Now Playing:

Radio

Arts | State of Wonder

Eclipse Of The Arts: 'State Of Wonder' Travels The Path Of Totality


State of Wonder's April Baer and Aaron Scott reporting live from Suttle Lodge in Sisters, Oregon.

State of Wonder's April Baer and Aaron Scott reporting live from Suttle Lodge in Sisters, Oregon.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

This week “State of Wonder” traveled across the solar eclipse’s path of totality, from Newport to the Ochoco National Forest and many places in between for a once-in-a-lifetime artistic and cosmic journey. This is the documentary we put together of our road trip. We also put together a travel journal with our daily check-ins on Think Out Loud.


Many people are charging large amounts of money for things such as parking during the Oregon eclipse.

Many people are charging large amounts of money for things such as parking during the Oregon eclipse.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Day 1: The Coast 

Monday morning we headed to the coast, where the shadow of the moon will make its first landfall. In Newport, the county’s emergency manager told us the eclipse is a big dress rehearsal for something truly catastrophic, like an earthquake. We met Kay Wyatt, a seismologist and amateur astronomer who chose the site to build her retirement home (and personal observatory) years ago to be in the path of this eclipse. While we visited, we saw “Hawks on the Highway: Prints from the Crow’s Shadow Institute,” at Newport Visual Arts Center - check it out before Sept. 3.


Curator Julia Bradshaw describes artwork in the eclipse-inspired "Totality" exhibit at the Fairbanks Gallery of Art to OPB's Aaron Scott in Corvallis, Oregon.

Curator Julia Bradshaw describes artwork in the eclipse-inspired "Totality" exhibit at the Fairbanks Gallery of Art to OPB's Aaron Scott in Corvallis, Oregon.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Day 2: The Willamette Valley — 5:42

We hopped over the Coast Range to Oregon State University in Corvallis, where we saw a dazzling exhibit at OSU’s Fairbanks Gallery called “Totality” and spoke with the show’s curator, Julia Bradshaw. With us at the exhibition was poet and professor Quo-Li Driskill, who’s leading a workshop called “Northstar: Poetics of the Spheres to Write Ourselves Home,” which centers people of color and LGBTQ voices and connects celestial events and storytelling across cultures and traditions. You can find our full conversation with Bradshaw and Driskill, as well as Driskill’s full poem, here.

We also spoke with one of Oregon’s premier astro-photographers, Tom Carrico, about the dazzling images he contributed to the “Totality” exhibit.


Band frontman Ryan Sollee performing at Suttle Lodge in Sisters.

Band frontman Ryan Sollee performing at Suttle Lodge in Sisters.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Musical Interlude: The Builders and the Butchers’ Ryan Sollee — 15:41

Suttle Lodge is hosting a who’s who of Portland musicians this weekend for the Funk’s Solar Obscuration Celebration. It runs all weekend and is free to the public.

Ryan Sollee, the frontman of the Builders and the Butchers, was kind enough to play us the song “Shine in the Light,” from their latest album, “The Spark,” in the forest behind Suttle’s cabins.


Rows of tents await Solarfest campers in Madras, Oregon.

Rows of tents await Solarfest campers in Madras, Oregon.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Day 3: Central Oregon — 20:39

We made it to ground zero! On Wednesday, we visited the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Madras, where food trucks were rolling in and the high school football team was setting up tents for Solarfest. Sandy Forman of the Jefferson County Tourism Group — along with two friends — is coordinating the event. We also stopped by Warm Springs to meet KWSO announcer, bead artist, and all-around great person Marge Kalama.

A sample of Marge Kalama's beadwork.

A sample of Marge Kalama's beadwork.

April Baer/OPB


Stretching it out at the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie.

Stretching it out at the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Day 4: Big Summit Prairie — 28:03

Following colorfully painted RVs loaded down with gear and bikes and hula hoops, we weren’t quite sure we’d make it to Big Summit Prairie for the Oregon Eclipse Festival in the Ochoco Mountains. Making the most of the 35-mile backup of standstill traffic leading up to the gate, thousands of festival-goers brought the party to the highway. Once inside the festival gates, we explored what felt like a sprawling magical wonderland, and we followed a few visitors as they engaged with the many interactive art exhibits. We also spoke with Chief Delbert Black Fox Pomani of the Dakota Sioux Tribe, from the Crow Creek Agency in South Dakota, who was staying in the 1Nation Earth Camp.


Portland father and his sons fishing for Kokanee in Suttle Lake in Sisters, Oregon.

Portland father and his sons fishing for Kokanee in Suttle Lake in Sisters, Oregon.

Elayna Yussen/OPB

Day 5: The Cascades — 36:39

We might have found our eclipse happy place at historic Suttle Lodge near Sisters. It’s gorgeous at the lake — the sky’s pure blue despite several fires burning nearby. The peace and tranquility here are all the more surprising since staff are preparing for as many as 5,000 day trippers coming in for a free eclipse music festival this weekend, delightfully titled Funk’s Obscuration Celebration. The Funk in the celebration is Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who curated a lineup that’s a who’s who of Portland indie rock bands, from glam phenom Kyle Craft to the captivating folk of the  to the great soul singer Ural Thomas. 

You know who was kind enough to play us a song in her cabin (delightfully labeled ‘Rustic Cabin #7’)? The hard-driving garage rocker Sallie Ford. She played “Unraveling from her new album, Soul Sick.

Photos from "State of Wonder's" journey along the 2017 solar eclipse's path of totality.

More State of Wonder

More OPB

Follow State of Wonder


Related Content