Arts & Culture
Oregon Contemporary Theatre OCTheatre.org • 541-684-6988
Very Little Theatre TheVLT.com • 541-344-7751
Actors Cabaret of Eugene ActorsCabaret.org • 541-683-4368
Cottage Theatre CottageTheatre.org • 541-942-8001
Here’s one of the worst-kept secrets in the local arts world: Live theater in this town is going through an incredible renaissance. At a time when so much of our entertainment arrives via screens and hand-held devices, nothing comes close to the power and intimacy of live actors performing in front of you on a stage. The four main theater companies around town have been setting an increasingly high artistic standard with their work. Oregon Contemporary Theatre offers the closest thing we have to a fully professional theater, doing shows just this season that run the gamut from sharp musical comedy like Fun Home to Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo; Very Little Theatre is one of the oldest community theaters in the country and is taking on shows in the coming season from Hello Dolly to the more-bracing Proof; Actors Cabaret is practically a school of rock for aspiring performers, young and old, of musical theater, rotating through standards from Wizard of Oz to Mamma Mia!; and, down I-5, Cottage Theatre has gotten so good they were chosen by American Association of Community Theatres this year for a world premiere of Joe Musso’s new play Treehouse. All four are nonprofit organizations, getting by — sometimes barely — on the generosity of donors. Dig deep and donate before New Year’s to qualify for the Oregon Cultural Trust tax credit (see story this week). — Bob Keefer
Storytelling is like a birthright, Daryll Lynne Evans says. “It’s how we understand the world.” Evans is executive director at Wordcrafters, a nonprofit literary arts organization in Lane County. “We help people tell their stories,” Evans says.
This help takes many forms, from writers-in-school programs to workshops for adults, an annual writing conference and more. “We also work at the Serbu Youth Detention Center,” Evans says. “We have a residency at Calapooia High School. We send professional writers in to work with students.”
Literary arts programs in schools are particularly important because students get creative writing in their classrooms, which has become exceedingly rare, Evans says. The value of teaching literary arts translates across curriculum, she explains. It helps students build empathy, communicate more effectively and gives them tools for creative expression.
“Storytelling is the most basic way we communicate with each other,” she says. “Most of the help we need is with writing.” There are lots of other opportunities to get involved with Wordcrafters. To find out more go to wordcraftersineugene.org. — Will Kennedy
Adventure! Children’s Museum
“Everything is educational,” Amelia Reising says.
She is founding director of Adventure! Children’s Museum, located on the upper floor of Valley River Center. The museum is “a big space where kids come to explore and discover new things with their families,” she says.
How is it like a museum? “That language is in place because we are here to provide an educational experience that’s very child-led,” Reising says.
Lane County has similar educational spaces, such as the long-running Science Factory. What makes Adventure! Children’s Museum unique is that not everything is based in science, she says. What’s important is that everything at Adventure! is play-based.
“The more you try things, the more you learn,” Reising says. “A lot of times adults look at play and they don’t think it’s super important. We don’t subscribe to that theory.” At Adventure! kids can play in a replica of Doctor Who’s Tardis, serve pretend sushi, and a whole lot more. As children play, she says, they are learning.“ A cardboard box, Reising says, can be educational. — Will Kennedy
Lane Arts Council
LaneArts.org • 541-485-2278
I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm children bring to making art: Put a crayon in the hands of a 3-year-old and just watch as they try to represent the world around them. As they grow up, most people stop making art. Those who don’t are called artists. The Lane Arts Council supports art for children and also for those who never stopped making art — some of whom are practicing art professionals.
You may be familiar with LAC’s sponsorship of Eugene’s First Friday ArtWalk. If you wish to become a sponsor of the ArtWalk there are perks such as being included on LAC’s newsletter and guided tour printed material. But LAC has several programs in the works as well to bring art education to schools.
It’s no secret that arts education is often the first thing to be cut when school funds are tight. This is especially true in rural schools, where art and music teachers are now virtually nonexistent.
By donating to support the Adopt-a-School program you help fund an artist residency in a Lane County school. Supporting Bethel Arts Education will help to bring arts education to 5,600 students in the K-5 Bethel school district. LAC’s goal is to raise $27,000. The ArtSpark Initiative also strives to bring arts education through artist residency programming by partnering with organizations like the Rotary Club of Eugene and Eugene Education Foundation. — Ester Barkai
KLCC.org • 541-463-6000
What’s special about KLCC? “This type of radio barely exists,” says Sallie Leadon, office manager at the National Public Radio member station. Public radio has a freedom that commercial stations don’t enjoy, and donors who support the station represent a wide variety of ages and economic backgrounds.
