(Above: A felt creation by Kyla Corbett is part of an exhibit at the Emerald Art Center)
Think back to 1957 — marvel vicariously at the antiquity of that date if you can’t remember it — and imagine a small group of artists getting together to form the Emerald Empire Art Association to give themselves and their peers a place to share their art with the community.
One of the goals from the association’s first days was to have its own permanent art center. Decades later, that has happened, in the form of the Emerald Art Center in the historic Gerlach Building at 500 Main St. in downtown Springfield, along with a thriving membership of more than 200 artists.
The center hosts new member exhibits monthly, along with an annual juried competition that attracts entries from all over the United States; workshops and exhibits by visiting artists; shows of work by student artists from the nearby Academy for Arts and Academics high school, also known as A3; and a multitude of workshops and classes, including free art classes for children ages 6 to 12 years.
The Emerald Art Center celebrates its accomplishments of the past 60 years with an open house celebration from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. The roster includes artist demonstrations, an interactive mask show of creations by center artists and live music:
1:30 p.m. — Jay Dancing Bear
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Paul Biondi and Gus Russell
5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. — Sue and Tom Hunnel
There will be a champagne toast at 6:30 p.m.
In the meantime, on June 9, the center will sponsor the monthly Second Friday Art Walk in downtown Springfield, starting at 5 p.m.
This month’s stops on the official guided tour, led by Niel Laudati, the city of Springfield’s community relations manager, starts at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center at 215 West C St. at 5 p.m., where fiber artists Joan Daley and Anne Daughtry have a show of quilted wall hangings and hand-knit blankets. Light refreshments, including wine and non-alcoholic beverages, will be served.
A shuttle will run from the activity center through downtown Springfield every 30 minutes until 7 p.m.
Additional stops on the guided tour will be:
Emerald Art Center — 500 Main St. Featured member artist Kyla Corbett shows “Wildlife in Wool.” the Jaqua Gallery has a show of “Faces,” interactive masks created by center members for the 60th anniversary celebration.
Wise Turtle Acupuncture — Upstairs at 500 Main St. Marjorie Templeton has a show called “Faces and Flowers.” Light refreshments.
City Hall Gallery — 225 Main St. The gallery wall has a show of abstract portraits by Christian Ives. The gallery cases feature assemblage sculpture by Julie Williams. Musician Robert Meade will perform. Light refreshments.
Springfield Museum — 590 Main St. “We Are Neighbors” is a photography collection by members of the Springfield-Eugene SURJ-CALC that celebrates immigrants as members of the community, plus a historical exhibit, “When Springfield was Young: Establishment and Development of the Historic Center” and a sale of handcrafts by local artists.
Memento Ink — 525 Main St. Paintings by Julie Coats.
Urban Lumber Company — 303 South Fifth St., No. 127 — Featured artist Seth San Filippo shows his hardwood furniture and wood- and steel-framed vintage tool art. Refreshments.
Besides the official guided tour, many other downtown Springfield locations will be open during the evening of June 9, with art exhibits of their own:
Tronson Gallery of Contemporary Art — 740 Main St. Architectural and other paintings by Justin Boggs.
Cascade Center for Spiritual Living — 741 Main St. “Mandala Paintings” by members of the Women’s Art Circle.
Hearts for Hospice — 444 Main St. Whimsical watercolors by Trish Randall, with Americana usic by Monroe Street and treats by cookie artist Paco Schiraldi.
100 Mile Bakery — 418 A St. Open to 6 p.m. with “An Air of Whimsy,” lighthearted characterizations of birds by Johnmichael Lahtinen.
Haven Home Garden and Gifts — 349 Main St. Work by craftsman Mark Tuttle. Refreshments.
Celeste Watch Company — 335 Main St. Handcrafted watch dials and straps.
331 Mosaic — 331 Main St. Work by in-house artists, with live music by the Willamette Valley Brass Quintet.
The Smith Factory — 326 Main St., Unit C. New original works plus a sample sale of work from ALampCo.
Malerische Gallery — 236 Main St.
For information, call 541-726-8595.