Making a living as a full-time guitar picker is a real challenge. But years ago, that’s what Thad Beckman decided he wanted to do. He started playing guitar when he was 11 or 12 and did so off and on for years. After a stint in the Air Force, this native Oregonian began traveling around the country, playing mostly solo gigs. He finally landed in Austin, Texas where he got serious about his song writing and achieved some success. But success meant lots of performing and that took its toll. Burnout brought him back to Oregon, and it’s where he keeps coming back between tours. OREGON ART BEAT finds out how Beckman makes it all work and watches him play lead guitar for one of America’s great songwriters. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, May 19 at 8pm.

Andrea Benson is an amazing encaustic artist. She combines structure and improvisation, and a Zen-like approach to the creative process, to produce detailed figures that draw the eye to move around her pieces. Normally it isn’t possible to paint in such detail with wax. How does she do it? Benson let’s ART BEAT in on some of her secrets.

Melanie Ooi’s art doesn’t last forever. Skin is her canvas and henna is her paint. Ooi, who can be found at Portland’s Saturday Market practicing her craft, says the ancient art of henna tattooing is a fun, non-committal expression that gradually fads over weeks. Her designs are classic and contemporary – she says a natural extension of the pencil and line drawings she loved to do as a child.

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OREGON ART BEAT, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Emmy-Award winning local arts series, is in its 12th season. ART BEAT profiles Northwest artists, musicians and artisans — from an operatic baritone to a bit-and-spur craftsman to everything in between. The program airs Thursdays at 8pm and Sundays at 1am and 6pm. In the Mountain Time Zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9pm Thursdays and repeats at 7pm on Sundays. Funding for OREGON ART BEAT is provided in part by James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Kinsman Foundation. More information is available online at

About OPB

OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in broadcasting to more than 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Recognized as a national leader in public broadcasting, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most used and most supported public broadcasting services in the country with more than 120,000 contributors.