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February 2016 Oregon Arts Commission News

Jan. 29, 2016
NEA Chairman Jane Chu (front row, third from left) visited Milagro Theatre during her time in Oregon this month.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu visits Oregon
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu visited Oregon Jan. 19 and 20, hosted by the Oregon Arts Commission and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Chairman Chu spent the first day learning about NEA-funded projects at Portland Art Museum, NW Film Center, Milagro Theatre and Wisdom of the Elders.

She then joined Congresswoman Bonamici, a champion of arts-integrated education, for visits to Beaverton’s Highland Park Middle School and Hillsboro’s Quatama Elementary.

Both schools were recognized with a federal innOVATION STEAM Grant Award for their use of creativity to stimulate student learning.

The Chairman’s visit ended with a grants workshop at Oregon College of Art and Craft.

Chairman Chu (second from right) joined Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for a visit to Hillsboro’s awarding-winning Quatama Elementary School.
Tower succeeds Vigeland as Commission Chair

Libby Unthank Tower
Libby Unthank Tower, a Eugene graphic design and marketing professional in her second term on the Arts Commission, succeeded Julie Vigeland as Commission Chair on Jan. 1. Christopher Acebo, Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, is now Vice Chair and Julie serves as Immediate Past Chair.

Libby’s career spans public, private and non-profit sectors. Currently with Eugene’s Asbury Design, she previously managed marketing and public relations for the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division.
“I am full of gratitude and pride,” says Libby. “We have a newly completed strategic plan to provide guidance and move us forward with work and initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life for all Oregonians. Our future is bright.”

Julie, who led the Commission for three years, called chairing the Commission the capstone of her volunteer career in the arts.

“Nothing can compare to the view from a statewide perspective,” she says.
Christopher Acebo
Julie Vigeland
“What an amazing array of arts organizations we have in every corner of our expansive state. I only wish that each and every one of you reading this had the opportunity to learn about the richness of art throughout Oregon. It is breathtaking!
“We are so fortunate to have Libby Tower as our new chair,” Julie adds. “She is experienced and ready to lead us to the next level. The Arts Commission is in great hands!”
Save the date: 2016 Arts Summit Oct. 7 in Corvallis
Gather with arts leaders from around the state to connect, learn and share. The 2016 Oregon Arts Summit will be held Friday, Oct. 7, at the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis. Focused on both statewide and mid-Willamette Valley topics, the Summit will incorporate and showcase local artists and voices in arts leadership.
A welcome reception and networking opportunity will be offered the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 6, with a full day of meetings and networking Oct. 7.
A discounted room rate is available to Summit attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn, across the street from the LaSells Steward Center in Corvallis.
Reservations can be booked online

or by calling 541-752-5000.

Hilton Garden Inn
2016 Visual Arts/Design Fellows announced
June 12 & 13, 1987, 2015. Mixed media by Natalie Ball.
Natalie Ball, a Chiloquin-based artist working across media, is the 2016 recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission’s honorary Joan Shipley Award.

Ball leads a group of 13 Oregon artists selected from a pool of more than 160 applicants from 27 Oregon cities for the Arts Commission’s 2016 Individual Artist Fellowships. This year the Fellowships were offered for visual and design arts.

The 2016 fellowships, awarded to artists from Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and Chiloquin, support artists working in visual arts and design and include support for creative time.
The following visual artists were awarded 2016 fellowships:

Natalie Ball, Chiloquin (Joan Shipley Fellow); Fernanda D’Agostino, Portland;Laurie Danial, Portland;Tannaz Farsi, Eugene; Julie Green, Corvallis; Laura Heit, Portland; Michael Hensley, Portland; Aaron Flint Jamison, Portland; Jim Lommasson, Portland; Elizabeth Malaska, Portland; Brenna Murphy, Portland; Ronna Neuenschwander, Portland; and Blair Saxon-Hill, Portland.

Read the full release.


