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Hubley remembered as Art Walk begins

Photographer's work on display; artists fetured throughout town
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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See the work of one the most important photographers of her time ? the late Grace Hubley of Colfax ? Friday during the Colfax Art Walk. The first of the free, summer series of art walks debuts from 3 to 8 p.m. May 11 at nine venues along Main and Depot streets. Hubley?s family came to Colfax in time for her to start her education at the first Colfax Grammar School in the 1880s, before she moved to San Francisco. In 1907 Hubley enrolled in the Artist School of Photography in the city and made her mark as a fine arts photographer. She opened a photographer studio in Sacramento and gained a reputation as a respected and successful portrait artist from 1907 until 1916, about the time she married Frank R. Jones and moved with him to the Colfax homestead where she was raised. Susan Cunningham, who now owns the former Hubley home on Ben Taylor Road, said her parents, Warren and Ruth Hill, lived on adjoining acreage and rented the old house to a female photographer who discovered Hubley?s photographs and glass negatives in the basement. The tenant had developed and printed some of the photographs and had them on display in 1989 when she held a yard sale, attended by neighbor and historian Gertrude Paul. Paul ?discovered from the photographer that there were hundreds and many thousands more. The rest is history,? Cunningham said. ?Gertrude ran with it. She mobilized it. She got permission from my parents to acquire them (the negatives) for the (Colfax) Historical Society,? Cunningham said. Some photographs have been printed and the glass negatives are being scanned by volunteers. Through efforts of Paul, the Colfax Historical Society and the Grace Hubley Foundation, the public now has a chance to view the work by Hubley, who was named one of the most well-known female photographers in Northern California of her time. Cunningham said she?s hopeful Hubley will encourage artists in Colfax and use Hubley as an example. ?I hope she?s an inspiration ? that someone with her talent grew up in Colfax,? Cunningham said. ?The light here is so good; it?s a great place for art. Colfax can produce good artists.? The Grace Hubley Foundation was established not only to preserve Hubley?s archives, but to support local artists as well. Last month, the foundation presented the Grace Hubley Award for the Artist of the Year to Colfax artists Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary, who have spearheaded several mural projects. Previous winners of the award were Steve Covertson and Marlene Betts. Just a small sampling of prints from the Hubley collection will be on display Friday at the Colfax Greek Bistro, located at 30 N. Main Street. The Bistro will also hold an open session Drum Circle for aspiring drummers. Working in partnership with the PlacerArts, the Colfax Art Walk committee plans to hold the art walk on the second Friday of each month from May through October. Volunteer committee co-leaders are Logan West and Kris Curl Johnston. Johnston said the May art walk will feature local artists. ?It?s such a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends enjoying the local sites and frankly it?s free entertainment,? Johnson said. Between the Grace Hubley photographs and the Colfax Elementary School student art, Johnston said, ?It?s honoring our illustrious past while looking forward to our future.? In addition to the Colfax Greek Bistro, other venues are Creative Corner, Café Luna, Dottie?s Restaurant, Bear River Trading Company, Doggie Depot, Basement Wines and the Colfax Heritage Museum.