People can sometimes seem intimidated by art when they visit The Arts Center in Corvallis, says executive director Cynthia Spencer-Hadlock.
That uneasiness may be brushed away Saturday by Arts Alive!, an all-day art exploration which encourages community members to watch, make and participate in the creative process with mid-valley artists, poets and musicians.
"We want people to really understand that art is fun and a great way to engage and connect with other people," Spencer-Hadlock said.
The second annual event at The Arts Center Plaza in Corvallis will feature hands-on art activities and demonstrations, poetry readings, live music, as well as food and beverage vendors.
The Arts Center staff sees Arts Alive! as a break from traditional arts festivals.
"It raises the visibility of working artists in our city," says Michele Griffin-Campione, the center's communications and developmental director. "It is unique in that it completely engages the artists with the community."
Painters, potters, printmakers, sculptors and other visual artists will give demonstrations and teach visitors about the process behind their artwork.
"Ede Schenkel will be giving instructions on monotype printing, which is an interesting process. That's going to be super-cool," Griffin-Campione said.
Laura Young and Gary House will offer pottery demonstrations, while Joan Linse will be painting portraits.
"She (Linse) has techniques and tips for how to make a portrait look like somebody very quickly," Spencer-Hadlock said.
Albert Kong, a performer and mask-maker, is an artist Spencer-Hadlock also anticipates seeing at the event.
"He creates art out of cardboard, so we've been asked to bring in heaps of cardboard. I think he's going to spend the day creating with it," she said.
Organizers were unsure what some artists have in store for the event.
One artist is Shuo Cai, a painter and sculptor who may not be particularly familiar to the larger community. The recent Oregon State University art graduate won The Arts Center's Award of Excellence in late spring at the 2019 Senior Exhibition at OSU's Fairbanks Gallery of Art.
"I think he was having a hard time deciding what he was going to do. Whatever he does it will be dynamic," Spencer-Hadlock said.
The other participating artists are Hezekiah Franklin, Ann Staley, Anna Russell, Ceph Polemka, Ben Woodman, Chris Mikkelson, Donna Chan, Gypsy Prince, Keith Bowers, Sharon Rackham King, Kimberly Long, Linda Edwards, Jeanne Boydston and Brittney Martinez.
Some of the artists will have their work for sale in the center's ArtShop during the event.
Music performances will be kicked off by Skittish, a duo featuring Griffin-Campione as vocalist and percussionist and her friend Leo Smith on guitar. The pair plays a "carefully curated eclectic collection of duets."
"We sing love gone wrong songs in a very poetic and harmonic way," Griffin-Campione said.
The remaining acts include Corvallis group the Animism Ensemble, which will perform original tunes, and Ace Stardust, an alternative-rock band from Albany. Corvallis native Erika Lundahl, now a Seattle-based independent singer-songwriter, will close the concerts.
A few of the musicians will lead demonstrations of their own.
"I know for Skittish, we will be bringing lyrics for people to sing along," Griffin-Campione said, "and then I have a lot of percussion."
Poets will read their works inside The Arts Center throughout the day. There will also be an open mic session (5:30-7:45 p.m.) with 15-minute spots open for sign-up for people who want to share their poetry.
The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and Maxtivity Creative Space will provide activities for younger visitors.
Artisan food from Tacos El Machin and Francesco's Gelato, along with adult beverages donated by 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Deluxe Brewing, will be available for purchase.
Arts Alive! is part of the center's Artist Accelerator Program, which began in 2018. The artist in residence program supports the business readiness of artists by offering studio space, professional development lecture series and monthly networking events.
Some of last year's accelerator resident artists are involved again in Arts Alive! Claire Elam is this year's event coordinator and Kimberly Long, a fiber artist and potter, returns to show her work.
The future plan for Arts Alive!, which was spread across a series of three-hour Friday evenings last summer, is to grow into a much larger annual event.
Griffin-Campione was looking forward to the fun of collaborating with the artists and community members on Saturday.
"I think this is a big step forward in a different kind of celebration of the arts," she said.
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