2016 Arts Build Communities grants announced

Thirty Oregon communities received a total of $190,000 in 2016 Arts Build Communities grants to address community needs through the arts.
Vacant downtown storefronts become celebrations of community in Corvallis; Fishtrap inspires 1,700 in Wallowa County to read Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” before engaging in discussions, events and activities about rural isolation and community; and, in Portland, Sisters of the Road will produce “On the Ground,” a short film exploring the history and root causes of homelessness in Portland.
Now in its 20th year, the Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences.

More than half of the 2016 awards went to communities outside of the Portland area.
Read the full release.
One funded project is The High Desert Museum’s upcoming “Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression,” where striking blanket columns will tell community stories. Photo by Marie Watts.
Statewide partners join new AFTA economic impact study
A new nationwide economic impact study led by Americans for the Arts launches this month. With help from nine statewide partners, the Arts Commission is sponsoring the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study 5 in Oregon, an effort to collect, measure and communicate data demonstrating the impact non-profit arts organizations have on the state’s economic vitality and Oregonians’ quality of life. This study supports the Commission’s Strategic Plan in utilizing research to measure and respond to the needs of the state’s citizens.

The study’s statewide partners will generate 11 separate studies covering a broad area of cities and counties throughout the state: Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Arts and Culture Alliance of Central Oregon; Oregon Coast Council for the Arts; Arts Council of Clatsop County; Arts and Culture Advisory Board of Corvallis; Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene/City of Eugene; Yamhill County Culture Coalition; Arts East (for NE Oregon); and the Regional Arts and Culture Council for the tri-county Portland metro region.

Please offer audience surveys at your organization’s events and fill out surveys when attending an arts event in those regions. It will help the arts in Oregon tell its story.
Arts Commission to visit Astoria in March
Arts Commissioners and staff will spend three days in Astoria March 16-18 for meetings and strengthening local connections.

The visit will begin with a noon brown-bag presentation at the Liberty Theatre on Wednesday, March 16, followed by an afternoon of informal meetings with local arts groups and individuals.

The Commission will hold a joint meeting with the Oregon Cultural Trust Board of Directors on Thursday, March 17, followed by a 5 p.m. open reception at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The Commission returns to the Liberty Theatre on Friday, March 18, for its quarterly meeting, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oregon Folklife Network offering traditional arts apprenticeships

The Oregon Folklife Network is now accepting applications for its

The program honors excellent master traditional artists and encourages culture keepers to apply with apprentices from their own communities, Tribes, cultural, religious or occupational group for $4,000 stipends.

Upcoming grant deadline

Applications for the Oregon Media Arts Fellowship are due by 5 p.m. on Monday. Feb. 1.

ANPF Women’s Invitational Winning Playwrights Announced

ANPF Women’s Invitational Winners Announced

Three outstanding plays by noted playwrights selected for presentation.
March 25-27, 2016 festival honors under-represented American playwrights.

Ashland New Plays Festival announces the winners of its ANPF Women’s Invitational. They are Martyna Majok for Cost of Living (formerly Ropes in the Well); Lauren Yee for King of the Yees; and grand prize winner Jiehae Park for Hannah and the Dread Gazebo.

The Women’s Invitational will be held March 25-27, 2016 in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Dramatic readings of each play will be presented in both matinee and evening performances at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

As an effort to highlight critically acclaimed but unproduced work by leading American playwrights, the Women’s Invitational received 30 works from which ten finalists were selected in blind readings. ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden and The Kilroys co-founder Laura Jacqmin, who chairs the festival, chose the winners.

Says Haden, “It was tremendously exciting reading the finalist plays. All of them were truly impressive. I am so excited by our three winners and can’t wait to share these new stories with our audiences. We all know that women are vastly under-represented in theatre today, and have been since the beginning. We want to do our part to change that inequity. The Women’s Invitational will be a meaningful step for us in that direction.”

Additionally, the week will include an opening reception hosted by Bill Rauch, artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF); and Parity, a roundtable discussion with Jacqmin, host playwright EM Lewis, and the winning playwrights, moderated by Dr. Lue Morgan Douthit, OSF’s director of literary development and dramaturgy. The roundtable is open to the public.

