Jon Bauer’s ‘Butterflies are Free.’ Acrylic and plaster on Canvas with poured resin, size: 30 inches by 40 inches.
Photo courtesy of Jon Bauer

In these difficult and changing times, everyone is trying to find a way to hang onto what they have. Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery has been a central gathering place for artists, wine lovers and all to socialize.

As with many businesses right now, Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery is doing its best to keep its business going.

“We’re really appreciative of our wine club members who have opted to take their spring wine club shipment,” said Melody Johnston, co-owner of Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery. “We offer free shipping to California addresses and home delivery to Idyllwild residents. We were thrilled to see orders come in, and Chris [Johnston, co-owner] was happy to deliver them.”

Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery is not only known for its wine, but for the gallery that offers artists a place to show and sell their work. Two artists chose to pay it back to help Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery financially during these tough times.

“During this difficult time, it’s important to support our local businesses,” explained Idyllwild resident and artist Karla Leopold. “Middle Ridge is a vital piece of the Idyllwild community, especially for us artists, which have survived through the fire, floods, road closures and now this.”

‘Bring the Flowers Now!’ created with collage, drawing, Pébéo acrylic paint on American Easel wood panel, size: 3 feet by 5 feet. Photo courtesy of Karla Leopold

Leopold decided she wanted to give back in whatever way she could, recognizing we all need to help each other.

“All proceeds from all my paintings currently hanging in the gallery I am going to donate to Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery,” said Leopold. “The best way I know to give back to my community of Idyllwild is to support a local small business.”

One of the pieces she is selling is “Bring on the Flowers Now!” Leopold created the piece with graphite, charcoal, pastels and acrylic paint.

Originally, Leopold was going to donate the proceeds from this one painting, but over the weekend decided to expand to all the paintings.

“Buying this happy art or any of the smaller pieces will not only make you feel good as it hangs on your wall, but it will also help an important small business trying to survive,” Leopold said.

Johnston expressed how grateful she is for Leopold: “What do you say when someone reaches out to help you during a difficult time? She touched our hearts ... and her flowers will touch the heart of someone else very special.”

    Idyllwild artist Jon Bauer followed suit and also chose to donate the proceeds from his piece “Butterflies are Free,” created with acrylic paint and plaster on canvas with poured resin.

   “I have enjoyed a partnership with Middle Ridge, showing and selling my art in my quaint, home village of Idyllwild, California the past two years,” said Bauer. “I’m hoping it sells and I’d love Middle Ridge to benefit from that. They’ve been generous and supportive of my creativity. It’s nice to give back.”

“Words cannot express our appreciation and thanks to Jon Bauer for creating and sharing this beautiful piece titled ‘Butterflies are Free,’” Johnston said.

Two generous artists show that giving back is important during these times.

“I create my art from my heart with hope that it touches the heart and soul of others,” confessed Leopold.

Livestream concert

Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery wants to give back to their musicians, knowing they also rely on their gigs to make a living.

On Saturday, April 4 from 4 to 7 p.m., Middle Ridge will livestream from their Facebook page Bryan & Laree Goodhead doing their James Taylor and Carole King tribute.

“As you can imagine, with our doors being closed due to the stay-at-home mandate, we have had to cancel all of our scheduled music,” Johnston said. “It breaks our hearts. Just like us, the musicians have bills to pay.”

There will be no charge for those wanting to watch the livestream, but tipping will be encouraged via text, phone call, or email. It will be run through their system and be dispersed to the musicians.