Sean Andries

Spring awakenings in Yamhill County

The pandemic thaw continues, with a lecture Trystan Reese, music, visual art, and a camillia fest

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included a reference to a lecture by Dread Scott at Linfield University. That lecture, however, is not open to the public. A press release by Linfield was incorrect.

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It’s not exactly a party yet, but Yamhill County’s long pandemic thaw continues. Intriguing events coming this week and later this spring include a chance to fire up your own raku in Willamina and a virtual lecture by LGBTQ+ educator Trystan Reese. Let’s begin with the raku, then take the rest in chronological order.

EAST CREEK IS A COMMUNITY ART STUDIO and retreat on 20 forested acres in the Coast Range outside Willamina with a 40-foot anagama wood-fired kiln. Artist/host/owner Joe Robinson has filled the 2021 calendar with a wide range of workshops and camps, from beginner friendly to a family weekend to an advanced, five-day intensive. Robinson has been part of the East Creek community for 15 years and owned the property for four. He has an MFA in Applied Craft + Design from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Oregon College of Art and Craft. Tuition is $140, plus $30 for materials. Check the website for details and COVID protocols, or email Robinson at  joe@eastcreekart.org

Mezzo soprano Julie Cross (left) will sing works by Pauline Garcia Viardot on March 25 at Linfield University.
Mezzo-soprano Julie Cross (left) sings works by Pauline Garcia Viardot (1831-1910) in a virtual recital March 25.

WOMEN’S HISTORY month at Linfield University means an opportunity to hear A Woman of Genius: The Life and Music of Pauline Garcia Viardot. The virtual recital at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, by mezzo-soprano Julie Cross and pianist Susan McDaniel honors the 200th birth anniversary of “one of the greatest divas and overlooked composers of the 19th century.” Check here for details and the Zoom link. Also, keep an eye on the Linfield arts and culture calendar for upcoming theater productions and podcasts, previously covered here.

LGBTQ+ educator and speaker Trystan Reese will lecture March 31 on Linfield University's YouTube channel.
LGBTQ+ educator and speaker Trystan Reese will lecture March 31 on Linfield University’s YouTube channel.

INTERNATIONAL TRANSGENDER DAY OF Visibility will be marked by Linfield University with a free and open-to-the-public lecture by Portland-based LGBTQ+ educator and speaker Trystan Reese, streaming live on the university’s YouTube Channel at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 31. Reese, a transgender man, appeared on the national stage four years ago when he went viral as “the pregnant man.” Reese will detail his experience as an activist in the fight for LGBTQ equality over the past two decades.

CURRENTS GALLERY IN DOWNTOWN McMinnville celebrates its 16th birthday next month with a  Sweet 16 Show featuring work in a wide variety of mediums by Kathleen Buck, Sharon Cook, Phyllice Bradner, Claudia Herber, Ann Durley, Ilsa Perse, and Marlene Eichner. The show runs April 13-May 16. Check the website for days and hours, which are subject to change, email currents.gallery@gmail.com or call 503-435-1316.

THE CHEHALEM CULTURAL CENTER is back in the live music business. The  Spring Boxed Show series kicked off last week with Sherry Alves and George Colligan, and subsequent concerts (with limited, socially distanced seating in the Grand Ballroom) will include the Noah Simpson Quartet on March 26, Carissa Burkett & Friends on April 23 and the Jason Okamoto Duo on May 21. Shows start at 7 p.m., and $25 tickets are available through the website. Masks required.

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Vision 2020: Sean Andries and Carissa Burkett

Leaders of Newberg's Chehalem Cultural Center look forward to more performing arts, celebrating diversity, and exploring culture through a new culinary center

The Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg would be a remarkable resource even in the culturally rich neighborhoods of Portland. That it happens to be in rural Yamhill County serves as an inspiration to any community that seeks to create space for the arts.

Sean Andries, the center’s director, has been at the cultural center for two years following previous roles with Portland Center Stage and the Circus Project. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in theater and arts administration and a PTP Certificate from the Dell’Arte School. Carissa Burkett, curator and director of arts programs, also has worked at the Chehalem center for a little more than two years. She received her BA in studio art from Azusa Pacific University and her MFA in visual arts from Vermont College of Fine Art.


VISION 2020: TWENTY VIEWS ON OREGON ARTS


The center is housed in a sprawling, two-story brick building just north of Newberg’s city library. Originally a school built in 1935 as a Works Progress Administration project, the building is owned by the Chehalem Park & Recreation District. The nonprofit cultural center is responsible for everything inside, including several visual art galleries and exhibition halls that have featured some stunning exhibitions over the past couple of years. There also are studios and classrooms for arts classes, clay work, and music recording; a 5,200-square-foot ballroom; and a kitchen/culinary arts studio. More is in the works, including a 250-seat theater. 

Carissa Burkett and Sean Andries are excited about the Chehalem Cultural Center’s new Cox Family Culinary Enrichment Center as an avenue to explore art and culture. “So much of our culture is wrapped up in the food we eat and the people we share it with,” Andries says.
Carissa Burkett and Sean Andries are excited about the Chehalem Cultural Center’s new Cox Family Culinary Enrichment Center as an avenue to explore art and culture. “So much of our culture is wrapped up in the food we eat and the people we share it with,” Andries says.

How would you characterize the general state of artistic and cultural life in Newberg and Yamhill County?

Burkett: Throughout the two years that I have been working at the CCC, I’ve seen exponential growth in the ways that the community engages with and is impacted by the center. 2020 will be the 10th year that the center has been running, and as with any organization, we spent a substantial amount of time establishing ourselves in the community, defining who we are and what it is that we do, and then trying to get the word out. In the past two years, our youth and adult art classes have almost doubled both in what we offer and in students signing up. The quantity and caliber of visual art exhibitions has grown and the engagement with these exhibits has taken off. Folks are excited about what is happening and there seems to be a significant impact, more than ever before.

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