Art in the Valley

By Brian Egan

“Tree of Life” Brian Egan

A recent conversation at The Arts Center revolved around an interesting two-part question: Who is an artist and when is an artist considered a professional rather than a hobbyist? My research shows that there is no clear definition of who is an artist (unless you ask the IRS, of course). According to Marcel Duchamp, the artist defines art, and it seems true that artists today also define who and what they are. My own view is that an artist is a dreamer, a poet, a singer, or anyone who communicates their view of the world through the medium of their choice.

Here in the Mid-Willamette Valley we have a plethora of talented artists who gather together on a regular basis to share their knowledge with one another in guilds and other organized artists groups. This issue will begin a series of articles that tells the stories of some of the local guilds and the creative ways they promote their members.

The Mid-Willamette Woodworkers Guild was started in 1982 by seven professional woodworkers who would meet over beers to share techniques and tell stories of their successes and setbacks. They decided to turn these rough-hewn meetings into a more formal organization and 37 years later the guild is still going strong with over 30 members. The purpose of the guild is to promote high standards of craftsmanship in woodworking through public workshops, seminars and presentations. An important part of being a guild member is freely sharing knowledge with one another as well as with the next generation of woodworkers. Several members volunteer their time at local high school wood shops assisting the instructors in guiding students. Membership is not exclusive and open to all skill levels from novice to master. Meetings are held the third Monday evening of each month at a member’s shop or at an associated business location. Interested in joining? Visit

Art and Crafts intersect when the Guild presents it’s 36th Annual Exhibit of Fine Woodworking at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library from April 25th to 28th. Members will show their best pieces created over the last year. Woodworking students from Crescent Valley and Corvallis High Schools will also display their work at the exhibit. This is your opportunity to take measure of the incredible woodworking talents we have in our own backyard and vote for “Best in Show”.

Exhibit times: April 25, 26 & 27, 10am to 6pm, April 28th, 1pm to 3pm.
Reception: Come and meet the members on Friday, April 26th from 6pm to 8pm

Arts Center Exhibits for April and May
The Howland Community Open Exhibit continues at The Arts Center until April 18th with over 200 pieces of art representing all ages and skill levels. Year after year this is the most popular exhibit as it showcases the full range of artistic talent in our community.

Spring brings “An Iris Stands Tall – a Mother’s Journey, a Daughter’s Transition”, a solo exhibit of work by Annette Sabater about transgender identity. She uses art to express her feelings and understand her daughter’s changes.

Exhibit dates: April 26th through June 14th. Reception May 2nd
The Corvallis Art Walks take place April 18th and May 16th. Galleries, studios, arts/crafts stores and the occasional pop-up keep their doors open late to host an art related event or demonstration. Walking maps of the event can be picked up at any of the storefront members or downloaded from our website:

If you are in the Independence/Monmouth area check out River Gallery. Located at 184 S. Main Street on the historic Independence riverfront, River Gallery has been a destination for art lovers since 1998. A cooperative run by 13 partners, their focus has always been to provide a venue for an incredible number of talented Oregon artists. They have several juried shows throughout the year to give both emerging and established artists a chance to share their work. Their “Wild Women” show every January is not to be missed!

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