More information is available at

Au Naturel 2016 Exhibition Opens at CCC Royal Nebeker Art Gallery

CCC Celebrates the Tenth Anniversary of Au Naturel

The tenth annual international juried exhibit Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century will be on display from January 21 through March 10, 2016 at Clatsop Community College’s Royal Nebeker Gallery located at 1799 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, OR. Gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays by appointment only. A reception honoring the selected artists will be held on Thursday, January 28, at 6:00 pm.

Au Naturel 2016 Exhibition : Royal Nebeker, Gearhart, OR: Faster, Drawing/wash, 9.5” x 6.5”

Royal Nebeker, Gearhart, OR: Faster, Drawing/wash, 9.5” x 6.5”

The Au Naturel 2016 exhibition marks the competition’s tenth consecutive year and is being held in memory of Royal Nebeker, internationally renowned artist and beloved instructor who taught at Clatsop Community College for over 30 years and who served as the first juror for the competition. This year’s juror is Lisa Harris, the Director and Owner of Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle, which represents thirty Northwest and West Coast contemporary artists including Royal Nebeker. Harris is a founding member of the Seattle Art Dealers Association and a member of Art Table, the national organization of women in the visual arts.

Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a solo show award to be held during the 2016 – 2017 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. This reception is free and open to the public. The College also thanks the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Bridgewater Bistro, Erikson Floral Company, and the Ft. George Brewery for their support.

A No-Host Post-Reception party at the Bridgewater Bistro, 20 Basin St in Astoria, will immediately follow the reception.


This year, artists from 33 states plus the District of Columbia, as well as international submissions from Canada, Mexico, and Romania submitted nearly 500 images for consideration. The Au Naturel 2016 exhibition will represent 52 artists from 17 states plus the District of Columbia, in addition to international artists from Canada and Romania.


Juror Lisa Harris states, “I was very pleased to be asked to jury this exhibition, which allowed me to revel in subject matter that is less common at our gallery. It was challenging to narrow a field of more than 400 entries to just over 50. Often I did not include second or third works by artists I had already selected in favor of adding a different artist to the mix. In my ideal world, the final tally would have been slightly higher. I reviewed the submissions several times, over several days. Paring down and honing the selections has, I hope, resulted in a group of works that makes for a cohesive glimpse of this moment in time, and also highlights diverse approaches.”


Choosing artwork from among the hundreds of images is an extremely daunting task. Each year, a different juror is invited to select the work for the show, and each juror brings his or her own unique perspective and approach to the selection process.  “Rather than ‘jurying,’ I prefer to think of the process of reviewing as ‘curating,’” Harris explains.  “What will make for a dynamic exhibition that showcases different intent, voices, media and techniques while provoking a wide range of emotions in the viewer?   While ‘judging’ is involved, it’s less about what I find good or bad, and more about what I find interesting.”


Artists participating in the Au Naturel 2016 exhibition are drawn to the subject matter of the human form for a variety of reasons. Nick Reszetar of Milan, Michigan, believes that “the human figure is one of the most profound and challenging art forms an artist can choose to take on, as it is a complex subject in formal, psychological and conceptual terms, and is one of the most engaging forms for an audience to view.”

Portland artist Reed Clarke, also a part-time resident in Gearhart, has been invited for the sixth time to exhibit his work in the Au Naturel. While Clarke is attracted to the rigorous discipline that working with the human figure demands, he is also captivated by the very process of painting itself.   “Even though a painting may start with a face or a figure,” Clarke explains, “I’m soon lost in the actual process of painting: the interplay of color, line, volume, tone, value. Always, I’m trying to have the courage to paint over the early pleasing parts of a painting and arrive at something beyond what I thought was going to be the destination when I began – to let the process of painting have a say in the resolution that’s right for the specific painting I’m working on.”

