The Hult Center’s much-loved blackberry curtain says goodbye on April 8 in its last formal bow. After hanging in the Silva Concert Hall for 35 years, the hand-printed curtain, which depicts a cloudy Oregon sky over blackberry bushes, is due to be replaced because of wear and water damage.
The city still doesn’t know what’s going to happen to the curtain after it’s taken down.
Sarah-Kate Sharkey, resource development and communications manager for the city of Eugene, said the curtain “is very much an institution at the Hult Center and a very beloved piece.”
It is so beloved that the Hult’s seats, promotional literature and ushers’ uniforms all feature the curtain’s color scheme.
But it’s possible the curtain could find a new life like the famous PDX carpet. The Hult could follow this model and send swatches of the old curtain to nonprofits and other organizations across town to sell for fundraising.
Ultimately it’s up to the original artists, Margaret Matson and Molly Favour, to decide the fate of the hand-printed art, Sharkey says. “For all of our public art projects, we place a high value on the voice of the artist in determining the future of that piece,” she said.
Formerly Eugene residents, Matson and Favour now live in Southern California but will be back in Eugene this weekend to say goodbye to their work. They will give a free public talk about the curtain at 3 pm Saturday, April 8, in the Silva.
The two artists will also take a final public bow with the curtain during the world premiere of Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen at 7:30 pm that same day.
“I never really thought about the theater being absent of the curtain, seemingly completing the magic context: a romantic container,” Matson said. “I will hope that there will be the opportunity in the future for a replacement that can bring the same quality of whimsy and elegance to such a special space.”
For now the city plans to replace it with a plain house curtain. No date has been set for the old curtain’s removal.