Despite murmurs that post-pandemic normalcy is returning too quickly, Yamhill County’s arts and culture scene is gathering momentum, even in the face of rising daily COVID caseloads and the state’s indoor and outdoor mask mandate.
That said, the arts venues listed below are probably among the safest places you can visit. Every gallery owner and theater manager I know takes COVID and patron safety seriously. Give them a call if you have questions; they understand many people are still uncomfortable going out but nevertheless want to look at art, see plays, and support local businesses.
Besides, there’s some exciting stuff to see, and autumn is upon us. Fall means art, lots of it. So let’s do this.
Linfield University’s James F. Miller Fine Arts Center is open to the public after being shuttered for a year and a half. The 1,500-square-foot gallery has been closed since Linfield canceled a show early in 2020 by the Mexican multidisciplinary artist Lucia Torres before it could even open. But no worries; it’s open now. Torres touched down in McMinnville last week with her show Xiuhmekatl. Comprising about 30 pieces based on Nawi Ollin Teotl (movement of four energies) and part of a Mexican tradition called Tetzkatlipoka, the collection “connects the relationship between women, community, art, music, healing, identity, and cultural heritage,” according to the press materials. The show runs through Oct. 2.
A week later, head back to Linfield’s gallery for Theodore A. Harris: Art as a Social Praxis. The show opens Oct. 11, and Harris will attend the opening reception at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 to talk about his work. The show is dedicated to art historian David Craven. It doesn’t take much time on the artist’s website to understand that the gallery is swinging for the rafters in the post- (hopefully) pandemic world. The show runs through Nov. 21. For more information about the gallery, visit here.
For nearly four decades, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences has put out the call for entries for its annual Art About Agriculture competition. This year, the canvas was quite large: OSU asked “for art that felt inclusive to all expressions of agriculture in artistry; this year’s theme is simply art about agriculture.” And that’s what you’ll find through Sept. 30 in the Chehalem Cultural Center’s Parrish Gallery in Newberg. The diversity of work is remarkable: acrylic and oil painting, watercolor, drawing, mixed media, collage, printmaking, photography, textile art, sculpture, glass.
Down the hall in the Central Gallery, Portland artist Yolanda Valdés-Rementería has a wonderful solo exhibition of paintings “inspired by unity, empathy, and celebrating our diversity.” Explorando Nuestra Humanidad (Exploring Our Humanity) syncs nicely with the nearby agriculture exhibit. Many of the vibrant images are of people working on farms. The range of work is exciting; if you didn’t know all the work was by a single artist, you might think that several are represented. Don’t miss it; it closes Sept. 30.
Back in McMinnville, the artist-owned Currents Gallery is gearing up for its next show, running Oct. 11 to Nov. 14. The Art of Printmaking by Phyllice Bradner features the handmade work of one of the gallery’s seven owner/partners. She’s been making woodblock prints and etchings for more than 20 years, and some of her best (including finished pieces used for a children’s book) are included in the show. Bradner will speak at an opening reception, 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 16.
On the theater scene, Gallery Theater in McMinnville has three more performances of Jane Martin’s play Talking With…, directed by Claire Snyder, this weekend. It’s a series of monologues by three women playing idiosyncratic characters, including a fundamentalist snake handler, an ex-rodeo rider, and an actor who will go to any length to get a job. More information and tickets available here.
Finally, we circle back to Linfield University for the first play of the 2021-22 season.
Ground Zero: 2021, an original set of four performance-art installations, free and open to the public (face coverings required), from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, rain or shine, in the Ford Hall courtyard. Arrive anytime, move at your own pace. Each installation reflects on some aspect of the legacy of 9/11: Borders, State Secrets, Terror, and Surveillance. The piece was conceived and directed by guest director Justine Nakase and collectively devised and curated by Linfield students Rachel Goines, Ellie Gossett, and David Gray, who is also stage manager.