The Frosty Badger is featured in the Argus Observer.

Newman had been looking for a place so he could create an art studio space for his wife, Lisa, and a workshop for himself, as well as somewhere to play some music. When the couple were bicycling through the neighborhood one day, the building caught Neman’s eye. 

“I said to my wife, ‘That’s kind of a cool building, we should do something with it.’ When I look at these pictures now,” he said, pointing to pictures of how the space looked when he found it, 

“I go ‘What in the world was I thinking?’” 


With a background in construction since 2003, Newman has renovated other buildings in the past, however said this was the biggest personal project he has ever taken on. The cleanup was very extensive including have to clean up trash that was left behind by homeless people who had been using the space. 

“I like old buildings and I hate to see them run down and in disrepair. I think we should use old buildings, if possible,” he said, noting that everything does have a life span. 

In addition to creating a space where he and his wife could pursue their personal creative interests, Newman aims to recoup their investment. The goal to do so is to hold live events, such as concerts, as well as rent the facility out for such events as weddings, wedding receptions, birthday or Christmas, and meetings for civic groups.

We’ve had graduation events, we’ve had a baby shower,” Newman said.

What’s inside…

 Just inside the front entrance is a wide open foyer that could double as a meeting room. There also is a full kitchen, a performance area, a recording studio, a courtyard and other amenities. 

The performance area takes up about 9,000 square feet of the 2,100 square-foot space. It has two bathrooms, with one being “more ADA friendly. 

”Those facilities are separated by curtains for privacy and to buffer lights so it doesn’t interfere with the concert. The area also has black curtains on the walls and panels on the ceiling, walls and beams for sound absorption. 

“We’ve paid a lot of attention to what they call sound attenuation so you won’t get that echoing,” Newman said. 

To demonstrate this, he clapped his hands together firmly and the noise didn’t travel. 

“It dampens a conversation right in front of you,” he said. 

A friend of his who was once an engineer in Nashville and ran concert sound there has helped Newman with the technical side of things. 

There are an assortment of lighting options for the room, as well as color lighting for the stage area. The red curtains around the stage were once used at Four Rivers Cultural Center. Newman purchased those along with dozens of chairs for seating. 

In addition to the art studio, there also is an art gallery which features paintings by Newman’s wife and a group of her friends who paint with her there every week. On one of the walls in that room is a story of how the Frosty Badger got its name. It explains how it is a blend of the couple’s “friendly banter” toward each other regarding their lack of knowledge about the Oregon coast, where they lived when they were fi rst married 7his included Newman belief that all the holes discovered while hiking belonged to badgers and his wife thinking the ocean mist was frost. 

Creating a courtyard, adding wood to the entrance

Creating a courtyard, adding wood to the entrance Overall, the renovation has included an extensive overhaul of the exterior and interior. New- > Continuation on page 18 > There is an art gallery inside the Frosty Badger, featuring artwork by his wife, Lisa, and several of her friends who regularly paint in her studio. Newman left this doorway as it was. 18 PROGRESS 2023 man said they replaced all the doors and windows and put on a brand new roof, but left the interior walls and partitions how they were and cleaned everything up. There is still some work to be done, including a space near the back that houses the original electrical panels. That area of the roof was particularly leaky and when trying to fi gure out what to do about it, his wife came up with the solution. “Lisa said, ‘Well, just cut it out. You’ve always wanted to have a courtyard, and you love those Spanish houses with courtyards.” He said the idea was “genius,” and went to work doing just that. “The dream is to bring a caterer or food truck and have an outdoor seating area with string lights underneath,” Newman said. Wood that was added to the exterior of the building near the front entrance was all reclaimed, Newman said, having been picked up from a house that was getting resided. Some remnants previous tenants can still be found inside. This includes the top component of what was once a belt-ran shaft that was part of an engine, a sound door, original wood in the kitchen, and decommissioned electrical switches that still have tape on them stating what they were for, such as “washer ringer feeder” or “tumblers mangle.” After the laundromat, the building was used as to house an assortment of endeavors, including a ceramics place, a space for Project Dove, classes for a boxing club, an air compressor repair shop and more. Inaugural event checked off, more underway When thinking about his neighbors and the demographic in the area, Newman said he will be looking for music that is “more Americana.” “The venue here is older, so there is a certain fragility, so it’s not a good venue for a punk band,”Newman said. “We are in a neighborhood so we’re not going to get crazy and loud here, it’s going to be more just like family music.” During an invite-only kickoff musical event, the newly renovated building was opened for a small concert for a few friends and family. Buddy Devore and the Faded Cowboys provided the music. Newman has been in touch with other artists, such as Ellen Jewell, Chris Smithers and Dave Alvin. The next booked event is Oct. 14 with Steve Fulton, of Boise, performing. This will be followed on Oct. 20 by Bart Budwig, a fairly well-known northwest artist who is the artist in residence at the OK Theater in Enterprise. There are a couple available dates for shows in August and September, but as of July 5 they hadn’t been fi lled yet. Newman’s hope is to eventually be able to piggyback on concerts that come through Boise or other nearby places, picking up artists to play in Ontario who are near or from the Boise area. The idea is that the Frosty Badger is a space for artists. “The impetus for this whole thing was creativity — to promote creativity,” Newman said. “Whether photography or whatever it is, you just gotta do it and it is not about being the best ever. It is about exercising that creative muscle, and I think we have to do more of that, and that’s what we want to support.”

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