As wildfires continue to destroy entire communities around the West, the owner of a local gallery is using art to benefit survivors of the Dixie Fire in Quincy, California.

“There’s people at the evacuation centers here,” said Mark Reynolds, owner of Bear Creek Frames and Art Gallery. “There’s people camping all over the place because Greenville’s only 30 minutes away. So, that whole town was devastated.”

Reynolds is organizing a Plein Air Quick Draw Event this Saturday, Aug. 28, in Dame Shirley Park in Quincy. Artists who attend are encouraged to make a drawing on paper or a finished painting on a 9 x 12 or 11 x 14 canvas, which Reynolds will then frame, free of charge, and auction off the following Friday, Sept. 3. All proceeds from the silent auction will go to support victims of the wildfire.


“Next Friday is First Friday Art Walk in Quincy,” Reynolds said. “I’ll do a silent auction for all the pieces. … And then the money will go from that to a place called Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center here in town. People donate to them, and they give out gift cards or water, food, clothing—whatever the survivors need.”

Reynolds is hoping to attract more artists to take part in the Quick Draw Event. So far about 10 have signed up. Participants will need to provide their own water, snacks and protection from the sun.

As part of the fundraising efforts, Mark Reynolds is asking artists to bring their completed paintings to his shop, Bear Creek Frames in Quincy, to be framad and readied for auction. Photo: courtesy Bear Creek Frames

Reynolds said he’s worked blue collar jobs his whole life, but he’s an artist at heart. Opening Bear Creek Frames and Art Gallery was realizing a dream of his. Reynolds himself knows what it’s like to evacuate. He left his home and shop behind to seek refuge in Reno for a week last summer as the Claremont Fire threatened Quincy.

A few weeks ago, he watched the Dixie Fire start southwest of Quincy and miss the town by a few miles. The fire has burned 735,064 acres over the past 42 days and remains only 45 percent contained. Doing what he can for nearby community members that weren’t so lucky feels like his duty, Reynolds said.

“I’ve always believed in going through life and helping other people, if you can,” Reynolds said “And then, you know, I believe it’ll always come back to you. If you help people, you get help in the future if you need it.”

The Plein Air Quick Draw Event is this Saturday, Aug. 25 at Dame Shirley Park in Quincy from 9-11 a.m. Participating artists are asked to bring their own canvases, paper, and supplies, and to bring their completed pieces to Bear Creek Frames at 367 Main St. by 5 p.m. to be framed and auctioned. The final pieces will be available at auction during the First Friday Art Walk on Friday, Sept. 3. To register as a participating artist, call Mark Reynolds at 530-616-0230.

You can find frequent updates on the Dixie Fire here.

Posted by Matt Bieker

Matt Bieker is an award-winning photojournalist and native of Reno, Nevada. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Nevada Reno in 2014, and currently covers arts & entertainment and community development in his hometown.