Public libraries long ago expanded their offerings beyond books. They are now community centers, maker spaces, digital labs and more—including art galleries. These public institutions are often used by artists as incubators for their work, whether that means researching, creating or displaying their art. At Deschutes Public Library in Central Oregon, public wall space is turned into public galleries where people can view the work of professional and amateur artists who work in a variety of mediums.
“The Deschutes Public Library system has a long tradition of collaborating with local artists and regional arts organizations,” says Library Director Todd Dunkelberg. “Deschutes County is rich with talented people who continually share their art with their communities in the Library setting,” he says, “and these rotating collections offer the public a way to experience and explore the work of their local artists.”
This summer the public will find art on the walls of many Deschutes Public Library branches.
The Downtown Bend Library’s summer art exhibit focuses on “My Oregon.” A variety of local artists working in acrylic, watercolor, oil and photography have contributed art for the show, which runs through the end of August and provides different perspectives on what it means to live in Oregon. From September through the end of November, the theme is “Angles and Curves.” An open call is out to artists for contributions.
Just in time for the popular annual Sisters Quilt Show, the Sisters Library features “In the Extreme,” quilts by the MIX (Material In Xtreme) Group from Portland. MIX artists developed a series of new works examining the “extreme” concept of using just a single theme or technique. Each piece is rendered at 18-inches square. The MIX display runs through July at the Library with a new display going up in August.
Now through August, the Redmond Library is featuring the work of talented local artists:
- Jim Erickson, photography: A photo essay “Nest to Fledge,” which chronicles the journey of two American Bald Eagles at Smith Rock.
- Redmond Proficiency Academy, photography: Black and white photographs by Redmond Proficiency artists created in a photography class taught by Ethan Stelzer.
- Summer and Sydney Lisignoli, acrylic painting: The Lisignoli twins were raised on a farm in Terrebonne, where they fostered a love of animals that shows up in their whimsical and colorful paintings.
- Wendy Beth Oliver, photography: Oliver is a world traveler who shares her experiences as captured through the lens of her camera.
In September, the Redmond Library art exhibit will feature the work of painter Judd Wagner, three-dimensional artist Eric Filippino, pastel painter Linda McGill, fiber artist Grace Grinnell and sculptor JD Grinnell.
The Sunriver Library, situated in an area that is ripe with artistic talent, displays the work of artists Jane Morrow and Liz Haberman in July and August. Morrow works in fused glass, while Haberman works in watercolor. Both artists will be on hand at the Sunriver Library on July 11 at 2:00 p.m. for a reception, which is free and open to all. Haberman and Morrow will each give a short talk about their work. A new collection of art will be featured in September.
“The public library stands as an enduring monument to the values of cooperation and sharing,” wrote Davis Morris in his Public Library Manifesto, published in yes! Magazine (May 2011). “In an age where global corporations stride the earth, public libraries remains firmly rooted in local communities,” he continued.
Dunkelberg believes art on display throughout the Deschutes Public Library system enriches this commitment to our local communities.