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Giving Tuesday: Ashland Folk Collective

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For the past four years, the Rogue Valley Messenger has hosted the largest in-person Giving Tuesday event in southern Oregon, an opportunity to mix-and-mingle with local nonprofits. The irony! In a year that organizations and individuals most need support, we are not able to gather.

In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, we will post interviews with local nonprofits—and urge you to give and support.

Jacqueline Aubert is the founder for Ashland Folk Collective.

RVM: Obviously live music has been one of the challenges over the past several months.  But Ashland Folk Collective kept concerts going—at Fry Farm and with “mobile concerts.”  Was the audience starved for these?  Did you notice a different response from attendees than from years past?  

Jacqueline Aubert: After so many months without live music most people are starting to realize what power music has, past just fun and entertainment, but for healing, relaxation, and human connection. Yes, people are starved for live music, but I think it is more than just music, people are starved for the arts.

RVM: You have a festival scheduled for late February. That’s optimistic. What were some of the discussions with the staff and Board that brought this to be? 

JA: First and most obvious safety is our priority. Planning this festival we have a plan A, B, C, & D and cancelling is always an option if things are wild. The event could be all online or potentially outdoors with a whole bunch of heaters, we are an arts organization, creativity is our jam. This summer we hosted concerts when no one else was, and we did it by having a moving stage. Who knows what the festival will look like, but we have the ability to plan, create, and hopefully bring joy and fun into this community that we know needs it.

RVM: This past year has been very isolating, obviously. Has what your organization only increased in importance? And, how do you feel like you have responded?  

JA: Truly yes, I think the arts are even more important in these challenging times. We have so much empathy for our community, from the elderly who are at high risk to children who can’t go to school or play with their friends, and everyone else who is just trying to stay sane. We are an organization that supports the arts, but the goal is really to promote health, through connection, inspiration, and right now relaxation and fun. Our mobile concerts were geared towards the elderly who couldn’t leave their homes safely and this fall we hosted outdoor shows at Fry Family Farm with a matinee geared towards families. We have and will continue to do our best to foster music in our community through creative ways!

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