The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents “We the People: A Participatory Installation,” a traveling exhibition developed by the Blackfish Gallery in Portland, OR, from November 3-26 in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center. “We the People” will include up to 100 life-sized drawings and paintings on tar paper and cardboard, a video display featuring quotes from well-known persons and interactive wall pieces where visitors can leave personal messages and handprints. The First Friday public reception will be held on November 3, 5-7pm, at the Newport Visual Arts Center, with the artists talk at 6pm.
Established in 1979, the Blackfish Gallery is an artist-owned and –operated art space located in Portland’s Pearl District, representing over 30 artists from throughout Oregon’s art community. The gallery has a tradition of group exhibits to which all of their members contribute—sometimes to show the public who they are as artists, sometime to deliver a message that underscores their fundamental values as artists.
The “We the People” exhibition was shown at the Blackfish Gallery during August 2017 and received positive art reviews in Willamette Week and Portland Mercury. The exhibit finds its first traveling gallery site at the Newport Visual Arts Center, and beyond the opening reception on November 3, the public is invited to two related events, a talk by one of the exhibit organizers on November 2 and a one-act theatrical performance in the gallery space on November 19 (see below for details on related events).
“In ‘We the People,’ the Blackfish Gallery offers a positive collective statement about tolerance and acceptance in a contentious, some might say, poisonous, political environment. The central idea of the show, whose contributors include Blackfish artists and other Oregon mark makers, is to underscore the fundamental values of diversity, inclusion and tolerance, values that nurture a robust society and contribute to the vibrancy of a creative community. ‘We the People’ will involve gallery visitors in this affirmative exercise by inviting them to add their personal mark—a signature or handprint—to the works installed in the gallery,” write the exhibit organizers.
The collection of life-sized drawing and paintings in “We the People” represent famous as well as unknown figures. The Statue of Liberty serves as a welcoming icon and invites gallery visitors to participate and reflect on the exhibition.
“We are pleased to host the ‘We the People’ exhibition, put together by one of Portland’s best-known galleries,” says OCCA VAC director Tom Webb. “And in a very real sense, 30 artists from outside the county will be bringing their talents to the VAC.”
The Runyan Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm.
Exhibit Talk by Clint Brown, Coastal Arts Guild luncheon, November 2, noon, Newport Visual Arts Center (777 NW Beach Dr.). RSVP for the talk and luncheon: 541-547-5369. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 11:30am to preview the exhibit.
“We the People” exhibit organizer Clint Brown will discuss the exhibit and his past work. Brown is Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University, where his primary focus was teaching drawing. His work has been shown continually throughout his career, nationally and internationally. Brown is the author of Drawing from Life (Wadsworth/Thompson Learning), the number-one figure drawing textbook for college students in
Performance: The Informer by Bertolt’s Brecht, November 19, 1pm, Runyan Gallery, Newport Visual Arts Center (777 NW Beach Dr.). $5 suggested donation, limited seating. The Informer, a 20-minute play with talk back, examines the devastating effect of a totalitarian regime on an ordinary Lutheran family. Bertolt Brecht wrote the play while in exile from the Nazi government. Adaption by Portland poet and playwright Merridawn Duckler. Professional and award-winning actors to include Jamie M. Rea, Sean Doran and Madelyn Clement.