In a state like Oregon, where art classes are absent from a stunning portion of public schools, art nonprofits fill the gaps, tasked with cultivating communities and our youth in culture beyond football season. These art bodies are typically scrappy and chronically underfunded. To survive a decade is commendable. But to endure 40 years? That is nearing immortality. Lane Arts Council, Lane County’s arts nonprofit stalwart seated in Eugene, celebrates its ruby anniversary 6 to 9 pm Friday, Sept. 16, at the International Cafes at Fifth Street Public Market. RSVP to 541-485-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Songbird Halie Loren will serenade, along with pianist Torrey Newhart and electric violinist Cullen Vance. Look for the art installation by Kate Ali and Robin Seloover along with art activities with teaching artist Jessilyn Brinkerhoff. Lane Arts Council continues to lead the ever-growing First Friday ArtWalk downtown, host workshops for artists, dole out grants to artists and arts organizations, and has pioneered a program that brings art back to Lane County middle schools ( see “The Creative Class” at bit.ly/2ctW9pz).
With the University of Oregon gearing up to welcome back students, the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is rolling out some seriously interesting art happenings. On the same day, Sept. 17, the museum opens two exhibits that will likely draw very different audiences — Gay Outlaw Mutable Object and Art of the Athlete V — but perhaps not for reasons you think.
Gay Outlaw is not a sexuality provocateur (her full given name really is Mary Gay Outlaw), but rather a wry manipulator of materials, a conceptual trickster working in mediums as wide ranging as photography and caramelized sugar. See if you can decipher the joke or the wink in the San Francisco artist’s conceptual work in the museum’s Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Gallery.
Art of the Athlete V is an annual exhibit that keeps growing in popularity, says JSMA communications manager Debbie Williamson. As the name hints, UO athletes are the artists and this year has a particularly apropos theme: studying, and creating self-portraits that respond to, one of the top contemporary painters in the world — Kehinde Wiley. Wiley is known for his large-scale Baroque-referencing paintings of black communities today around the world.
This exhibit links to another at JSMA, Between the World and Me: Contemporary African American Artist Respond to Ta-Nehisi Coates, which runs until March and features an original Wiley piece, a feat for this sleepy college town. Look for EW’s deeper dive into the work of Wiley and the Between the World and Me exhibit in our annual visual arts issue, ArtsHound, out in October.