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Au Naturel People’s Choice Award Announced

Image of Clatsop Community College "Au Naturel" People's Choice Award winning painting, Prey, 44”x30”  Watercolor, by Alexandra Becker-Black (Portland, OR USA)

44”x30” Watercolor
Alexandra Becker-Black
(Portland, OR USA)

Voters selected Alexandra Becker-Black’s watercolor painting entitled Prey for the People’s Choice Award in this year’s Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century exhibit at Clatsop Community College.

Throughout the duration of the show, which opened on January 23rd and was on display through March 20th, visitors were invited to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award.

In her artist statement, Becker-Black explains that she  “aspires to capture an ethereal beauty that transcends reality by using the body itself as an emotional medium,” and “finds beauty to be subtle, simple, elegant, and pure, stripped down to reveal the bare essence of what is true.”

Becker-Black studied art at both PNCA and OCAC in Portland as well as overseas in Italy, earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2007, and is currently based in Portland.  For additional information about the artist and her work, visit

Artists who are interested in submitting work for the 2015 Au Naturel competition should contact Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472 or kshauckatclatsopccdotedu  (kshauckatclatsopccdotedu)  .


News from the Oregon Arts Commission

March 19, 2014
Editor’s note: This is a time of great change for the Oregon Arts Commission. We asked Chair Julie Vigeland to share her thoughts on key opportunities and challenges moving forward.
The Commissioners gathered for a photo during last week’s quarterly meeting in Ashland.  Pictured (left to right): Commissioners Libby Tower, vice chair, Eugene; Julie Vigeland, chair, Portland; Alyssa Dawamana Macy, Simnasho; Christopher Acebo, Ashland; Avantika Bawa, Portland. Not Pictured:  Josie Mendoza, Lake Oswego. Photo Andy Atkinson.

Change can be challenging, but it also presents opportunities for introspection and revitalization. Over the past few months we have spent time looking at the work we do and coming up with more efficient ways to do it. We want to ensure that we are making the most of the resources we have to best serve the field. Similarly to many of the organizations we work with, it’s important to occasionally rethink operations.

We also are having conversations about how we can play a stronger role in advocating for the arts around the state. We are committed to being visible and engaged.

As we move forward, we will invite a discussion of the Arts Commission’s role to advance the arts in Oregon. We will undertake a statewide planning process soon to identify strategies for continued strengthening of the arts. Everyone we work with will be encouraged to participate. The process will be formalized once the new executive director is in place.

We want to serve you. We want to hear your voices.

Julie Vigeland, Chair
Oregon Arts Commission
oregondotartscommatstatedotordotus  (oregondotartscommatstatedotordotus)  
Selection process begins for next executive director 

By the time the job posting closed Thursday, 43 people had applied to become the next executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The applications are currently being reviewed by the state’s executive recruiter, and those that meet the job requirements will be shared with a screening panel made up of Cultural Trust board members Bob Speltz and Carole Morse; Arts Commissioners Julie Vigeland and Libby Tower; and Shannon Planchon, interim executive director. They will meet to identify an initial pool of five to eight candidates by the end of March.


The first round of interviews should be completed by mid-April, when two or three finalists will be identified and announced. The final interview process will include both internal and external stakeholder forums, as well as interviews with the Governor (or his representative), Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe, and executive session interviews with both the Cultural Trust board and the Arts Commission. The screening panel will then consult with McCabe, who should make the appointment decision and offer by early to mid-May.

Rosie Reyes. Photo Kobbi Blair.

Rosie Reyes wins second Poetry Out Loud state title

For the second year in a row, Rosie Reyes of Gresham’s Center for Advanced Learning is the Oregon Poetry Out Loud state champion.

Reyes, an 18-year-old senior, was one of nine regional finalists who competed in Saturday’s state Poetry Out Loud contest at Willamette University. She advances to the national Poetry Out Loud competition, scheduled for April 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C.


