctioned off.”
All gates are now available for viewing from Selma to O’Brien and along Holland Loop. Each gate site will include rack cards directing those interested to all the other locations.
The gates were built during winter term by Illinois Valley High School students, under the direction of IVHS construction educator and wrestling coach, Jesse Clark.
The project was made possible by a generous donation by local historian, Sally Yarbrough, who expressed interest in providing the wood to help the students learn simple building techniques.
“We thank both Mr. Clark and Mrs. Yarbrough for their assistance with this project, as well as all the Gateway artists and the businesses and nonprofits that agreed to display the gates. We also offer our sincere appreciation to Gateway Project funders and opening event concert sponsors: Evergreen Federal Bank, Wild River Pizza & Brewing and Foris Vineyards & Winery,” Hoyle said.
IRVAC has been active in the Illinois Valley for over 20 years. The group’s stated mission is to provide arts education and arts experiences for Valley residents and visitors. IRVAC is known for public art installations, including the Cave Junction City Hall fish sculpture and the murals on Jubilee Park’s stage, plus they sponsor concerts and events.
In addition to the chance to see the gates in person, locations and photos of the decorated gates are available for viewing online at www.irvac.org.
Gates will be auctioned to help fund IRVAC’s public benefit activities including “Learning Through Arts” at Josephine Community Library’s Cave Junction branch and I.V. public schools, including Three Rivers School District charter school, Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School.
The auction, led by Auctioneer Dan Mancuso, will start 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at Siskiyou Field Institute, 1241 Illinois River Road.
The event features live dance music by Tim Wallace and Michelle LeComte. Food and beverages will be for sale. Tickets are $15 at the gate, or $10 in advance at Bigfoot Printing, Hwy. 199 at Lister in Cave Junction.
IRVAC is a registered 501c3 public benefit organization and can be reached at 541-592-4444.