An artistic smorgasbord at Chehalem Cultural Center

The fall Art Harvest tour is canceled, but the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists who usually participate is displayed in Newberg

This year’s Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County has, predictably, been shut down by COVID-19. Ordinarily, the October event runs two weekends and allows the public access to dozens of artists’ studios, but for obvious reasons (in many cases the studio is located in the artist’s home) that aspect of the tour will need to wait until 2021, at least.

The Parrish Gallery of the Chehalem Cultural Center is showing the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists through Sept. 19. Photo by: David Bates
The Parrish Gallery of the Chehalem Cultural Center is showing the work of more than 40 Yamhill County artists through Sept. 19. Photo by: David Bates

However, in recent years, the Chehalem Cultural Center has piggybacked on the event, offering a pre-tour preview of participating artists’ work in the flagship Parrish Gallery, and mercifully that hasn’t changed. The exhibition, curated by the center’s director of arts programs, Carissa Burkett, opened earlier this month with work by more than 40 artists from McMinnville, Dayton, Newberg, Amity, Dundee, Carlton, and Yamhill.

It’s an artistic smorgasbord: oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, charcoal, claywork, bronze and steel sculpture, mixed media, jewelry, and more. Just eyeballing the list, there are many familiar names, but also a few new ones and artists who haven’t participated in a few years. Most of the work is for sale; given that the holiday shopping season is likely to be weird, you might consider starting here. To be sure, you will not find a more stress-free shopping venue. Also, in the lobby you’ll find work by local students who were mentored by Art Harvest pros.

B.J.B. Hickerson is represented in the virtual Art Harvest Studio Tour show with acrylic paintings (top) "Time Dimension" and "Through the Broken Door.” Photo by: David Bates
B.J.B. Hickerson is represented in the “Selections From Art Studios of Yamhill County” show with acrylic paintings “Time Dimension” (top) and “Through the Broken Door.” Photo by: David Bates

The Art Harvest Studio Tour is (in normal times) organized by the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County. The Chehalem show runs through Sept. 19. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Masks or protective face-coverings are required indoors.

MEANWHILE, ON THE SECOND FLOOR they have something a little different. Artist and radical educator Vo Vo has displayed hand-woven pieces of wool, silk, cotton, and indigo, adding splashes of color to the chaotic, unfinished theater space that even without an artistic installation offers plenty of rambling eye candy. The space is not open to the public, but curator Burkett said that limited group tours will be available. (The exhibit is also available online.)

Vo is an artist who brings the perspective of an “immigrant settler colonizer living on unceded land of the Multnomah band of the Chinook tribe.” The following description of the installation Settle/Settler is from the show’s notes:

“This work communicates parasitic, submissive and dominant relationships in an architecture of ruin and abandon. Made during a global pandemic, and weeks of unrest due to historic and current racial injustice, the artist seeks to pose questions regarding the mental gymnastics and physical negotiations we make during this time. Moments of comfort and respite exist in a larger context of transition and question. Viewers are tempted to touch and interact, however correct etiquette is unclear during a time where close contact and touch are antithesis to public safety. Additionally, gatherings in the form of protest are both necessary and at odds with quarantining, creating interpersonal tensions and interrogation around how we can and cannot take action.”

Small, socially distanced viewings of the installation will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. Reservations must be made here. In conjunction with the exhibit, Vo will offer a free online workshop, Anti-Racist Trauma Informed Care, from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 29.

Two hand-woven pieces by Vo Vo in the upstairs exhibitn “Settle/Settler,” at the Chehalem Cultural Center display a Western flair. Photo by: David Bates
Two hand-woven pieces by Vo Vo in the “Settle/Settler” exhibit in the Chehalem Cultural Center reflect a Western feel. Photo by: David Bates

IN McMINNVILLE, THE THEATER IS CLOSED but the show is going on. After several weeks of private online Zoom play readings, some local actors expressed interest in taking the show on the road, so to speak. So Gallery Theater will do literally that for the next three Thursday evenings, seating people on a temporarily barricaded Ford Street in front of the downtown theater for music, monologues, and play readings by the Pandemic Players of Gallery Theater. Gallery manager Seth Renne and longtime director, board member, and actor Carolyn McCloskey (who directed the first and last show Gallery had on stage in February) took the lead with putting it all together; local arts patron Ronni Lacroute is the show’s sponsor.

Here’s the schedule:

Aug. 13 – Out of Quarantine Cabaret!: The songs are TBA, but the singers are not: Beth Sobo Turk, Seth Renne, Lance Nuttman, Richard Pratt, Kathleen Van De Veere, Noah Miller, Tegan Johnson, and Daphne Riddle will be among the soloists.

Aug. 20 – Actors Showcase: Medea, Horseshoe Bend, The Bickersons, and The Lives of the Great Waitresses are among the short plays that will be read/performed in the courtyard outside the theater.  

Aug. 27 – The Importance of Being Earnest: Players will perform a readers’ theater edition of Oscar Wilde’s popular comedy.

Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Email info@gallerytheater.org with your name, number in your party, and the performance date.

FINALLY, A BOOK: The “New” shelf at the McMinnville Public Library afforded a pleasant surprise a couple of weeks ago. Public Art: McMinnville features photos by Charles Hillestad of easily accessible public art around the city. There’s way more than you’d think. Everyone knows about the sculpture of Ben Franklin on a bench downtown at the corner of Third and Davis (and locals know how to recognize out-of-towners who pose for a selfie with him, but never mind). But unless you live on the west side of town, you might not know about the sculptures that grace the new roundabouts where Hill Road intersects with Baker Creek Road and with Wallace Road a little farther south. McMinnville’s streets, plazas, and sidewalks are full of art; this book will show you where to find it.

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This story is supported in part by a grant from the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Oregon Community Foundation.

About the author

David Bates is an award-winning Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and is currently a freelance writer whose clients have included the McMinnville News-RegisterOregon Wine Press, and Indulge, a food-oriented publication. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a long history of involvement in the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players of Oregon and other theaters in Oregon.

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