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Celebrating the 75th  Anniversary of the Incorporation of Cave Junction - Gateway to Oregon Caves National Monument

2023 marks Cave Junction’s 75th Anniversary!  IRVAC’s Gateway Project will begin June 10, 2023 and Culminate in September.
As was the case for our first Gateway Project in 2012, (celebrating the 90th  anniversary of the completion of Caves Highway), simple wooden gates built by students (this year, the IV High School shop class) have been distributed to area artists to be decorated.
Many completed gates were debuted at our Gateway to the Blues Concert, June 10th (see our events page), and most are now displayed at business and attractions all over the Illinois Valley,
to be auctioned on October 14th, 2023, at the Siskiyou Field Institute (see our events page), all proceeds to benefit Learning Through Arts.  Tickets are just $10 at Bigfoot Printing and Gifts and $15 at the gate. Tickets printed with the previous date will be honored. Please bring your own seating. Food and beverages will be for sale.

Below you can read about our participating artists as well as the hosting venues and their hours of operation.  Follow the Gate Trail!


Arbouin, Wrenn_edited_edited.jpg



Wrenn Arbouin
One of our art teachers, he's responsible for many of the murals you'll see around the Valley - watch for his vehicle marked : "Mural Haggard"


Courtney Arts



Maelagh Baker


Elaine M. Barker    ©embarker designs     'Trillium'

Artist/Educator/Creative Facilitator/Brainstormer


Sitting under the oak trees in the spring amongst the wild trillium and recording /translating their ‘dance’ on a piece of paper is a sweet memory from my 13 years of living off grid at Mt. Ranch.  Those trillium drawings have woven their way into various translations during my life: over 30 years as a teacher and more as an artist.

Humans are translators and artists translate in a variety of mediums/media. One of my favorite mediums is paint. It’s ‘juicy,’ manipulatable and entertaining. The gate project was a productive reentry point for me and my journey as artist.  Re-translating the earlier trillium drawings provided an opportunity for me to observe my own process and identify what brought me the most pleasure. Amongst all the choices, possibilities of action…why did I do this or that.  It was a good thing!  The project provided many good reasons for taking the time and care to create.

Charles Churchill        “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing”

I have been a jazz person nearly all my life and a sculptor over half of my life.  The inspiration for my gate, “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing”, came from Duke Ellington and Louise Nevelson.  The Duke wrote a song by that name, and the New York assemblage maker, Louise, has long been my hero.

My process is called “Industrial Scrap Magic”.  The magic is very strong in my gate.  Swing it open, my loves!  — Charles Churchill

Billie Coakley

Jessica Court, Murderface Inc

The artiste "COURT" is a self taught southern Oregon virtuoso and owner of "Murderface Ink." She has built the reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the art world. Her original paintings have been used for numerous album covers, logos and T-shirt designs and her art has received top honors at comic-con contests and art competitions. Court also paints original masks that have been worn world wide by well known musicians, and professional athletes. Her original art is unique, and diverse and always one of a kind. From realism and comics to  murals and masks, Court is a chameleon of styles and talents.  Don't miss an opportunity to check out her work

Deborah Dawson        'Darlingtonia'

Deborah Dawson is a professional watercolor artist and instructor in Southern Oregon, born and raised in the Rogue Valley. Graduate from SOU with a Bachelors degree in art in 1978. She moved to Illinois Valley in 2001 and opened the Artful Being Art Studio in Cave Junction, where her space functioned as a gallery and working studio, as well as classroom.  She worked for Southern Oregon Arts Council as an Artist in Residence in three counties for several years, sharing the joy of painting with hundreds of children in all grade levels. Forty years later, Deborah is still painting and teaching in Southern Oregon. Her art hangs in numerous private collections on the west coast and throughout the US.


