Oregon Coast Council for the Arts and the Newport Visual Arts Center announce the opening of a new, posthumous exhibit – Honoring the Legacy of Heather Fortner – which will be on display from September 8th through October 29th at Olive Street Gallery (located in the lobby of the Newport Performing Arts Center). The exhibit will feature collected works by this much-admired former local artist, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 70. The public is invited to gather amidst Fortner’s varied artwork, on loan from several private collections, to recognize and remember this force of nature.
A master Gyotaku and nature print maker, Fortner was known for her expansive technical skill, her enthusiasm for her craft, and her altruism – in sharing her talent and expertise with others. Students from both near and far came to her Sea Fern Studio in Toledo, where she resided from 2009-2019, to learn and practice art under her respectful guidance. “To know Heather was to be blessed by her generosity, in one form or another,” said Chasse Davidson, Director of Newport’s Visual Arts Center, “She was a treasure. Constantly encouraging others and sharing knowledge, enthusiasm, and opportunities.”
Fortner’s life, dedicated to protecting nature through art, was unique and fascinating. From penning one of the first books on cooking with seaweed to discovering the art of Gyotaku and training with Japanese masters to improve her technique, she was continually learning, creating, and giving. (Gyotaku is a unique art form in which paint is applied over a fish, then papers are layered over it.) Fortner also traveled extensively, spending a great deal of time at sea. She would often set up studios on board large merchant vessels and print caught fish, as well as unusual fish found in markets at foreign ports.
An opening reception will take place on Friday, September 8th, from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Newport Performing Arts Center. The public is encouraged to attend and share memories, reflections, and refreshments.
Exhibits at Olive Street Gallery are free to the public and can be viewed from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Tuesday-Friday, at 777 W Olive Street. Artwork is also on display and available for viewing beginning one hour before all public performances at Newport Performing Arts Center.