Maxwell Romprey and Rosie Reyes. Photo Kobbi Blair

Mike Chasar, a professor of English at Willamette University who served as a judge for the regional and state competitions, called Reyes’ reading of Alberto Rios’s “The Pomegranate and the Big Crowd” “spellbinding.” Read Chasar’s blog entry on the contest here.


Maxwell Romprey of West Salem High School was named Oregon’s runner up; if for any reason Reyes is unable to participate in the national competition, Romprey will represent Oregon.

Commissioners introduced to Ashland arts community
During the Arts Commission visit to Ashland last week for its quarterly meeting, the Commission hosted a community reception at the Ashland Springs Hotel to introduce its newest members. More than 50 local arts supporters attended, including Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland); Lyn Hennion, a former Oregon Cultural Trust board member; Lynne Butterworth, Ross Ragland Theater board chair, Klamath Falls; Cynthia Rider and Bill Rauch from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and Kim Hearon, a Cultural Tourism Grant panelist from the Rogue Gallery.
Commissioner Libby Tower (right) visits with Rep. Buckley. Photo Andy Atkinson
Commissioner Christopher Acebo (left) with Randy Bobst-McKay and Meagan Lauing DeNeui of “Jefferson Live.” Photo Andy Atkinson
Avantika Bawa (right) with Wanda Chin, a Career Opportunity Grant panelist from Ashland.  Photo Andy Atkinson

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Preview Exhibit of Selected Art at Old Town Framing

Clatsop Community College LogoOld Town Framing, 1287 Commercial Street in Astoria, will host a Preview Exhibit of selected artwork to be presented at the 2014 Arts & Experience Dinner and Auction to benefit Clatsop Community College. The exhibit opened at 5pm on March 8 as part of the Astoria 2nd Saturday Art Walk and continues through April 6. Viewers will be able to register and begin bidding on the works presented.


The 2014 Preview Exhibit features approximately 15 of the more than 60 artists who will be presented at the Arts & Experience Dinner and Auction on April 12 at the Astoria Golf & Country Club. Participating artists include, for example, Roger Dorband, Stirling Gorsuch, Carol Riley, Charles Schweigert, Gin Laughery, David Lee Myers, Neal Maine and Christi Payne. A wide range of media will be represented. In addition to stunning original artwork, the Auction highlights opportunities to participate in activities including classes, outdoor experiences, arts and cultural events and gourmet meals.


Tickets for the 2014 Arts & Experience Dinner and Auction are on sale now at 503-338-2306 for $75. Sponsorship opportunities also remain available.

LifeTrack Youth Center and Art Gallery Opens Tomorrow!!


LifeTrack Youth Center and Art Gallery March 1 2014 Grand Opening Announcement

2/24/14 News from the Oregon Art Commission

February 24, 2014
Executive Director search launched
Thank you to everyone who participated in our public survey to identify the needed attributes of the next executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. A public meeting was held on February 24, 2014 and the job posting was approved and adopted. The search is now open! Applications due by the end of the day on March 13.
For additional information on the requirements and desired attributes for the position please view the complete announcement.  This announcement can be found at the following website:

Celebrate poetry in our schools


Meet Breanna Ryder, a student at the Oregon School for the Deaf who won her school’s Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition last week. She moves on to one of three regional POL competitions, scheduled for March 8 in Ashland, Beaverton and Salem. The top three finishers from each regional event advance to the state finals, scheduled for March 14 in Salem; Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen will be one of the judges.
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students offered in collaboration with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public speaking skills while exploring the complexity of poetry. Close to 30 Oregon schools are participating this year.


Congratulations to Breanna and all our 2014 Poetry Out Loud champions! For a complete schedule of regional events, follow the link below and click on “Contest Details.”

