By Randi Bjornstad
The Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene closes out the calendar year with a popular “Art for All Seasons” show and sale that features drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures by more than 100 of its member artists.
“I don’t even know how much I have here yet,” the center’s exhibit coordinator Michael Fisher said happily the other day as he looked around the gallery.
“I know it’s a lot — we have a lot of new members, for a total of more than 400 now,” he said. “Thank goodness not everybody enters the two they could be allowed to have in this show.”
Although he probably would be just as thrilled if they all did.
Membership in the center can include just about anyone who loves art and wants to try his or her hand at creating it. The yearly fee of $45 for an adult, $35 for students and senior citizens or $65 for a family allows artists and would-be artists to receive discounts on classes, discounts on materials at Oregon Art Supply, opportunities to display their creations, free admission to the annual Art and the Vineyard event, discounts on gallery sales and a subscription to all of the center’s periodicals and newsletters.
Fisher’s “guestimation” is that the final show, which opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 18, will have upwards of 200 pieces, and that doesn’t include the salon sale of ceramics by the center’s Club Mud artists. The show runs through Dec. 16.
One of his favorite parts of the show is seeing the renditions of the same image that artists submit who have taken the same classes.
“In the painting and sculpture classes, the artists work from the same model, but how they interpret what they see can be vastly different,” Fisher said. “Whether it’s a human figure, the Willamette River or a scene at Mt. Pisgah, the sheer diversity is just so amazing.”
Most of the items in the show are for sale, helping the artists’ bottom lines and providing a commission to support activities at Maude Kerns.
“The artists tend to price things really well — they want to make art affordable to everyone,” Fisher said.
Some of the most whimsical items on display are Diane Seals’ ceramic totems. This time around, she has one called “The Race,” portraying a musher and her dogs, and another called “Harvest Ride,” made up of smiling people driving a grape-laden vehicle from a vineyard.
Fisher considers the “Art for All Seasons” show the center’s “Super Bowl” exhibit of the year, because “I have to train to get ready for it, because it comes together so fast.”
In less than a week, museum staff and volunteers have to take in an unknown number of art pieces with subjects and sizes they can’t anticipate in advance.
“Then when we see what we’ve got, we have to figure out what themes are going to emerge and let the show organically take form,” he said. “I want a flow that makes sense and gives people a sense of pleasure as they move through the exhibit, not feeling that they’re looking at a bunch of unrelated pieces.”
Arts for All Seasons
When: Nov. 18 to Dec. 16
Where: Maude Kerns Art Center, 1910 E. 15th Ave., Eugene
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
Information: 541-345-1571 or mkartcenter.org