Friday, Jan. 8, saw the new year’s inaugural First Friday Art Walk in Downtown Eugene, which will coincide with a year of celebrations for the anniversary. The Jacobs Gallery gathered a large crowd for walk in its small venue space underneath the Hult Center.
Beverly Soasey, Artistic Director at Jacobs Gallery, has lead events like these for the past ten years. The Art Walk collaborated with 50 artists and a number of volunteers.
Lyn E. Peterson is a local artist who contributed to the art walk this year. Peterson attended the Rhode Island school of design, then came to the west coast in 1968.
“I have always made my living doing graphics or design,” Peterson said. ”I have designed everything from toys to games to packaging.”
Peterson has displayed art across the country, the most notable cities being New York City and Los Angeles. She described Eugene as her favorite place to live, but in terms of selling art, Eugene has been “difficult”.
“I always sell better in big cities,” Peterson Said. “Unfortunately, that’s the truth of it. It’s been difficult to sell in Eugene compared to any place else in the country.”
After almost four decades residing in Eugene, Peterson has decided to move out of the state. The consumer market for art in Lane County is small and Peterson is hopeful that she will be more able to make a living elsewhere.
“I am looking to move up near Seattle somewhere,closer to a big city where there are more opportunities,” she said.
Recently, it was announced that the Jacobs Gallery would no longer be receiving funding. The arts community, and those who attend and support it, were saddened by the news. Eugene has only a few art galleries, with the Jacobs Gallery being one of the most accessible.
Lane Community College professor Karen Meyers came out to the event to show her support for the arts in the community. Meyers has supported the arts in the community by buying from local artists and attending events like these.
“I am coming back to sort of say goodbye to this gallery,” Meyers said. “I was totally surprised. It [Jacobs Gallery] has been such an intricate part of coming down to the Hult Center and coming in here before performances. I just don’t understand why there is no gallery continuing at the Hult Center.”
Meyers elaborated on the strong connection that the Jacobs Gallery and the art students and faculty at Lane shared.
“There have been a number of shows here the Jacobs where LCC students or instructors have exhibited their work,” Meyers said. “So, there’s been a really strong LCC connection, but it just really saddens me to think that there’s one less space for artists to show their work.”
The Jacobs Gallery will close its doors this month after 18 years. This Wednesday, Jan. 13, the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division will be conducting a meeting with the public at the Jacobs Gallery to discuss its future.