Janet Downing

My earliest work was mostly portraits and landscapes, working on my skills with realism, then playing more often with story and surrealism. I also led some community projects doing mobile murals with area schools and students. There was a long stretch of time when I was focused on family and medical issues and did not paint at all. When those medical issues were resolved I discovered traditional Ojibwe design styles, which is my tribal affiliation, and now paint drawing often from this vibrant storytelling style, creating new designs that I paint on clothing, accessories and murals with a few other artist for our collaborative P.O.I. ( paint on it ) group. Always about connections and the value of nature's mysteries.     jdstararts@instagram

Kate Dwyer   

Kate Dwyer is an avid gardener who enjoys giving away flower bouquets all summer long. She dabbles in beginner-level painting along with basketry and wool felting. She has lived in Takilma since 1992.  The design for this gate is based on a style often found in children's book illustrations. Along with garden flowers, the scene features willows (basketry,) and grapes (wine), reflecting two things she and her husband Mark enjoy together on their picnics in her flower garden.

Jennifer Folkerts & Olivia Howard

Jennifer and Olivia are a mother/daughter team that have been creating art together for more than half of Olivia's life.  Olivia is a 2nd grader at Evergreen Elementary school and has participated in IRVAC's after school art program.  The gate was inspired by Olivia's backpacking trip with her father last summer. 

Barbara Ford                                           ‘In the Garden!’                     

Art has always been an important part of my life.  Art is life, life is art. I have been in Oregon over 20 years most of it in the Illinois Valley. Been working with IRVAC since 2005 with kids and Art. I have been coordinator/teacher of the  LTA  program until 2022. I  continue to  coordinate and teach out reach art  programs and after school art/STEM  programs for IRVAC.The kids know me as the art lady! I worked professionally as a costume designer for an opera company in California. I have a BA in Theatre Arts/Costume design.

The imagination is limitless, just open the door.  A gate is just another door.

Angela Franklin    ‘Heal Thyself   Nature is Medicine’

 Angela Franklin is a multimedia artist who draws inspiration from nature, folklore, and the spirit of place. She has a background in plant medicine, death midwifery, and community organizing. She studied Art at Lindenwood University and has been focusing on botanical blockprints and natural dyeing for the last 10 years. 


This gate acknowledges the strong elder women in our valley who have lived a life filled with many sorrows and wondrous joys. Many of whom find beauty and nourishment through their connection to this valley. I feel the spirit of those who have died. We can call upon them in times of need and include them in our communion with nature.  When we remember that we are a part of nature ,and not separate, there is an opportunity for healing. We can tend to our physical, emotional,  and spiritual wellness by cultivating a relationship to the flora, fauna, and unembodied of our valley, and remembering all of our wildness. Heal thyself, nature is medicine and we are all a part of nature.


Rochelle Gale            'Moonlight Over the Siskiyous'

Hello. My name is Rochelle Gale. The gate I have created for The Gateway to the Caves Project is based on my longtime love of our beautiful Valley.  Our Mountains and Rivers, Nature and Wildlife, are soothers of my soul and a constant source of wonder and amazement. 

  I designed the top of the gate based on the topography of a section of our Siskiyous. The river banks are based on our Illinios River. The top a section of the East Illy and the bottom a section of the West. The burned surface reflects our perseverance and survival through fire and the community it brings together.

  Special thanks to my son, Tristan, for his expertise where mine fell short. And to my dear friend and our amazing head librarian, Roberta, for her contribution to the cause. And to my beautiful family for putting up with all my creative craziness. 



Mya Hiler


Ariana Jurisic (Ana)



Tammy Juarez


Amanda Keller

I lived most of my life in South Dakota and moved to Cave Junction in 2014. I have a passion for all types of art from drawing, painting, airbrushing, woodburning, writing, dancing, photography, and even baking. As soon as I moved here I instantly fell in love with the beautiful outdoors and the large diversity of plants, animals, and insects found here. I have had many medical issues pop up throughout my life that have caused me to step away from doing many of those things. However, I was able to finish getting my bachelors degree in Science and have worked at Great Cats World Park for almost 6 years now!


I wanted to do this gate to get back into what I love the most. The inspiration for this gate was how I feel and how so many other people feel when they come to visit and get to explore the beauty that the Illinois Valley has to offer. Explore the Illinois Valley!

