The Arts Center cultivates local participation with The Howland Community Open Exhibit

Brian Nguyen Arts & Entertainment Contributor

The Howland Community Open Exhibit held at The Arts Center, is featuring 224 different pieces of artwork, contributed by locals regardless of their age or skill level.

From paintings, photographs, and mixed media; all sorts of style and diverse forms of art are presented and can be seen according to Claire Harden, senior in applied visual arts.

“There are artists from all levels; young kids to adults, beginners to professional. It’s a range of varieties of ages and techniques. It’s fun to see a bunch of variety of art in one place,” Harden said.

 Harden volunteered to help hang the work in the exhibition along with her undergraduate art group known as Montage Art Collective. The title of her art is called “An Afternoon Delight,” that was crafted with oil paint in three 15 hour sessions.

“It focuses on the lives of women in contemporary time,” Harden said.

Another student, Kaitlyn Carr senior, in applied visual arts has her work featured called “The Birthday Party” which was created out of paper collage that took three hours to assemble. “Go visit the show. There is such a wide spread in the types of art in this exhibition, everyone is sure to find something that interests them,” Carr said.

Currently in its 32 year, Howland Community Open Exhibit is The Arts Center’s longest running and most popular show, according to executive directors Cynthia Spencer.

“We only have so much wall space and as you can see they are pretty darn full,” Spencer said.

Curator of the exhibit, Hester Coucke, thinks that the gallery helps provide accessible art for everyone in the Linn and Benton counties.

“That’s why this exhibit celebrates the art made in our community from local talent big and small. It’s to get all of us together,” Coucke said.

Three awards will be handed out at the reception on March 17. The People’s Choice Award is determined by the amount of sticky notes anonymously placed on the artwork by visitors of the gallery. The winner will have a picture of their work on the promotional card for the following year. The Pegasus Presentation Award winner will receive a gift certificate and The Curator’s Choice winner receives recognition.

To be able to put on this event, Spencer enlisted sponsors and utilized the funding of Ruth and Jim Howland, community members who have had a long history of engagement with many organizations that strive to better the city of Corvallis.

“This exhibit was named after them because they are so significant due to their support and leadership,” Spencer said. “It was a group effort with Hester (Coucke), the exhibit committee, our sponsor, the contribution from this community. We’re all very thankful for everyone.”

The exhibit will run until April 8, but the last day for voting ends on March 16 and the winner will be announced and rewarded at the reception on March 17 from 4 to 8 p.m at the Corvallis Arts Walk.

“If we had more art in our lives everyone would be a lot better, so we are always looking for the OSU community to come down and join us. The art here is always inspiring and worth the time,” Spencer said.

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