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Falling for art in Yamhill County

From the annual Art Harvest Studio Tour to metal and fiber arts exhibits, a double handful of autumn gallery and studio shows to catch in Yamhill wine country.


I’ve never entirely understood the confluence of autumn and art as a marketing tool, which has for most of my lifetime manifested as “Fall Arts!” on magazine covers as Labor Day approaches (and in what’s left of arts journalism on the printed page of newspapers) but there does seem to be synergy there. Maybe culture watchers noticed something that was already a thing, or maybe artists noticed that the press was noticing and ramped up their game.

Regardless, it’s happening. Yamhill County’s visual arts calendar is exploding — Indigenous work, painting, sculpture, fabric arts, etc. It’s everywhere. Between now and mid-December, no fewer than a dozen shows — including the reliably epic Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County, with 50-plus artists this year — can be found. Whether you’re just looking to be inspired and/or to buy, there’s surely something for you. Let us count the ways.


“Enfoldment,” by Jennifer Bencharsky, one of the many artists on this year’s Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County. Bencharsky does wool, silk, and exotic fiber art: “Wet-felting and Nuno-felting are techniques of creating fabric using a few natural
fibers at a time, using water, pressure and agitation, shrinking.”

ART HARVEST STUDIO TOUR: This self-guided tour sponsored by the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County doesn’t begin until the first two weekends of October, but it’s doing something a bit different this fall that merits attention now: Every weekend in September, you can check out all the artists at the Rose of Third Street, the restored space upstairs in the old Elks Lodge, 516 North Third Street in downtown McMinnville.

Similar region-centric exhibitions in advance of the main event will be held at the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce in Newberg, 112 N. Garfield Street #3, where you’ll find work by 21 artists from East Yamhill County; and at the Land & Sea Gallery in Amity, 418 Trade Street. Catalogs and $10 tour buttons for this year’s tour will be available at these and other locations, including The Merri Artist in McMinnville and Pacific Frame.

Fifty-six artists are on board for this year’s tour, which is set for Oct. 7-8 and 13-15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both weekends. You’ll find work in just about every medium imaginable: oil and watercolor, acrylic, bronze, copper, steel, glass, stone, pastels, charcoal and much more. Check the Art Harvest Studio Tour website for all the details.


Benjamin Cahoon’s “The Fates: Trillium Vessel”; wood fired stoneware. The piece is one of more than fifty in the show “Watering My Stone Garden,” which runs through Sept. 28 at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg.

CHEHALEM CULTURAL CENTER: The metaphor for two exhibitions at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg is stone. Through Sept. 28, find Benjamin Cahoon’s Watering My Stone Garden in the Central Gallery, a ceramics show “born as a response to my last exhibition titled In The Mourning; a graveyard made to my closeted self.” The Parrish Gallery features The Stone Path, a collection of Indigenous art curated by Art in Oregon and featuring the work of Jeremy Red Star Wolf, Ka’ila Farrell Smith, Vanessa Enos, Natalie Ball, Wendy Red Star, Marie Watt, Lillian Pitt, and Demian DineYazhi, also through Sept. 28. The Yamhill County Artist Showcase, featuring juried work by both adult and youth artists, opens Oct. 3 and runs through Dec. 22 throughout the building.

“Ghosts in the Machine 008,” 2019, by Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Northern Paiute. Lithium top soil, acrylics, aerosols, graphite on birch wood panel. Courtesy of the artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland. The piece is featured in the show “The Stone Path,” through Sept. 28 at the Chehalem Cultural Center.


“Blame It on Art: Creative Mentorships at Outside the Frame,” a new show at Linfield Gallery in McMinnville, features visual art, mixed media and video.

LINFIELD GALLERY: In McMinnville, Linfield University’s art gallery roars into fall with Blame It on Art: Creative Mentorship at Outside the Frame, a unique collaboration with the Portland-based nonprofit Outside the Frame, which works with homeless youth, many of whom are BiPOC, LGBTQ+ or have a disability. It’s a terrific collection of multimedia work, installation and visual art by OTF’s mentors. Plan to spend some time, there are films to watch. The gallery on the southwest side of campus is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and noon-5 p.m. on Sundays; admission is free. The show runs through Oct. 6., and we’ll have an in-depth piece about it in the next week or two.