Alan Laurie                                             ‘The Shortest Path to Heaven is Through a Garden Gate’

Alan Laurie has been accused of being a good artist ever since he was a little tike. He earned a BFA from LSU’s School of Art and Architecture in 1972. Graphic Design was not offered as a course of study in those Stone Age days at LSU. So, Alan pursued graphic design the “hands on” way. He is self taught. His career following college began in Baton Rouge where he eventually gained notoriety locally as a graphic designer, poster designer, fine art painter, and courtroom artist (for all 3 TV networks of the day). 13 years after he graduated LSU, He was invited back as a Guest Instructor for Freshman Graphic Design.

Alan moved to the Illinois Valley from Seattle 22 years ago. In Seattle, he worked as Head Designer for a firm that specialized in designing products for the Alaskan and Pacific Northwest tourist industries. He is one of the original Grants Pass BearFest Artists. His Pharaoh Bear and Cub Tut (created 18 years ago) are still brought forth from hibernation each year and are currently on display at the corner of L Street and 7th in Grants Pass. His Cubist Cub is on permanent display at the entrance to the Grants Pass Museum of Art. So, enough about him. Here is his statement about his Gateway Gate:

For my Garden Gate, I immediately imagined a stylized bee, because what could symbolize gardens and growth better than the main pollinator. Adding to that, I wanted to create a sort of poster design in the fashion of Art Nouveau/Deco. I feel this image offers an opening through a rosie garden into our beautiful River Valley, as well as an invitation to venture further into the Valley and toward the Oregon Caves. I wanted to put my all into this gate because it is a fundraiser for The Arts Council’s ongoing project in partnership with local schools, Learning Through Art. Art was a saving grace for me in school, since I was dyslexic and other subjects were so difficult and dull to me. I am always grateful for my fourth grade teacher having introduced me to oil painting.

Sue Lily


Amy Lusson                   ‘look up on my garden gate’

Amy Lusson, HHP, farmer, sculptor and owner of Wild Herbs Apothecary in downtown cave junction. The natural world is my inspiration! I love using wool for needle felting to learn more about all of the mechanical parts of flowers, bugs and animals. I love being of service in our community in many ways and have found my perfect home in our valley. 


Linda Naydol                                           ‘La Familia’

Linda was raised in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. Growing up within a diverse chaparral community among native flora and fauna species an affinity for nature was deeply ingrained.   Her background includes literature and art. Past art explorations have manifested works of sculpture in clay, welded steel, and neon. Wishing for a lighter weight and cleaner medium, she began working in pen & ink and colored pencil creating a catalog of California and Oregon native plants.  

My submission for the IRVAC 2023 Gate Project is titled "La Familia", a multi-media depiction of Acorn Woodpeckers working their granary tree. The Illinois Valley is all about a community working together and caring for one another. Our local family units of Acorn Woodpeckers exemplify that basic quality.

No actual granary was damaged in creating this work. The bark had shattered from a long abandoned and fallen tree. The acorns came from a lost and abandoned cache stuffed far beneath my barn roof. No actual birds were inconvenienced or harmed in the making of this project.   -  Linda Naydol, June, 2023 


Kiana Stiles

 Kiana Stiles is a Southern Oregon born and raised artist. Though her work is primarily  acrylic, she experiments with other mediums, such as watercolor, oil, textile and pyrography, , shown here. Since 2022, she has been a member of the Southern Oregon Guild of Artists and Artisans and, in the same year, elected onto the board of directors.  

Living and working so near to the Oregon Caves National Monument has made the Historic Oregon Caves Highway a main route in Kiana's everyday life, giving her the opportunity to learn about and enjoy the rich history of this community. The inspiration for this gate is a sign displayed outside the National Park Service visitor's center, which she passes by daily on her commute to her local family business.

Karen Stiles

Having lived in this beautiful valley for nearly forty years, and being a lover of all things outdoors, Karen imagined sharing her take on planning a trip to see the Oregon Caves; back in the day when it was truly an adventure to drive the newly established Redwood and Caves highways. People came from all over the United States to see our treasured cave and stay in the tents or cabins. Her gate appears to be a picnic table top covered with travel brochures for the caves, postcard describing a recent tour, photos of the new Caves road and Chateau, a service station trip guide, and U.S. Department of Agriculture booklet describing the Oregon Caves and surrounding area, along with some other unexpected additions to the table top. Even a Viewmaster reel of the Oregon Caves, which was invented by a man while staying at the Chateau and touring the caves. All images are painted in acrylic to replicate, as closely as possible, the authentic items. 