Au Naturel 2016 Exhibition : Bruce Erikson, Maineville, OH; Music Pausing for Love, Oil, 11" x 14"

Bruce Erikson, Maineville, OH; Music Pausing for Love, Oil, 11″ x 14″

Juror Lisa Harris points out that “the inclusion of the nude as subject matter immediately places the artwork in the company of other au naturel works in the art historical continuum.”  Robert Bibler of Salem, Oregon is not only inspired by the artwork of the Old Masters but also by the art materials of centuries past.   “Renaissance space, allusions, and “quotations”—sometimes merely the choice of 16th c. drawing media—are presented ironically, symbolically, or paradoxically ‘in a post-modern context,’ as one critic put it discussing my drawings.”  In addition, both Bruce Erikson of Mainville, Ohio, and Laura Viola Preciado of Langley, Washington draw inspiration from art historical sources.  Erikson explains that the figure in his painting becomes “a vessel of experiences that is presented in an idealized and iconic fashion, informed by a love of art history.” Preciado’s painting entitled The Naked Toreador is a direct reference to Manet’s famous 19th century painting The Dead Toreador, which was in turn inspired by the work of the 17th century Spanish painter Velasquez.

Au Naturel 2016 Exhibition : Kerry Conboy, Monterey, CA; Au Naturel 4, Mixed media on plaster, 24" x 18"

Kerry Conboy, Monterey, CA; Au Naturel 4, Mixed media on plaster, 24″ x 18″


On the other hand, Kerry Conboy of Monterey, California, explores a very current issue with very contemporary materials.  The piece that he is exhibiting in the show is part of a series of pieces in which the artist is exploring “the way selfies turn a model into an artist, who then turns the model into a product.  I work primarily in spray paint on plastered canvas, referencing offset printing and graffiti.”


Au Naturel 2016 Exhibition : Juliette Loquidis, Cottage Grove OR; View Through, Cut photographs, cloth, acrylic and oil on canvas, 48" x 60"

Juliette Loquidis, Cottage Grove OR; View Through, Cut photographs, cloth, acrylic and oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″

Like Conboy, several other artists in the show are experimenting with unusual combinations of mixed media.  Juliette Loquidis of Cottage Grove, Oregon is “exploring the relationship of traditional painting practice and the use of ‘strips’ (cut photographs and cloth) as counterpoint, to say two or more things at once comprehensively, as in musical composition.”  Local artist Penny Treat of Long Beach, Washington, who has been invited to exhibit her work in the Au Naturel for the third time, will be exhibiting a piece that combines both painting and printmaking techniques together with her own unique process of layering a transparent hand-painted image on top of a colorful monotype.  “I don’t feel tied to one medium,” she explains.  “I enjoy drawing, painting and printmaking equally. Art and the human experience are inseparable.”


Portland artist Ben Rosenberg, who lives part time in Manzanita, will be exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the third consecutive year.  Rosenberg, who has taught the printmaking class at CCC multiple times and always encourages his students to experiment, enjoys exploring a wide variety of media in his own work.  “My natural instinct as an artist is to work like a scientist, collecting and investigating through a wide variety of media from drawing and painting to sculpture and filmmaking,” he reveals. “I surrender myself to new materials and use them in new ways.”


Numerous artists in this year’s show have expressed an interest in delving beneath the surface of the skin to explore the inner landscape of the human psyche.  Stephanie Fenner of Dundee, Michigan, describes her work as a “visual diary through which I explore the overlap of my fantasies and reality. I am hoping to convey the poeticism of romance, loss, and fleeting emotion. There is the overwhelming notion that everyone else knows what they’re doing with their life, and one is alone in their suffering. These moments, although momentary in reality, have a sense of permanence. The uncertainty of my own life seems solidified by the certainty of everyone else’s. It is in these insecurities that I wish to explore.”


Katie Genter of Kenosha, Wisconsin is “fascinated by how gender has become so tangled into how our society functions. Why are we uncomfortable when someone is not either or, and can there be beauty in both and neither? I am also interested in the abstract concepts of gender and vulnerability, and the many ways our views can manifest.”


Michael Reedy of Ann Arbor, Michigan, another artist who has exhibited in the Au Naturel multiple times, explains that in his most recent drawings, he has “revisited the timeless themes of life, death, and the human condition. This new interest in the expulsion and the fall of man has been paired with my prior leanings, which have long been rooted in fringe images of the body, medical illustration, ornamentation, dark comedy, and the uncanny. These inevitable aspects of existence bring to mind the most tragic, and most beautiful, images of the body. It is this transitional moment—full of both grace and pain—that I wish to prod and indulge.”

