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Art, Galleries to Play Starring Role For League of Oregon Cities Visitors

August 2012 | The Reed Opera House

"Wine and Watching" Painting by Tim Rogerson
"Wine and Watching"
Tim Rogerson

Salem’s flourishing Downtown art scene will play a starring role at month’s end when more than 700 municipal employees descend upon the city for the League of Oregon Cities annual meeting at the Salem Conference Center.

A special art walk, open to the public, is scheduled for Friday, September 28, between 5 and 9 p.m. It is the brainchild of Rebecca Maitland, VP-Creative Director of the Roger Yost Properties and photographer Diane Beals of Salem Photo League.

Maitland and Beals mobilized members of Artists in Action, Salem Art Association, Salem Photo League, Salem Chamber Orchestra, and other Downtown galleries to join together to demonstrate the depth and quality of Mid-Valley creativity.

To further enhance the evening, Ms. Maitland worked with the Wine CPAs at First Integrity to invite seven leading Oregon vineyards—Bjornson, Cubanisimo, Hanson, Honeywood, J Wrigley, Mystic and Redgate--to stage a wine tasting at the Yost Gallery.

Gilgamesh Brewing will serve craft beers during the event, designed to launch a new exhibit entitled “The Art of Wine & Roses.” It features photorealistic work by Thomas Stiltz and Gerald Mendez, and the whimsical art of Tim Rogerson.

“We could have called the exhibit The Art of Wine & Noses,” said Maitland, alluding to Rogerson’s depictions of male subjects with prominent red proboscises.

Other galleries participating in the evening art walk September 28 include Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, Elsinore Framing & Fine Art Gallery, the World Beat Gallery in the Reed Opera House, Northwest Comicbook Gallery, Clockworks Café and Cultural Center, and the Red Raven Gallery.

Members of the Photo League will present exhibits of their work on the exterior of closed businesses on Liberty Street, as will Artists in Action. The Salem Art Association will have a major presentation in the space beneath the Liberty Square Parkade across from the Conference Center.

“I began working with the army of artists and a lighting contractor months ago to dress up vacant properties along Liberty Street,” said Maitland, who has always subscribed to a theorem, “Where it is empty, there shall be art! Besides attracting prospective Tenants for Downtown property owners, temporary art, lighting and activity make the streets safer,” she explains.

The League of Oregon Cities three-day conference brings together mayors, city managers, city attorneys, council members and employees from the state’s 242 incorporated cities, for workshops, tours and a trade show, and moves to a different location every September.

Maitland, who is coordinating the September 28 event with city staff and the Salem Conference Center, hopes to stage a similar urban art scene when Salem hosts the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism April 14-16, 2013. More than 400 tourism industry visitors are expected for the spring event.

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