Karen primarily works in watercolor and tries to use her same techniques with acrylic. 

Proud to be a parent of another artist in this event, Kiana Stiles.

Gail Stone

 I, Gail Stone, worked as a production artist, silk-screening and airbrushing both clothing and landscape stage backdrops from 1975 through 1986 to support education pursuits. Today Gail is supportive of Artists but does not consider herself an artist.  Art is a fun hobby and work is counseling.  Thank you for letting me participate in this gateway project.  I enjoyed cultivating my experience with art. 

Jill Talese

You've seen her puppets at Hathkapasuta.

Sophie Traub & Eliot Feenstra

Eliot and Sophie live in Takilma and have worked on a number of Illinois Valley-based, socially engaged arts projects together. They are both apart of Beyond Boom & Bust, a performance project aimed at building economic and social resilience. Eliot is a theatre maker, queer community organizer, poet and gardener. Sophie runs The School of Making Thinking (an artist residency organization) and is a musician, performer and arts producer. 

Something we love about living in the IV is our interdependence with our neighbors. Our hope for Cave Junction is that there are more opportunities for people to have genuine kind connections across differences. We wanted to create a space for this to happen, even temporarily.  

We have turned the gate into a conversation installation booth, and a tool for building connections across divides. Have a seat, take a deep breath, and see if somebody joins you on the other side.

Geneva Vasquez


Anna Wiley



Ash Wissler


In Grants Pass
Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center    N.W. Vine Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526    (541) 476-7717    
Downtown Welcome Center        S.W. 6th Street                    (541) 450-6180

In Selma
Resort at Lake Selmac            2700 Lakeshore Drive, Selma, Oregon 97538    (541) 597-2277
Deer Creek Vineyards Wine Lounge    2680 Deer Creek Road, Selma OR 97538    (541) 597-4226

In Kerby
It's a Burl            24025 Redwood Highway, Kerby, Oregon 97531          (541) 592-2141
Kerbyville Museum & History Center        24195 Redwood Highway     (541) 592-5252
Southern Oregon Guild Gallery & Art Center    24353 Redwood Highway    (541) 592-5019

In Cave Junction (includes Takilma)
Gimme's Grill        25320 Redwood Highway, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523     (541) 592-3844
CJ Coffee & Grill            25870 Redwood Highway    (541) 592-2682
Wild River Brewing & Pizza Co.        249 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-3556
Cavenet                223 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-6440
Wild Bill's Oregon Outlet        202 N Redwood Highway    (541) 761-9084
Subway                    130 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-4697
Bear Images Boutique            123 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-2802
Carlos Restaurante            120 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-4553
Dutch Bros Coffee            115 N Redwood Highway    
Bigfoot Print & Copy            103 N Redwood Highway    (541) 592-4116
Trillium Bakery                119 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-3574
Bruno’s Cavern                126 S Redwood Highway    (541) 229-4753
Wild Herbs Apothecary (I.V. News building)       S Redwood Highway        (541) 592-3541
Taylor's Sausage Country Store        203 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-5358
Grocery Outlet                303 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-2767
Cabin Chemistry            337 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-3350
Caves Chevron                409 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-3080
Coffee Heaven                409 S Redwood Highway    (541) 592-3888
Illinois Valley Visitor Center        201 Caves Highway        (541) 592-5125
Bridgeview Vineyards            4210 Holland Loop Rd        (541) 592-4688
Marble Caves Distillery            7347 Holland Loop Rd        (541) 415-2568
Oregon Caves National Monument    ~20 miles on OR 46 from Redwood Highway    (541) 592-2100
Rusk Ranch Nature Center             27746 Redwood Highway       (541) 287-2164

In O’Brien
O’Brien Country Store            33096 Redwood Hwy O Brien, OR 97534    (541) 596-2555
McGrew's Restaurant and Lounge    33105 Redwood Hwy O Brien, OR 97534    (541) 596 2202
Augustino Estate Treehouse Tasting Room    400 Brown Rd. O’Brien, OR 97534        (541) 596-2818


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