Oregon Cultural Trust

Coast calendar: Here’s to an arty new year

Art exhibits and author readings are among events getting 2020 off to an inspiring start.


The first Saturday of 2020 starts with several events in Lincoln County, including two openings at the Newport Visual Arts Center. At 2 p.m., the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts hosts a First Saturday opening reception for the 11 artists chosen from the recent 2019 PushPin Show for the 2020 Mayors’ Show. There’ll be comments at 3 p.m. and the opportunity to schmooze until 5 p.m.

Winning artists include Linda Aguirre (miniature dioramas), Haley Dean (watercolor still lifes), Denise DeMarie (fiber wall sculptures), Graece Gabriel (photography), Sallie Inman (acrylic on wood panels), Susan Jones (woven reed sculptures), Herb Kateley (photography), Bill Posner (photography), Ben Soeby (mixed media on wood), Emy Syrop (gouache and acrylic on paper and canvas), and Jeff Syrop (watercolor and gouache on paper).

Art by Ben Soeby is among the work included in the Mayors’ Show opening Saturday in the Newport Visual Arts Center.

“Being selected for the Mayors’ Show highlights the VAC’s ability to inspire artists,” Jeff Syrop said in a press release. “The inclusiveness of the PushPin Show really jumpstarts artists’ creativity and the Mayors’ Show is an extension of that energy. It’s definitely an honor to be included.”

The Mayors’ Show was started in 2016 by former Newport Mayor — and painter — Sandra Roumagoux and the Oregon Council for the Arts to give more exposure to PushPin Show artists and to build connections between the arts community and city employees and elected officials.

“I happened upon the Mayors’ Show last winter and considered the possibility of being selected for a future year,” participating artist Susan Jones said in a press release. “That singular thought strengthened my commitment to art and inspired the choices I made while weaving my sculptures over the past year. I am excited and encouraged to be honored in this way by my community. We are fortunate to have this kind of support.”

The show will be up in the Runyan Gallery through Jan. 26.

Seal Rock artist Helen Nighthawk’s work in on display in the Upstairs Gallery of the Newport Visual Arts Center.

Also at the center, an exhibit by Seal Rock Artist Helen Nighthawk opens Saturday in the Upstairs Gallery with a public reception from 2 to 5 p.m.


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Turning features acrylic and ink paintings on paper and plywood, and wood sculptures. A visual artist and poet, Nighthawk has been painting for more than 50 years. She has been involved with the Nye Beach Banner Project and been a featured artist at libraries around the county. She also worked as a scenic artist for films, television shows, and public and private productions throughout Seattle. Her credits include collaborating with directors David Lynch and Robert Altman. Her show will be on display through Feb. 1.  

AT THE SITKA CENTER FOR ART and Ecology, Saturday is the Resident Show & Tell. Visual artists Lanny DeVuono and Genevieve Robertson and writers-in-residence Maxim Loskutoff and Lydia Conklin will present what they’ve been working on since their arrival in October. Doors open at 12:30 p.m, with presentations starting at 1 p.m. in the Boyden Studio. The event is free and open to the public.

THE CANNON BEACH HISTORY CENTER AND MUSEUM’S winter lecture series kicks off at 4 p.m. Jan. 16 with a lecture by author and historian John Dodge. He’ll talk about his latest book, “A Deadly Wind: The 1962 Columbus Day Storm.”

Dodge was a columnist, editorial page writer, and investigative reporter for The Olympian prior to retiring in 2015. The book is a nonfiction account of the strongest windstorm in recorded West Coast history. “The storm killed dozens, injured hundreds, damaged more than 50,000 homes and leveled enough trees to build a million homes,” according to press materials. “The unrivaled cyclone gave birth to the Asian log export market and the Oregon wine industry.”

In A Deadly Wind, Dodge weaves a compelling story “spiced with human drama, Cold War implications, Pacific Northwest history and the science of severe weather.” Copies of the best-selling book, published by Oregon State University press, will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, and the doors will be locked at 4:15 p.m., so arrive early.

Florida author Leigh Camacho Rourks reads Jan. 18 in Manzanita.

MANZANITA WRITERS’ SERIES welcomes author Leigh Camacho Rourks to read from her debut short story collection, Moon Trees and Other Orphans, at 4 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Hoffman Center for the Arts. Admission is $7.

The book is described as a gritty collection of short stories set along the Gulf Coast, focusing on themes of desperation, loneliness, and love. Filled with hard-living characters who are deeply lonely, it tracks the ways they fight for survival, often making very bad decisions as they go. Populated by gun-toting women, ex-cons, desperate teens, and other outsiders, it is a collection about what life is like in hard places, both beautiful and dangerous.”


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Rourks lives and works in Florida, where she teaches English and humanities at Beacon College. She has received the St. Lawrence Book Award, the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and the Robert Watson Literary Review Prize. Her fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in journals including Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, TriQuarterly, December Magazine, and Greensboro Review.

ACTOR/SPEAKER MEGAN COLE is the featured guest Jan.19 at the Willamette Writers Coast Chapter. Cole, who developed the Storytime for Grownups series, will discuss how she selects material, how she moves it from the page to spoken performance, and how her guiding principle is that of all good writers: Know Your Audience. 

Actor Megan Cole will speak at the Jan. 19 Willamette Writers meeting in Newport.

Besides appearing on stage, Cole has been a guest-star on TV shows including Seinfeld, ER, various Star Treks, The Practice, Judging Amy, and Las Vegas.

She originated the leading role in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama WIT in 1995, for which she received the L.A. Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Performance. She also tours with The Wisdom of WIT, her solo version of the play.

The free workshop takes place at 2 p.m. in the Newport Public Library.

CAPPING THE MONTH ON JAN. 25 is a gyotaku workshop with instructor Bruce Koike at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport. The popular workshop provides a hands-on introduction to the Japanese technique of fish printing called gyotaku.

After an orientation and demonstration, participants will make monochrome prints under Koike’s supervision. The goal is for everyone to produce a one-of-a-kind work of art suitable for framing.


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Workshop fees include rice paper, acrylic paints, brushes, and the specimens to be printed. Participants should bring an open mind and enthusiasm to try something new. The final portion of the workshop will focus on the crucial stage: painting eyes on the fish. The workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $90 per person with a $10 discount for Lincoln County Historical Society members. Space is limited to 12 people. Sign up at the Maritime Museum, or by calling the Historical Society at (541) 265-7509.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Lori Tobias is a journalist of many years, and was a staff writer for The Oregonian for more than a decade, and a columnist and features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. Her memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast” was published in 2020 by Oregon State University press. She is also the author of the novel Wander, winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for literary fiction and a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards for new fiction. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pup Gus.


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