Yoko Ono is still spreading the love.
The widow of Beatles legend John Lennon and a pop culture icon and avant-garde artist in her own right has been taking an exhibition of her husband's art work around the globe for two decades, charging little or no admission and giving any proceeds to local charities.
This weekend, the show arrives in Healdsburg with the beneficiary the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
It is part of Ono's desire to share Lennon's vision of peace and togetherness.
"If it was just about my having exhibits of his art, I might not still be doing that," Ono said by phone from London. "It's always been a lot more than that. John's legacy has always been about more than that."
The exhibit — about 100 limited-edition lithographs, serigraphs and copper etchings — is shown less than a dozen times a year, popping up in hotel ballrooms, converted warehouses and empty retail spaces. Today through Sunday, it will be at the Paul Mahder Gallery, which is set to open this summer in the Quonset hut space on Healdsburg Avenue. Admission is free though donations are encouraged to help raise money for the food bank.
"Redwood Empire is so important to Sonoma County," said Ono. "This is exactly the kind of organization that John would be proud to support. This is why we do this. For community."
Ono, who turned 81 earlier this year, said the response to the exhibit has been gratifying.
"John was an artist first, from the time he was a young man," she said. "It is a wonderful thing to see how much joy it has brought so many people."
The idea of having the show in Healdsburg was first broached by local Jaime Finch, who works with Legacy Productions, the company that handles the traveling tour of Lennon's art.
About three weeks ago, Finch was taking Legacy executive producer Larry Schwartz on a walking tour of the town when they spotted the then-vacant Quonset hut. Inside, the gallery owner was doing his own renovations.
"It was karma we happened to see Paul refinishing the floors," said Napa resident Rudy Siegal, a producer with Legacy.
Mahder agreed to host the show practically on the spot, and the group sprang into action.
"People say the best things in life are in your backyard and in this case, it was absolutely true," said Finch.
<i>You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.</i>