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Artist brings her world to Milwaukie scene

by: MIKE BAGGETTA - Marla Baggetta presents a demonstration using pastels during her the open house for her atelier on Sept. 9. Classes are set to begin on Thursday, Oct. 25.Artist Marla Baggetta has found a place where “all kinds of things are possible,” and that place is in downtown Milwaukie, where she has opened S.E. Atelier, her studio and workshop.

Baggetta is a professional artist who will use the space as her own personal studio, but more importantly, she will begin teaching classes and hosting events and workshops there starting Thursday, Oct. 25.

The name of her business comes from the French word atelier, pronounced at-ell-yay, and defined as a workshop or studio, especially for an artist or designer.

‘Social outlet’

Baggetta has chosen to hold classes in the atelier, because “teaching strengthens my work. Painting is a solitary endeavor and teaching is a social outlet; it is very important to me,” Baggetta said.

She feels lucky to be a professional artist, so teaching allows her to give back and help other people pursue their dreams, she added.

Baggetta has a degree from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and worked as an illustrator for 25 years. About 20 years ago, she and her husband, Mike, also an artist, moved to West Linn, and she began landscape painting.

At that same time her career as a teacher took off, leading her on a journey across the United States. It was after a recent series of teaching workshops in North Carolina, Maine and Michigan, that she called her mother, who lives in a townhouse in downtown Milwaukie, and asked her to look for a space where she could “settle in a little bit.”

Her mother found a spot near the Spring Creek Coffee House, on Southeast Scott Street just off McLoughlin Boulevard, but thought it might be too large and too old.

“But I thought it had everything I wanted; as soon as I saw it I knew this was my spot, and I have been working really hard to make it functional and beautiful,” Baggetta said, noting that she signed the lease for the spot in mid-August.

“As soon as I started working in this space, people walked in and I began connecting with the larger community; that is important to me.”

“The city of Milwaukie is delighted” that Baggetta has opened her atelier, said Wendy DeHart, a member of the North Clackamas Arts Guild and chairwoman of the guild’s annual show that took place at the end of September.

“It will be a destination for local artists and will bring a lot of business to the city. Marla has won awards in art shows all over the country and she is a mover and shaker in the arts scene,” DeHart said, noting that she first took classes from Baggetta 10 years ago in West Linn.

“She is not just a talented artist, but a good teacher and that is remarkable, but what is really unique about her is that she can produce wonderful art and has an acute business sense as well,” DeHart added.

Baggetta said she is grateful for DeHart’s support, noting that she also proud of her for having her piece “Sun and Storms” picked as Best in Show in the guild’s latest show.

Creative endeavors

As for the classes that she will begin teaching, Baggetta welcomes anyone to the studio who has “a creative intention, and anyone who has thought of picking up a paintbrush or pastels.”

She thinks of herself as non-threatening teacher, and hopes that students who may have had a less-than-positive experience in other classes will find her space beautiful, welcoming and comfortable.

She expects a whole range of people to take workshops and classes at her atelier, including beginners, professional artists who want to stretch their range and anyone who wants to pursue a particular material.

Although she works primarily in pastels and oils, Baggetta plans to “bring in professional workshop instructors doing all kinds of mediums, maybe even sculpture and metalworking.”

Right now her own paintings are displayed on the walls of her gallery, but she will hang exhibits of other people’s works, she said, noting that her atelier is also a retail outlet where she sells her original paintings, prints and posters.

Baggetta added, “I don’t think there is anything better to do than making art; it is a human thing to do. You can’t be mad when you are making art — it’s all good.”

Fast Facts

S.E. Atelier, 1926 S.E. Scott St., Milwaukie, 503-329-5117.

Find out more about artist and owner Marla Baggetta and see photos of her art and a class and workshop schedule at seatelier.com. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming events: Baggetta will host free demonstrations each Wednesday evening, featuring a special technique/approach or a guest artist, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

On Thursdays, starting Oct. 25, she will instruct a painterly painting class, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Artist Judy Wise will teach a cold wax technique workshop on Nov. 11 and 12.

Artists Jackie Hurlbert and Steve Eichenberger will host their annual studio show from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

In addition, a “Ladies Night” will feature a different themed creative outlet for ladies only each month.



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