Arts

Ontario's Four Rivers Cultural Center

OPB | Aug. 13, 2012 5 p.m. | Updated: Aug. 14, 2012 12:39 a.m.

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The Four Rivers Cultural Center is on one of the main drags in Ontario, Oregon, just across the Snake River from Idaho. The Center brings exhibits and performances to Ontario and a number of surrounding towns on both sides of the border.

One of those Oregon towns is Nyssa — the town where Cultural Center Director Matt Stringer grew up, but left after high school. In fact, Stringer never dreamed he’d be back, having lived happily in New York for 28 years. He was a high-powered record label marketing executive for many of those years, though he says he never lost touch with his roots, coming back home for visits twice a year.

Go See It!

Art of José Guadalupé Posada

When the director job opened up at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, Stringer says, he jumped at the chance for a whole new life. He says he has space — an incredible feeling. He’s living in a house for the first time since he left his parents’ home. He has his own garden and his own flowers.

Stringer has been directing the Cultural Center for just over a year now, and he says the response from the community is overwhelmingly positive. People stop him on the street to thank him for bringing this show or that artist to town. In almost every case, Stringer says he makes the shows available for free to area schools for special assemblies. Nevertheless, money is tight and every new project involves a tireless search for sponsors. That’s not his favorite part of the job, but he says it’s getting better.

OPB’s Think Out Loud visited the center while in Ontario for the taping of Our Town. Stringer gave us a tour of the center and its latest exhibit featuring the prints of Mexican artist José Guadalupé Posada.

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