Photographer Martha Cooper again rules the roost at BSA with her new photos of the 20×21 EUG Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Organized and funded by the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services Public Art Program, the citizenry is invited to be a part of events and symposia – an intimate affair with this years select list of invited artists.
“This year 20×21 organized ‘viewing parties’ at the walls to give the community an official chance to meet and socialize the artists at their walls,” says Ms. Cooper about the 10 day series of events. You could meet Fintan Magee at his wall, or talk to Sidney Waerts aka SIT at Well Balanced (center for integrative care), consort with local muralist Kari Johnson at Lane County’s Dining Room, or see a new show of incredibly framed artworks at Coffee Plant Roaster with painter Adele Renault and photographer Ms. Cooper.
Blending small family owned businesses, the chamber of commerce and cultural organizations together with the artists and artworks is a finely balanced effort, and according to people we spoke with Eugene is careful to get the balance right. For example the combination of Adele’s mural and Ms. Coopers photo installation was in a coffee shop owned by Irv Weiner, who is a pigeon flyer/fancier originally from New York.
“His coop is on top of the building with the pigeon mural and the coffee shop is inside,” says Martha of the interconnectedness of programming. Now Mr. Weiner has added to his list a cannabis growing supplies business; a rather normal development in this city that has become known for its marijuana-related economy during the last decade.
Here are exclusive images of the artists at work, as well as some additional interesting details and local color about this mural-centric cultural event in Eugene.
Eugene was first recognized as good mural festival location perhaps because of the work done here by activist, performer, storyteller, and public artist Kari Johnson. Her dedication to her work as social mission and communication inspires her peers and is emblematic of what Eugene is.
In a 2016 bio by the artist for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Kari Johnson shared her history and outlook:
“Both of my grandmothers were painters named Ida. They managed to paint landscapes and still lifes in spare moments while raising big families during the Great Depression and WWII. Continuing where they left off I began painting when I was 14 and completed my first mural 10 years later. Other than learning how to make prints with potatoes at a summer fair, I am self-taught.
I feel the most inspired when I’m making public art. Being a public artist is like being an architect of mood, stirring feelings and inspiring connection, helping to anchor and identify a place. In my art I particularly care about promoting social justice, harmony between humans and our plant and animal relations. I want my art to invite individuals to belong to the place, join community, and help shape our human story.”