I’ll testify to the part about varying economic backgrounds. When I was a student I donated $10 to my local NPR station because that’s all I was able to afford. NPR was my station of choice, and donating made me feel that my small contribution added to a larger voice.
I first got hooked on NPR’s national programming listening to “All Things Considered” driving stop-and-go during rush hour in my hometown Los Angeles. After I left L.A. I started tuning in to “Fresh Air.” Now there’s no one I’d rather hear interviewing Bob Woodward or Meryl Streep than Terri Gross.
National and local news programming airs during the day Monday through Friday, and Eugene also broadcasts semi-local “Think Out Loud” from Portland station OPB live on weekdays at noon. KLCC reporters and hosts fill listners in on local topics. Local KLCC music programming begins at 7:30 pm each night, as well as during various times over the weekend.
Local programming is 95 percent volunteer, and all of it is music. About 20 local programs are broadcast in Eugene. “Heartwood Hotel,” for example, airs Tuesdays 7:30 to 10 pm and plays a blend of all genres. Cina Kraft has been hosting it since 1988. “Eye 5” is on Saturday 3 to 5 pm and advertises a combination of “rock, americana, and alternative sounds.” It’s been on the air since 2015 and is hosted by Scott Majors.
KLCC (89.7 FM) is owned by Lane Community College; its signal reaches Bend, Albany, Newport and Roseburg. — Ester Barkai
KWAX.uoregon.edu • 541-345-0800
When KWAX had its annual drive last year, I spent a lot of time listening to Peter Van de Graff talking about money and the importance of supporting the radio station. He’s right. As music director, Van de Graff gives radio listeners some sort of reprieve from the seemingly nonstop runs of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl,” The Knack’s “My Sharona” and the overall terrible Def Leppard. KWAX isn’t just spinning dusty recordings of decomposing composers. One of my favorite programs, “Picture Perfect With Ross Amico,” explores some of the finest cinema soundtracks out there. And Van de Graff is dedicated to the art of classical music even when he’s pumping iron. I thought I was strange for beginning to flirt with Glen Gould’s fast-paced interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations in my exercise playlist. But last year Van de Graff told me he puts together a playlist filled with dance suites from operas by 18th century French composers. I haven’t yet thrown one of those French dance numbers in my playlists since it’s hard to compare those works to Richard Wagner in getting the blood flowing. Nevertheless, KWAX (99.1 FM) provides a service we can all appreciate: Programming that keeps us from suffering from overplayed nonsense. — Henry Houston
Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon
Planned Parenthood is an organization we cannot afford to lose. For more than 50 years, Planned Parenthood has worked to ensure every individual’s right and access to management of their sexual and reproductive health. PP provides accurate and appropriate sex education, as well as a wide array of medical services and testing. Given our political climate as of late, it is important that we as a community support Planned Parenthood, and ensure their continuation. Individuals trust PP, and know that it is a safe haven that will provide confidential preventative, diagnostic, treatment, and procedural services at an affordable rate. Planned Parenthood strives to normalize sexual education and reduce the stigma associated with taking control of ones own reproductive system. Most of all, all are welcome at PP — they provide services to people of any gender, race or religion. Donations can be made to support the work of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon, which serves Eugene-Springfield, in honor of someone or towards specific funds, for example: the annual exam fund. — Elisha Young
White Bird Clinic
WhiteBirdClinic.org • 541-342-8255
Since the 1970s White Bird Clinic has been an integral part of the Eugene community, serving a sector of our population that is at risk with a multitude of services. White Bird works with the homeless, the disenfranchised and low-income individuals. It provides support on many levels, from basic needs to medical care, behavioral support and counseling. White Bird also provides CAHOOTS — Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets. The clinic works with people that many would turn a blind eye to, helping them get back on their feet, regain health, combat addition and most of all, to survive. White Bird is staffed by a dedicated group of individuals, who take pride in the work they are doing. There are several ways to support White Bird — monetary donations, planned giving, and donations of goods and services. The White Bird website provides a list of what is needed at any given time. White Bird is also currently running its annual Stay Warm Drive an effort to collect winter gear, blankets, coats, and sleeping bags to help our community members who are without a winter place to stay, warm and healthy. Donations for the Stay Warm Drive can be dropped off at White Bird Clinic or at the Eugene Weekly office. — Elisha Young
Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
