The streets of downtown Eugene provide a good environment to host the work of artists throughout the community. The First Friday ArtWalk allows citizens to see art showcased in buildings clustered together, limiting walking and keeps the food and drink going. Lane Community College’s downtown campus hosted the college’s contribution, kicking off the tour at 5:30 pm.
All of Lane’s art departments, Fine Arts, Performing, Culinary, and Media Arts, were on display and the work shown was done by students. Culinary students were in their cooking attire offering food and wine to keep guests’ bellies full while they enjoyed the exhibits.
Ellen Osterkamp, head of the Art History Department at Lane, put the whole show together and was rather pleased with the plethora of exhibits on display.
“The ArtWalk takes place every first friday of the month, come rain or shine and it’s been a really great thing for the community. We were approached by the Downtown Campus because they thought it would be good recognition for the school,” Osterkamp said.
Osterkamp went on to explain that Lane does not have an art presence on the Downtown Campus and all of the work came from Lane’s main campus.
“The ArtWalk encompasses all of downtown and since Lane now has a presence here we thought this would be a great opportunity for to show the community the work that students are doing. All of the departments are being represented here tonight,” Osterkamp said.
Osterkamp also explained that all of the works on display were chosen by faculty in each department to find the cream-of-the-crop pieces.
“All of our faculty worked with students to find the best representation of what the department is made of. It was a really great opportunity for the staff to get involved and also a really good opportunity for the students to learn what it feels like to show their work to others if they have never done so before,”Osterkamp said .
Osterkamp was very ecstatic with all of the art showcased and hopes that Lane will be able to participate in the ArtWalk again come fall term of next year.
The exhibit that seemed to attract the most attention however was Lane’s dance group who performed their routine three times in the course of the evening.
Riley Grannan, one of the co-founders of the Eugene Ballet Company, made an appearance as well. Grannan is a veteran of the ArtWalk and said he’s been attending and guiding the tour for many years.
“The best part about this particular show is the plethora of things people bring to the table. You can walk into a gallery and see art done by particular artists, but this is a really good opportunity for people to get hooked up with ideas or projects they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Grannan said. “It’s great time for people to enjoy a little food and drink too.”
Among the many diverse groups of students involved in different arts programs at Lane, the dance department is no exception.
Erin Strickland, one of the dancers in the program, has loved the dance program ever since she started.
“This is my third year at Lane. When I decided to go back to school around age 30 I was going to pursue a science degree but I had always had a love for dance. I contacted Bonnie with the dance department and connected with her. She kind of told me how to get started and what classes to start with,” Strickland said. “This is my passion. This is really what I want to be doing.”
Strickland is not the only dancer involved with Lane’s dance program that is passionate about their work. Natalie Madden is another member of the group who is hoping to make dance the centerpiece of her life.
“This is my second year at Lane and in the dance program and I’ll probably go for a third year as well because I really like it. I’m hoping to actually get a Master of Fine Arts in dance, it’s basically like a doctorate of dance,” Madden said . “Modern dance is my passion and that’s what I hope to get my degree in.”
Madden also explained that she really loves the sense of community revolving around dance in Eugene. “Being able to see the same people at all of the events is a really special thing about it that makes it great,” Madden said.
There were also Titan alumni who attended the show. Annie Margarita now attends UO, however she began her studies in film at Lane.
“I was at Lane for fall term of this year and then transferred to University of Oregon over winter term and I’m currently studying art and tech and cinema studies,” Margarita said.
When asked about what she wanted to do with her degree Margarita elaborated on her interest in indie films.
“Being an artist I really want to do surrealistic film. I thought that I wanted to do documentary film, but once I got into all of the editing aspects of art and tech I decided that I wanted to do something more indie,” Margarita said.
As well as Lane’s exhibit the ArtWalk featured other showcases within close proximity to the downtown campus. At 6 p.m. the tour continued over to the Jazz Station featuring works by sculptor and painter Bill Rutherford. Then at 6:30 p.m., the “Outside the Box” exhibit by Dan Chen and Sandi Grubbs was portrayed at the Pacific Rim Art Guild on Broadway St. Next at 7 p.m. the Northwest photography done by Ron Keebler was on display at the Oregon Gallery on Fifth avenue, and then the tour came to a close at 7:30 p.m. with the works of artists representing the Material Exchange Center for Community Arts on Willamette St.
The buzz around the campus halls spoke of Lane’s contribution to the First Friday ArtWalk as a rather great success. Between plenty of snacks to eat and art to be absorbed, the turnout appeared to be well over 400 hundred people in just a few hours.