Washougal Art & Music Festival

News & Notes: Lake Oswego’s big arts bash

The 61st annual Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts brings a feast of art and music to town. Plus: Portland's 18th Dolly Parton Hoot Night celebrates the pop icon and defies the naysayers.


A colorful "Imagination Menagerie" cat created by a student (and signed, possibly, with a self-portrait).

"Cat-ouflage," painting by artist Addie Boswell.
Top: A colorful “Imagination Menagerie” cat created by a student (and signed, possibly, with a self-portrait). Bottom: “Cat-ouflage,” adult artist Addie Boswell’s version of the same imagined scene.

What does an Oregon lakeside town do after it’s thrown 60 annual arts festivals? Throw a 61st — and turn it over, at least in part, to the kids.

The Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, which began in 1963, is back in town this weekend, Friday-Sunday, June 21-23. Titled Imagine That!, it’ll spread out across the Lakewood Center for the Arts and the nearby George Rogers Park with a lively blend of art, music, and food.

And this year’s featured art exhibit is The Imagination Menagerie, which starts with schoolkids’ drawings of imaginary animals and then pairs them with works by adult artists inspired to make their own versions of what the kids created. It’s a cross-generational pairing that carries out in other ways, too, with kids’ creative stations, performances by Missoula Children’s Theatre of Robin Hood, and, at the Lakewood Center, an exhibition by 10 student artists offering their works for sale for the first time as professionals.

Music at the arts festival: LaRhonda Steele (left) and Jacquie Roar.

About a hundred artists, in disciplines as varied as glass, fiber, printmaking, sculpture, photography, painting, mixed media and more, will have booths in George Rogers Park, creating a kind of art fair within the festival. See information on the various art exhibits (most of the artworks are available to buy) here.

And there’ll be plenty of music spread out over the three days, from Portland country honky-tonkers Robert Henry & the Repeaters and Oregon country singer-songwriter Jacquie Roar, finalist in season 24 of The Voice, to Oregon standouts such as Norman Sylvester, 3 Leg Torso, LaRhonda Steele, Stew Dodge, Lisa Mann, Joni Harms, and the Portland Vanguard Big Band. See the full music schedule here.


All Classical Radio James Depreist

The several visual arts offerings include a juried exhibit at the Lakewood Center, an “all star” show of 13 invited artists who were past award winners in the festival’s big Open Show, and an exhibit in collaboration with the group Open Hearts Big Dreams of works on Ethiopian subjects, to be made into illustrations for a book that will be distributed in Ethiopia.

Admission to the festival is free.

18th annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night

Country queen Dolly Parton. Photo courtesy of Siren Nation.
Country queen Dolly Parton. Photo courtesy of Siren Nation.

Believe it or not, Dolly Parton has been getting raked over the coals lately from pulpits and the pages of The Federalist for spreading a “false gospel” and “condoning immoral sexual behavior,” apparently because she’s friendly with LGBTQ+ people, and quite possibly because she’s sent out tens of thousands of free books to kids across the United States to help get them excited about reading — and who knows what kind of sinful ideas might come out of that?

Portland’s Siren Nation, which promotes women in the arts, is having none of that — and neither, for that matter, is ArtsWatch. When it comes to pop-culture icons, it’s tough to find one more likable than Dolly, who simply oozes good humor and good will. If only for the mini-revolution in her movie comedy 9 to 5 with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman we would be favorably in her debt, and of course there’s much more than that, including songs such as Coat of Many Colors and Jolene.

All of which is to note that this Saturday, June 22, is Portland’s 18th annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night, presented by Siren Nation at the Alberta Rose Theatre. The idea is simple and effective: Gather a group of good Portland area woman musicians to pay tribute to Dolly by singing a bunch of her songs and generally having a good time. This year’s musical celebrants include Ezza Rose, Alexa Wiley, Tara Velarde, Rose Gerber, The Waysiders, and Shorty and the Mustangs.

A portion of every ticket sale, by the way, goes to help support the Willamina Public Library, in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range, in honor of Dolly’s longstanding support of reading and literacy in rural areas. Simply shocking!

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."


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