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Rogue Gallery & Art Center announces Tribute to Eugene Bennett

Eugene Bennett, Founder of the Rogue Gallery & Art Center

Eugene Bennett, Founder of the Rogue Gallery & Art Center

Friday, April 22

Please join us at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23. S. Central Ave in Medford, for a tribute to the founder of the Rogue Gallery & Art Center and lifelong advocate of the arts in southern Oregon. Lobby opens at 6:00 pm, theater at 6:30 pm. Tribute begins at 7pm, with a reception to follow at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center.

An exhibition of Eugene’s art and work by Eugene Bennett Scholarship Recipients will be on display April 22 – 30.

Editor’s Note: We would like to express our personal sorrow over the loss of Eugene Bennett, a giant of the arts in the Rogue Valley who encouraged us to press on to create the Southern Oregon Artists Resource in the Fall of 2009. We met him at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center’s 50th Birthday celebration and enjoyed his humor during numerous lively phone conversations. We last saw him at the 2010 annual exhibit of the Artists Workshop at the US Hotel in Jacksonville, and it was not long after this that we heard of his passing.

A mutual friend who knew Eugene much longer than we did told us that he grew up here in the Rogue Valley and left to earn his degree at the Art Institute of Chicago. Life took him on to Europe, where his career began to take off. Mr. Bennett could easily have remained either in Europe or Chicago and taken advantage of the benefits of living and working in such well-known centers of art and culture, but he chose instead to return home and undertake the task of establishing the arts as a viable community in Southern Oregon. We’ll learn more about how he accomplished this at RG&AC’s tribute, but for now suffice it to say that we all have Eugene Bennett to thank for the vibrant cultural atmosphere we enjoy here today. He will always be a hero to us, and remembered with great fondness. Life well lived, Eugene! Thank you for all you did for the arts in Southern Oregon!

Eugene Bennett at the 2010 Art Jubilee

Eugene Bennett at the 2010 Art Jubilee, pictured with Jacksonville artists Cheryl D. Garcia (left) and Mae Wygant (right) and Art Matters! editor/creator of SOAR, Hannah West.

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