Exploring the Leadership Path March 7

Exploring the Leadership Path is an interactive half-day conference hosted by the University of Oregon Arts & Administration Program, offering you the opportunity to hear from and engage with local arts and culture sector leaders. This interactive conference is designed to give you an intimate look at the leadership journey of prominent leaders making a difference in their organizations and communities.


Registration is required so please register now to secure your spot.
Poet Laureate
  Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen
Nominations sought for next poet laureate
Seeking “a bold and articulate voice for culture across the state,” the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Humanities and Oregon State Library jointly request nominations for Oregon’s next poet laureate. Paulann Petersen, who has served since 2010, completes her second term in April 2014. The nominating period runs through Feb. 28th.
You’re invited to conversations with funders
The Oregon Cultural Trust and its partners are convening CONVERSATIONS WITH FUNDERS: ARTS, HERITAGE AND HUMANITIES. These workshops will help you LEARN about grants, resources and services that could be of value to your organization, SHARE your ideas, needs and initiatives and CONNECT with other cultural organizations and efforts in your area. The workshops will take place throughout the state beginning Thursday, March 6 through Thursday, April 17, 2014. For specific locations, dates and times check the Cultural Trust’s web site beginning Thursday, February 27. New applicants are strongly encouraged to attend these free grant conversations.
Capacity building training and consultancy

A special two-year training and consultancy program, Capacity Building: Portland, is being offered beginning this Spring.   Arts and cultural organizations within a 50-mile radius of Portland and with operating budgets of $150,000+ are eligible to apply.  Ten organizations will be selected to participate in this intensive, hands-on program and will benefit from the expertise of senior staff of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center and a pool of seasoned advisors from across the United States.  There is no fee required if your organization is selected to participate.  However, each organization’s executive director, artistic director (or comparable staff member) and board chair (or senior board member) will be expected to attend each of the 5 seminars over the two-year period.  The first seminar is scheduled for Monday, April 28.  The remaining four dates will be scheduled at that time in consultation with the participant organizations.
Capacity Building:  Portland is supported by a funder-collective of the region’s foundations formed for this purpose:  Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Collins Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, The Oregon Community Foundation, and the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.  Their shared goal is in helping area organizations find new and better ways in which to support their respective missions to meet the cultural needs of our community.

Upcoming grant deadlines


Deadlines are rapidly approaching for two of the Commission’s grant programs. Applications for Art Acquisition Funding must be received by March 25; Arts Learning grant proposals are due by April 1 (note revised deadline); Career Opportunity applications are due by April 7.

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Cast Your Vote by March 18th!

We are asking the Arts Action Fund members to cast their vote on policies they wish to support. The outcome of this vote will direct the priorities, time, and resources of the Arts Action Fund for the next 12 months on the issues that matter most to you. The following three policies are being recommended to Arts Action Fund members for final adoption.

Cast Your Vote by March 17th!

We are asking the Arts Action Fund members to cast their vote on policies they wish to support. The outcome of this vote will direct the priorities, time, and resources of the Arts Action Fund for the next 12 months on the issues that matter most to you. The following three policies are being recommended to Arts Action Fund members for final adoption.

Music In Our Schools Month is in March!

Music In Our Schools Month in March highlights the importance of a comprehensive music education in schools.

The Art of Chocolate

 Enjoy the fine artwork of Oregon’s artisan chocolatiers in Ashland next weekend!

Choco header
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Greetings from Ashland! 

10th annual OREGON CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL is back in Ashland in just two weeks! Join us during the weekend of March 7-9! The festival is a great opportunity to explore Oregon chocolates, wine and beer, as well as meet our amazing artisan food producers and hear their stories. Get ready to sample, buy and learn about chocolate! Support local – support Oregon!
A percentage of the festival proceeds funds fours scholarships (two at the Southern Oregon University and two at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute).





To learn more view 2014 SCHEDULE and start planning your festival weekend.


Festival tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Hotel.


Festival official website. 