MIUSA.org • 541-343-1284
Every summer, Eugene welcomes groups of people in wheelchairs and other people with disabilities from around the world, taking advantage of the city’s abundance of accessible places. There’s a good chance they’re here thanks to Mobility International USA, which has been advancing disability rights and leadership around the world since 1981. Among its many exchanges and other programs, MIUSA annually hosts its Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), which brings together women-identified grassroots activists for a three-week intensive leadership training. The 20 women selected, who have diverse types of disabilities and come from Africa, Asia, eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands, stay in local homes. They meet with local experts on topics such as independent living, disability legislation and policy, advocacy, gender-based violence prevention, reproductive health, access to higher education and more. They experience adaptive sports and recreation at the Spencer Butte Challenge Course and activities like adaptive cycling, visit inclusive classrooms at area schools, and ride LTD buses to various sites. Then they take those skills and a newly expanded sense of possibility back to their homelands, where they often become advocates for disability rights themselves. MIUSA is raising funds for the next WILD program, which runs July 13 to Aug. 3. — Brett Campbell
BridgewayHouse.org • 541-345-0805
Anyone who has children in local public schools (myself included) is well aware of the chronic funding crunch. There’s only X money to spread among Y kids. If those kids sometimes demand a little extra TLC — kids with autism, for example — the financial equation is even more fraught.
Enter Bridgeway House, a Eugene nonprofit dedicated to supporting local children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The group was founded in 2002 by Patricia Wigney, whose daughter was diagnosed with autism at age 3. In true DIY fashion she began a musical therapy class for her daughter and other autistic children. Gradually it morphed into something larger, expanding to fill a void that had been previously underserved.
Today Wigney is the executive director of Bridgeway House, a vital cog in the local autistic community. Bridgeway provides support in a variety of ways to both kids and parents. The most direct is hands-on teaching assistance during school hours. Outside of school hours Bridgeway coordinates support groups, tutoring and various therapies for autism. It runs a summer program and sponsors special events throughout the year, capped off every year in April — National Autism Month — with a benefit auction.
Bridgeway’s efforts have received glowing reviews. A typical example: “They work long, hard hours to help our children reach their goals. They are not miracle workers or perfect, but they truly make a difference every day.”
The organization is a deserving recipient of anything you can give this holiday season. — Blake Andrew
SponsorsInc.org • 541-735-6400
For people recently released from jail or prison, the road to recovery, reintegration and newfound responsibility is fraught with many obstacles. Sponsors Inc., is the nonprofit organization in our community that specializes in assisting the formerly incarcerated as they transition into being productive members of the community. The Sponsors program begins with mentorship. Individuals are offered the opportunity to be matched with a mentor who will help them achieve incremental and attainable goals as well as having someone to spend time with or just talk through issues. Financial donations are welcome, but Sponsors’ greatest need is for volunteers who have patience and the ability to assist people who want to change their lives. A mentor can be far more influential than a parole officer in helping the newly released in becoming a productive member of society. If you have an hour a week to give, you can help people improve their lives. Contact Kate Davidson at 541-735-6400 to become a mentor. — David Fried
OpheliasPlace.net • 541-284-4333
With locations in Eugene and Junction City and one coming soon in Albany, Ophelia’s Place is stronger than you know. More than eight different programs provide a supportive community for girls — drop in after school and hang out in a cozy, inviting atmosphere with healthy snacks, stop in for a group therapy session anytime, commit to regular one-on-one therapy with a focus on girl-driven goal setting, participate in ultra fun workshops, or connect with your child through parent-daughter events. Ophelia’s Place is implementing an awe-inspiring model for preventive care among our youth by empowering, educating and supporting girls ages 10-18. Their website alone is a wealth of information for girls and parents with resources on media literacy, activism, healthy relationships and being an ally to daughters even in the face of challenges. If you like the idea of helping girls to navigate choices and to reach for a bright future, support Ophelia’s Place by donating money or checking out their Wish List online (snacks, art supplies, homework supplies, etc.). Be part of creating space and giving girls a place to be! — Carrie Mizejewski
Patrick’s Children Without Sponsors
PatricksChildren.org • 978-484-2632
