Thea Gahr poses in her art studio at the center of a hanging hoop.

Rooted in McMinnville: Linfield University’s Thea Gahr

Thea Gahr sits on a futon in her McMinnville art studio, a small one-room space. Some of her recent paintings remain on an easel. From the ceiling, an aerial hoop hangs in the middle of the room.

The hoop may be an apt metaphor for Thea’s explorations in life and art. She’s taken twists and turns, lived in different countries, and explored new forms of artistic expression. Like the hoop, the circle returned her home.

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Pura Vida chef and owner Ricardo Antunez stands in front of the restaurant bar.

Rooted in McMinnville: Ricardo Antúnez

Pura Vida Cocina has been around for seven years at its 313 NW Third St. location. It originally shared a storefront with a small art gallery, then eventually expanded to the full available space. Throughout that time, chef and owner, Ricardo Antúnez has developed a menu that delivers Central American foods with a style all his own.

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Outdoor entrance to Tequila grill. You can see signage requiring social distancing and mask requirements. In the background, you there's a large patio space with much tent cover.

Winter outdoor dining? We’re in!

As we begin to yearn for last summer’s epic outdoor dining scene, restaurants have responded by raising dining tents throughout McMinnville, putting a halt to our languishing and keeping the monotony of a COVID winter at bay.

Luckily, we Oregonians are of the hardy sort, and outdoor dining in the winter has become an adventure that we are willing to try out. Here are some places to enjoy a meal out this weekend.

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Rooted in McMinnville: Gallery Theater’s Cathy Willoughby

Two small floor lamps cast a lonely pool of light near the front of the Gallery Theater stage. No one has uttered lines from that spot since the cast of “Noises Off” shouted “BLACKOUT” on March 1.
Sitting high in this otherwise empty McMinnville auditorium nearly 11 months later, Cathy Willoughby looks down to the light and explains how a community theater group meets its mission when gathering actors on a stage and patrons in seats is not possible.

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Small figurines, "The Tiny Travelers", picnic and climb atop a smoothie bowl full of bananas, strawberries, blueberries and granola.

Tiny Travels: Take a Wellness Reset in McMinnville

New Year, new place? If one of the great benefits of travel is how it resets the mind with new perspectives and habits, a quick trip might be the best way to kick off a new wellness routine. With a fresh motivation to focus on physical and mental health, the Tiny Travelers set out to deliver a choose-your-own wellness itinerary for a day trip or overnight to McMinnville.

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Chef Kyle Chriestenson stands in front of a commercial range in Red Hills Kitchen.

Rooted in McMinnville: Red Hills Kitchen’s Kyle Chriestenson

It’s quiet inside Red Hills Kitchen. The downtown McMinnville restaurant is closed this day and chef Kyle Chriestenson is spending his morning planning menus and reviewing food supplies for the days to come. Like most restaurants, business is down right now due to the pandemic. Still, Kyle remains upbeat.

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