“Shadow Dance,” by Tangie Pape-Belmore, acrylic and mixed media on wrapped canvas, 60 x 48 inches; in the exhibit “Water, Stone & Steel” at Art Elements in Newberg.

ART ELEMENTS GALLERY: Water, Stone & Steel, comprising sculptural work by Rand-Scot-Smithey and abstract painting by Tangie Pape-Belmore, runs through Oct. 21 at the Newberg gallery, featuring a wondrous world of textures through intriguing combinations of cement, steel, wood, and canvas. 604 East First Street in downtown Newberg; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, call 503-487-6141 or visit online.


Gallery view of the photography exhibit “100% Kanekalon” at George Fox University in Newberg.

MINTHORNE GALLERY: Currently in George Fox University’s main gallery in the Hoover Academic Building you’ll find 100% Kanekalon, an exhibition of photography by Cleveland, Ohio artist Amber N. Ford, who will be giving a talk Monday, Sept. 11, at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, 6-7 p.m. Next up is Pendleton/Salishan artist Lorie Baxter, whose Natural Wonders: A Progression of Paintings appears at the Minthorne Oct. 23-Dec. 15; her artist talk at the CCC is Oct. 23, 6-7 p.m.

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CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF GRAND RONDE: The Chachalu Tribal Museum and Cultural Center a few miles west of Willamina is currently showing My Father’s Father’s Sister: Our Ancestor Shimkhin, a celebration of Oregon’s queer Indigenous history, with the focus “the respected 19th-century Atfalati Kalapuya healer Shimkhin (pronounced “Shim-hen” or “Shum-hin”) and highlighting contemporary Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer contributions to our communities.” Runs through Nov. 4, 2023; you’ll find them at 8720 Grand Ronde Road, Grand Ronde, OR 97347. For more information, call 503-879-2226.


Dress, by Judilee Fitzhugh, a textile artisan who specializes in natural plant dyes and couture sewing. A tour of duty in Japan with the U.S. Navy led to a profound Japanese influence and a lifelong affection for indigo and plant fibers. At Currents Gallery, McMinnville.

CURRENTS GALLERY: The artist-owned gallery has opened its 2023 Fiber Arts Show, with a grand opening scheduled for noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. The show runs through Oct. 1. Find it at 532 N.E. Third Street in downtown McMinnville. For more information, call 503-435-1316.


“Great Outdoors Night Sky,” watercolor, at Andy Kerr’s Land & Sea gallery in McMinnville. Kerr also operates a second gallery in downtown Amity.

ANDY KERR’S CREATION STUDIO & ART GALLERY: Yamhill County artist Andy Kerr paints and makes books, prints and jewelry. You can find his work in two locations: In McMinnville 448 N.E. Third Street, upstairs on the mezzanine; and at 418 Trade Street in Amity. For more information, call or text 503-310-5480.


“Coins of Gold,” by McMinnville artist Erin Hanson; oil painting.

ERIN HANSON GALLERY: If you’ve never seen this sprawling gallery in McMinnville’s industrial park, put this on your “to do” list. A good day to do that would be Saturday, Nov. 11, for Hanson’s annual petite collection release, 2-6 p.m. There will be food, art, music and (because this is wine country) wine. Find it at 1805 N.E. Colvin Court in McMinnville.


A sampling of work by McMinnville jewelry maker Maggie Fromme Bowman. The show will be Saturday,  Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in McMinnville.

METAL ARTS SHOW: This sprawling show was thrown together originally last December on a lark by McMinnville jewelry maker Maggie Fromme Bowman, and it landed so sure-footedly and was so well-attended that an encore became an inevitability. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center, 11275 S.W. Durham Lane, McMinnville. The Dead Band plays 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Live forge demonstrations, too! Admission is $5, or five cans for the local food bank.


A complete guide to Yamhill County art galleries can be found at the Visit McMinnville blog, where I occasionally write.

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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