Visual Arts Week kicks off in Eugene, Oregon on October 6th at Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk and this year’s weeklong celebration of visual arts will highlight ten multicultural artists.
In 2023, Lane Arts Council was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Grant to support Cultural Currents. The Our Town Grant strengthens communities by funding initiatives in arts, culture, and design that will advance local economic, physical, or social outcomes.
Cultural Currents is an ongoing collaborative effort and placemaking project led by Lane Arts Council, City of Eugene Cultural Services, and community partners to strengthen Eugene’s cultural vibrancy while creating greater connection between growing centers of cultural activity. The initiative invests in infrastructure for temporary public art and activates public spaces from downtown to the riverfront through arts and cultural programming that highlights Eugene’s cultural identities, stories, and experiences during key summer and fall events.
The cultural sector and our creative communities hold potential to shine light on issues of equity and justice and generate opportunities for education, dialogue, and action. Cultural Currents supports diverse approaches to arts and storytelling that promote a greater sense of belonging for our community. With this in mind, Lane Arts Council and City of Eugene Cultural Services sought out members of the community to inform the process and artist selection for the 2023 Cultural Currents arts installations. A Cultural Currents Advisory Committee was formed of individuals from a wide range of identity experiences, art forms, and organizations. The Advisory Committee began their work in January 2023 to craft a Call to Artists that was inclusive and that would create a platform for sharing stories and experiences through art.
Hosted by City of Eugene Cultural Services, the Call to Artists attracted 47 submissions from artists with a range of cultural identities, backgrounds, and arts mediums. The Advisory Committee carefully evaluated each entry and chose the ten artists to create art installations at several locations throughout Downtown Eugene to be unveiled during the October 6th First Friday ArtWalk and Visual Arts Week.
Writer and performer Jorah LaFleur will lead a Cultural Currents Installation Tour starting at 6:00pm on October 6th at the Farmers Market Pavilion in downtown Eugene. Many of the Cultural Current artists will be present to talk about their art medium and process of creation. Attendees interested in joining the tour are encouraged to arrive by 5:50pm.
“We started dreaming with our partners in the City of Eugene Cultural Services about this project back in 2020,” shared Lane Arts Council Executive Director, Stacey Ray. “We saw it as a way to bring our community back together, activate public spaces, create new opportunities for artists interested in public art, and center the voices of creatives with diverse lived experiences and backgrounds. So much of the project was focused on creating an intentional process with the Advisory Committee, and I think it resulted in a great series of works that show how art can be a compelling medium for telling the stories of communities and both our shared and varied human experiences.”