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See you on Friday, March 7th during the chocolate-themed First Friday Art Walk (5pm to 8pm). Stop by the hotel to view a chocolate sculpture by the Master Chocolatier, Jeff Shepherd of Lillie Belle Farms Handmade Chocolates. Jeff is building a life size guitar in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Fender Stratocastor!


See you at Ashland Springs Hotel during the weekend of March 7 and 9!

With any questions email: KarolinaatNeumanHotelGroupdotcom  (KarolinaatNeumanHotelGroupdotcom)  

chocolate nut bars
dark chocolate truffles with salt

CCC Visiting Artist Workshop: “Design and Figure Drawing”

Grace Benedict, originally from Canada, and now residing on the Gulf Coast, will visit Clatsop Community College to present a workshop entitled “Design and Figure Drawing” on March 7, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Clatsop Community College Art Center Drawing and Painting Studio, Room 112, 1799 Lexington in Astoria, OR. The workshop will overlap the timeframe of the Winter Term life drawing class, but limited spaces are available to the public for a fee of $25.  Please contact Kristin Shauck at 503-338-2472 for registration information and a materials list.

Selected by juror Clint Brown to exhibit in the 2013 Au Naturel exhibit, Benedict was chosen for a special workshop award. In addition to this workshop, RiverSea Gallery will exhibit recent drawings based on the figure that showcase Benedict’s color and design sensibility. Please join the artist for the gallery reception on Saturday March 8, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Grace Benedict, Self-Portrait with Ginkgo

Grace Benedict, Self-Portrait with Ginkgo

“Design and the Figure Drawing” will emphasize design principles which can be applied to understanding the underlying energy, structure and vision of any composition. Initial drawing exercises with the live model will lead into a sustained drawing which will explore and build a conception of space: observing, measuring and processing, making visual connections and generating a personal vision. Increasing creative awareness, which includes planning, is a key component to the workshop.  After the morning session, Benedict will share a brief presentation of drawings of figures within design frameworks and discuss how her work has evolved, both unconsciously and intentionally. During the final session of the hands-on workshop, participants will introduce a surprise element, yet continue to use the power of observation and interpretation to add new meaning to their original drawing. Benedict will challenge and encourage each person’s design strategies toward a successful integration and harmony of elements.  A variety of papers, drawing materials, both dry and wet, including color, are encouraged.
Grace Benedict has taught drawing for 35 years and is currently working as an artist in Ocean Springs, MS.  From 2002 to 2013 she served as the Foundations Drawing Coordinator in the Department of Art & Design in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  She holds a BFA degree from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada and an MFA from Tulane University, LA. As an emerging realist artist in the 80s she was a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth T. Greenshields grant. Her life drawings are spontaneous and undisguised, yet hold very conscious conceptions of the figure, the portrait and other thematic constructions.  In addition, she works on highly developed colored pencil drawings.  A focus on historical cemetery figures and statues was supported by an Individual Artist Grant (2005) from the Indiana Arts Commission. Benedict’s drawings have been juried into contemporary figurative national and international exhibitions. As a member of the co-operative gallery Artists Own in Lafayette, IN since 2003 Benedict’s work is widely collected.

Through her work, Grace will show how something that is commonplace can become part of a narrative incorporating new meaning. Ambiguous space as a modern concept – how the surface and the illusion work to create tension – holds the imagery together in a way that makes an impact in the viewer’s mind. “The creative process for me is grounded in realism working from direct observation.   Imagery includes the figure, life in the garden and landscape, pattern and references to myth.  A composition tends to grow, move in a different direction and knit itself together from some point: at the very beginning, in the middle or closer to the end. The history, tension, energy and play between the actual recorded image and what I impose from the repertoire of motifs in my imagination will gravitate toward a final “design” that provokes a response and impacts the viewer.” These combined ideas allow me to express myself as an individual artist in today’s world. Harmonic connections of drawing the figure and drawing from the natural world can be interpreted as an embodiment of self.