Arts

Corvallis' Arts Center Celebrates Milestone with New Exhibit

OPB | Dec. 6, 2012 7 a.m. | Updated: April 3, 2013 4:30 p.m.

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The Arts Center in Corvallis is gearing up for a major milestone in 2013: their 50th anniversary.

To kick off the yearlong celebration, Gallery Curator Hester Coucke has created an exhibit that tells the story of The Arts Center’s role in the artistic life of the Corvallis community over the past 50 years.

For REDUX: Art @ 50, Coucke gathered together 50 works that have been shown at the center, representing each decade from the 1960s to today.

It took some detective work to put together.

The Arts Center is an exhibit space and does not have its own collection, so Coucke had to research and track down enough pieces to tell the story. Some came from the artists themselves while other pieces had to be located in the collections of past patrons who purchased them at the time of the exhibits.

“I have been at the Center for a while, but not for 50 years,” says Coucke. “There was quite a bit of time before my time. So we had to find those [early] pieces of artwork.”

She went back into the organization’s records to identify the people who might own works from the early exhibits. She put an announcement about the project in the local paper, read meeting notes to find the names of early organizers and patrons, and visited homes to view the works and take photos.

Go See It

REDUX: Art @ 50

  • The Arts Center, 700 SW Madison Avenue, Corvallis
  • 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
  • November 24 - December 21, 2012
  • Visit exhibit website

“I wish I had had more time available to do that work, but it was a lot of fun to do,” says Coucke. “I tried to find artwork from people that had been important during those 50 years.”

The Arts Center was originally founded as a space where local artists could exhibit their work and view the work of others. Over the years it has grown into a regional arts organization that runs a variety of programs in hospitals, schools and with at-risk youth in penitentiaries, as well as summer camps and community art classes. They also bring art to the rural communities around Corvallis with programs such as “Art in Rural Storefronts,” a new exhibit of contemporary art installations opening this month in Philomath and Sweet Home.

“The Arts Center now goes out to the region as opposed to expecting everyone to come to us,” says Hester Coucke. “Although everyone would be welcome [to visit],” she adds with a smile.

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