Emily Free Wilson moves a tray of her ceramics to a rack inside Free Ceramics on Wednesday afternoon. Free Wilson is leaving Helena to create an artist residency on the Oregon coast.
Emily Free Wilson has worked to build a thriving community of artists during her nearly two decades in Helena, but now it’s another town’s turn.
The owner of Free Ceramics and Studio Art Center in Helena, Wilson is embarking on a new project that will take her to Gardiner, a little town in Oregon on Highway 101, where she and her husband will create a place for artists to live and work.
“There are pros to living in a town of that size,” Wilson said about the 136-person town. One of which is the chance to buy an old middle school that will be turned into her dream of an artists’ colony on the banks of the Umpqua River.
She will be leaving behind a legacy in Helena that spans 17 years.