Further information about the 2016 exhibiting artists will be available online at the Au Naturel website after January 21st.

Direct inquiries to: Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472.

Arts Action Fund Goes On the Air in New Hampshire

Republican strategist Sarah Stewart appears on the “Girard at Large” radio show to talk about the GOP should embrace the arts

Mary Pat Christie Expresses Support for the Arts

The wife of New Jersey governor and Presidential candidate Chris Christie tells an Arts Action Fund member about her pro-arts actions as First Lady of the Garden State.

Caldera Honored at the White House

Dec. 29, 2015
Caldera Executive Director Tricia Snell (right) and youth representative Alena Nore (center) visit the White House Nov. 17 to accept an award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Caldera Honored at the White House with national award

Congratulations to Caldera, one of 12 national creative youth development organizations to receive the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Caldera Executive Director Tricia Snell and youth representative Alena Nore accepted the award at a Nov. 17 White House awards ceremony.

Caldera is the first Oregon organization to ever receive the award, the nation’s highest honor for creative youth programs. It recognizes the country’s best programs while highlighting the positive role that arts and humanities play in youth academic achievement, graduation rates and college enrollment.

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by the prestigious award, Caldera will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and build the long-term sustainability of the organization.
Former Arts Commission Chair Ron Paul passes

It was with heavy hearts the arts community learned of the passing of former Arts Commission Chair Ron Paul.

Ron was best-known as a chef and restaurateur, with the artistry and sustainability of food defining his professional identity. His work with the City of Portland engaged him at the intersection of politics and policy. As chief of staff to former Portland City Commissioner Charlie Hales, he helped shape plans to develop a year-round, food-focused Public Market. He also led the city’s lobbying for the creation of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Ron recently served as executive director of Portland’s forthcoming James Beard Public Market.
Ron Paul
Oregon’s White House tree features recycled ornaments

Another feather in Oregon’s environmental cap — It is the only state to have its President’s Park (White House) tree decorated with recycled garbage!Incredibly beautiful marine garbage, transformed into art by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, the founder of The Washed Ashore Project in Bandon.

Trees representing all 56 states and territories are annually displayed at the White House park and each year different artists are invited to create the ornaments.

Arts Commission on tour
The Arts Commission took a tour of Northwest Portland galleries, including the Elizabeth Leach Gallery (pictured), following its Dec. 4 meeting at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Pictured (left to right) are: Vice Chair Libby Tower; Public Art Coordinator Meagan Atiyeh; Commissioner Avantika Bawa; Community Art Coordinator Brian Wagner; Commissioner Christopher Acebo; Chair Julie Vigeland; Commissioner Anne Taylor; and Executive Director Brian Rogers.

Upcoming grant deadline


Applications for the Oregon Media Arts Fellowship are due by 5 p.m. on Monday. Feb. 1.

Top Eight Arts Policy Wins This Year

2015 was a huge year for the arts! From increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to a monumental education reform bill, arts and arts education policy have progressed immensely this past year. Take a look at the top eight arts policy wins arts advocates have achieved this year:
Arts education policy ENACTED
President Obama signing ESSA into law
Dedicated funding for arts education SECURED
New funding for the NEA
Key charitable giving tax provisions made PERMANENT
New opportunities for STEAM education APPROVED
STEAM advocates at the White House
Arts eligibility in Title I funding RETAINED
Afterschool programs PRESERVED
Image by Scott Cronan Photography
Airline carry-on rules for musical instruments FINALIZED

To learn more about what 2015 has meant for the arts, check out our blog post online.
Want to do more? Attend Arts Advocacy Day on March 7-8, 2016 and bring your voice to Capitol Hill! Learn more about this event and how to attend on our website Wishing you a happy New Year!

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Arts Action Fund Member Engages with John Kasich

Marilyn Hoffman asks the Ohio governor and Republican Presidential candidate about STEAM education and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

Great News From Capitol Hill!

We don’t get to say this often enough…there were some big wins for the arts last week from Congress.

Timeline: How Arts Education Won on Capitol Hill

It has been a long and winding road to the first major re-write of federal education law in nearly a decade. This Arts Action Fund graphic explains how STEM became STEAM.