Nothing more clearly connects the natural landscape of the High Desert to its rich cultural history, like the exhibits at the High Desert Museum. Now in its 34th year, and with over 100,000 square feet of space, the museum showcases unique artwork, tells stories of extraordinary cultural tales and features those rare animals specific to this region. It is an interactive learning program that captivates the young and the old, the locals and the out-of-towners, the artists and the educators.
Each year, the museum hosts the High Desert Rendezvous, a culmination of the Art of the West exhibit that showcases a whopping 59 works by 38 individual artists throughout July and August.
The works are all by western American contemporary artists, such as longtime local High Desert painter Barbara Slater, mixed media artist Meg Kahnle, photographer Charley Griswold and other renowned artists, Julie Oriet, Dan Rickards and Craig Zuger.
The exhibit promises to be an awe-inspiring array of talent from across the Pacific Northwest due to the many forms of artwork represented.
Erika Erkel, the development associate of corporate relations at the Museum, reflects, “This year’s show includes a wonderful array of artistic styles and media including watercolor, oil, pastel, acrylic, mixed media, photography and sculpture.”
By capturing the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, these artists showcase just what makes the contrasting geographic scopes of the region so enticing to viewers.
Executive Director Dana Whitelaw PhD notes, “The various artists see this landscape and its inhabitants in such different ways, then translate that point of reference through their artwork.”
One such artist acting as our translator for the surrounding landscape is local artist Meg Kahnle. She recently completed the Smith Rock Project, which features over 1,000 photos, from 120 contributors that together form a beautiful eight-foot-long masterpiece of the iconic Central Oregon deep river canyons.”
When asked, Meg surmises the spirit of the exhibit with these words, “Art of the West is constantly evolving and being informed by the wild, free-spirit nature of the environment and people. To me it means adventure, connection and exploration.”
“The Art of the West exhibit and High Desert Rendezvous are a great opportunity for people to connect with local artists and community members who are passionate about Central Oregon and its preservation. The High Desert Museum has done an incredible job curating for the exhibit and event to showcase the beauty of the region for everyone to experience.”
Christina Cid PhD, director of programs at the Museum points out that the exhibit and Rendezvous “directly impacts everyone that comes to the museum. From newborns to seniors, the exhibit gives directly to our budget, that directly flows into our fabulous programs.”
She speaks of the more than 12,000 students that attend educational programs at the museum annually. “These students, future scientists, engineers and leaders form some of their first connections at the museum,” Cid says. “It inspires critical thinking where they ask questions about the world around them. It’s so crucial to student development, and it really gives them a sense of place and where they are in the world.”
An opportunity to support such programs comes easily with the Rendezvous — a fun filled event the night of August 20. Featuring a festive evening that includes a dinner, gambling, silent and live auctions of artwork, raffle prizes, hosted saloon and live music, the event is more than just a fundraiser, it is a celebration of the unbeaten cultural offerings the museum gives to the community.
Participants will see the close of the silent auction that began at the kickoff of the Art of the West exhibit in July. Cid reflects, “We see participants come back year after year. People are excited to see the true spirit of the High Desert region presented in this amazing way.”
She reaffirms its spirit and brings home the message, “The Museum fosters and connects the past, present and the future. It shapes our community.”
ART OF THE WEST EXHIBIT
July 21- August 20th
HIGH DESERT RENDEZVOUS
August 20th, 5-9:30pm
Tickets: $150 Member/$200 Non-Member
$300 Member Couple/ $350 Non-Member Couple