Portland Open Studios sometimes offers the Shelley Hershberger Service Award to a volunteer who has done an amazing job (or jobs) and helped to advance the organization. The Service Award is named for Shelley Hershberger (1949-2011) who gave several years to Portland Open Studios, and amongst other things did a lot to get us on track to becoming a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Kindra Crick was awarded the Shelley Hershberge Service Award in 2011 and here’s what she had to say about the award and about Shelley:

When thinking about Shelley Hershberger, it’s hard for me to separate the personal from the professional.  Not only did she dedicate an enormous amount of time to Portland Open Studios, but for me she was an invaluable mentor and a good friend.    Shelley joined Portland Open Studios as a participating artist and quickly volunteered to organize a large group show at United Way in downtown Portland.  It was beautifully presented and expertly organized.  She was brought on as the Board Administrator in 2008 for a stipend that would have paid for less than 20 hours of her time in ‘the real world’.  I am going to guess that she dedicated at least that much time, if not more, every week to Portland Open Studios for over two years.  Shelley organized.  She organized with persistence and a passion that was laudable.  She dug up every bit of information, from who knows where, about the organization and put it together in a way that could be used by the Board to make informed decisions about the October studio tour.  She did all the tedious work that had been left undone for years.  She organized our organization; she updated the organization’s bi-laws and changed our tax-year for the better.  She helped put Portland Open Studios into a position where we could apply for 501-C3 not-for-profit status, which we still didn’t have after 10 years in operation.

In addition to Board Administrator, she was my mentor for the publication of the annual Tour Guide.  We updated our printer, upgraded to artist quality paper for our publication, and continued to advance the professionalism of the organization. The Tour Guide presents a single color image of each artist’s work to help visitors select which studios they wish to visit and see how that artist creates works. Shelley had an expert eye for color and a knack for working with off-set printers, as that was what she did in her professional life for over 30 years.

Not being a writer, it’s hard for me to capture in words Shelley passion and dedication to making Portland Open Studios thrive.  Was it her role as copy-editor, bi-law editor, information gatherer, insurance hound, budget guru, calendar and task-creator, or institutional organizer that mattered most?  Yes, these were all things she did for the organization, but in addition she was part of what made our Portland Open Studios Board amazing and fun.  She was what made our job easier.  I would like to think we also all worked harder and smarter because of her.

On a personal note, Shelley was a good friend. I used to joke that our artwork, at the time, shared a similar earthy color pallet. We connected while talking about painting, printmaking, gardening, family and politics.  We pulled prints together for the Print Arts Northwest’s monothon, learned how to make solar prints together, and she gave me the three bunches of aster blooms and white anemone that still grow in my garden.  She was a sound adviser and was endlessly thoughtful.  She passed over a year ago.  This was a truly unexpected shock. She was so young. I always needed to remind myself that I was probably about the same age as her children.  Like most artists, she had a curious mind that did not seem to age at the same rate as her body.  All the same, she was a young sixty-something.  I am truly lucky that I got to know Shelley and had the privilege to work with her both in her studio and on the Board of Portland Open Studios.

Her diligence and attention to detail secured a solid foundation for Portland Open Studios, enabling the organization to grow. You can read more about Shelley’s artwork here.