Paula Booth encourages people to walk through Western Oregon University’s art exhibits with the knowledge “nothing is expected of them when they do.”
Booth is the director of the Cannon Gallery of Art and oversees the exhibits in the Hamersly Library and the Werner University Center. She is also an assistant professor.
“Just come in and look,” Booth said. “Don’t worry if you understand the art or not. You don’t have to know anything about art to walk into an art gallery and feel welcome and inspired.”
The exhibits at the three WOU locations change for fall, winter and spring terms. The Cannon Gallery features national and international artists, Hamersly Library has local artists and Werner University Center is for student artists.
Booth said WOU is well-known for supporting and teaching the arts, including music, dance, theatre and visual arts. “We are fortunate to have top-notch art at Western Oregon University,” she added.
Booth said the galleries provide art student majors with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience that has helped them to find jobs at galleries and museums or study to earn a master’s degree.
“The students learn how to handle art, hang art and how to curate an art exhibit,” she said. “I have told the students I’m going home for the night and asked them to place the artwork around the gallery. We generally move it about 10 times before the pieces are in place, so they learn how to put together an exhibit.”
Christopher Mansayon in Library and Media Services said the Hamersly Library’s art exhibits provide an opportunity and a collaboration for new partnerships and allow the library to engage with the greater community in educational pursuits.
“A lot of the art we exhibit at the Hamersly Library comes from local sources with some kind of tie to the university community,” Mansayon said.
On Jan. 14, there was a “pop-up” art creation event in the library’s lobby to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Oregon’s ratification of the 19th amendment.
As WOU’s student, staff and faculty populations diversify, Mansayon said it is important that the library continues to provide an outlet for people to share their perspectives and experiences with others.
“For students, having the opportunity to showcase their own work is not only empowering but, depending on the content and nature, provides an outlet for those who experience it to share in some of that empowerment,” he said.
Admission is free to the art exhibits at the Cannon Gallery of Art, Hamersly Library and Werner University Center.
“There is always interesting to see as we try to get a variety of art, so it’s never the same,” she said.
Here’s what’s happening at each gallery:
WOU’s Cannon Gallery of Art in Campbell Hall presents Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts: Selections from the Permanent Collection. Booth said Crow’s Shadow began in 1992 on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
“It started as a project by a couple of artists on the reservation who saw a need to bring art to their community and for artists to have the materials and instruction that was meaningful,” she said. “It has since grown to be internationally known for its printmaking center.”
Crow Shadow serves people on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and surrounding communities. “There is an artist-in-residence program for the printmaking that is highly competitive. They have one of the nicest printmaking studios I have ever seen located in an old schoolhouse of St. Anthony’s Mission,” Booth said. “I chose to bring this exhibit featuring the artwork of 25 of Crow’s Shadow’s past artists-in-residence because I have always admired the work done by the artists.”
The upcoming Cannon Gallery of Art exhibits are:
- Jan. 8 to Feb. 7: Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts
- Feb. 19 to March 20: Fred Maurice Memorial Exhibition
- April 1 to April 24: Intisar Abioto, guest curator
- May 11 to May 26: 52nd annual Juried Student Exhibition
- June 3 to June 13: Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibit.
Hamersly Library currently showing are:
Bonnie Hull and Elizabeth Bauman: Pink Gesso/Black Gesso
This body of abstract paintings on paper is the result of two collaborations. In each series, the artists agreed to use the same paper size and the same color ground (the gesso surface on which the painting is made). The result is a colorful and vibrant series, sure to bring joy to the dark days of winter!
Dongna Cai: [she] A Story in Photograph of Five Visiting Scholars’
The exhibit portrays the lives of five female visiting scholars from China over the course of one year. The narrative is divided into five representative stages: arriving, registering, studying, enjoying and leaving. The subtle, sincere images of she open a direct window into the lived experiences of individual women whose time at WOU is characterized by a duality of the remarkable and the mundane. The current artist is Su Fei whose display is called Little Girl’s Diary. She teaches animation at Guangxi Arts Institute. Her digitally-illustrated Little Girl’s Diary weaves the story of a multigenerational family navigating life together.
The gallery is next to the bookstore and there is artwork throughout the building.