Since 2003, Patrick Cowles of Lake Oswego, Oregon and his team of volunteers have been working directly with children in Uganda, and other areas of the world. Cowles’ mission began after a 2001 trip to Russia that opened his eyes to the needs of children. The organization focuses on education, supplies, hygiene and access to clean water. When you donate to Patrick’s Children Without Sponsors, your resources are directly matched to children in need — from sponsoring a child’s education, to providing reusable pads for young women and helping Ugandan people start businesses to become more self sustaining. Over time, Cowles has found that funding in Uganda does not always end up where it is supposed to, so the group works hard to evaluate needs and directly meet them. The next project planned is a trip to Uganda in April of 2019, where Cowles will be visiting the Home of Hope Orphanage, bringing size six diapers, and training and disbursing 1,000+ sanitary pads to hundreds of girls. Patrick’s Children also plans to purchase around 600 pairs of sandals for the students of Butiki Primary School, as the children attending currently are going barefoot. It will also be providing and delivering food to families in Jinja Slums, as well as to the elderly and sick. The planned project will include five days on the ground, with hopes to accomplish as much as they possibly can. — Elisha Young
St. Vincent de Paul
SVDP.us • 541-743-7144 (to donate)
541-743-7147 (to volunteer)
With most people having only a few weeks worth of money saved for an emergency or unforeseen circumstances, a family or individual can find themselves in need of assistance at any given time. St. Vincent de Paul helps those who find themselves in such circumstances get help to overcome these issues and move forward with their lives in a positive way. St. Vinnie’s helps more than 84,000 individuals and families each year with an emphasis on emergency and homeless services as well as affordable housing. Since 1988 St. Vincent de Paul has developed more than 1,400 units of affordable housing; it also provides overnight shelter in the form of overnight parking and tent shelter programs. In 2017 the non-profit provided $340,000 in store vouchers, $34,000 towards rent, $12,000 for utility assistance, $6,000 for propane and $18,000 in assistance for prescription medications. The Atkinson Food Room put out 1,600 food boxes per month and another 3,500 holiday boxes as well as 3,000 school back packs with supplies for children in need. The First Place Family Center provided day services to 2,100 adults and children under 18 who were homeless or at-risk. To make a difference in your community and in people’s lives, please call 541-743-7144 to make a donation or call 541-743-7147 to volunteer. — David Fried
Every little kid wants a pony right? We can’t all have an equine companion but one thing we can all do is donate to rescues that take care of the Black Beauties in our midst. Oregon Horse Rescue (OregonHorseRescue.org) and Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Rescue and Rehab (StrawberryMountainMustangs.com or 541-784-5522) are two equine nonprofits that will turn your donations into happy horses.
For the cat lovers, Northwest Cat Rescue is not a shelter, and instead places kitties for adoption in foster homes (NWCatRescue.org or 541-505-6915). Also foster-based, but for dogs, is Wiggly Tails (WigglyTails.org or 541-654-4259). Foster-to-adopt rescues mean that animals get to spend time in a home, and potential adopters learn a lot about what their future pet is like from the foster home. It’s also wonderfully rewarding to foster a pet and see the animal find its forever family.
Winning our hearts with the best Instagram feeds ever (as well doing amazing work with adoptable dogs) are Northwest Dog Project (NorthwestDogProject.org) and Luvable Dog Rescue (LuvableDogRescue.org). — Camilla Mortensen
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)
ELAW.org • 541-687-8454
Born nearly three decades ago at an environmental conference at the University of Oregon, ELAW today is a group of more than 300 lawyers working in 80 countries around the world to improve the environment. “We are a global alliance of attorneys, scientists and other advocates collaborating across borders to promote grassroots efforts to build a sustainable, just future,” the ELAW website says. ELAW is on the front lines of environmental battles, fighting, for example, to clean up coal-fired power plants in India and helping to enforce a ban on plastic bags in Uganda. ELAW lawyers have often been harassed and arrested for their work. Over the years, a dozen have received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which honors grassroots environmental activists around the globe. And, yes, we’re biased here at Eugene Weekly: Our publisher’s son Bern Johnson is the executive director of the ELAW U.S. Team, which has offices in Eugene. — Bob Keefer
More Environmental Organizations
You can’t throw a stick without hitting an environmental group in this town, and that’s probably why some of us live here. We won’t have clean air and water and tall trees without the treehuggers who fight polluters and keep developers in check. Beyond Toxics has long been a voice for air and against toxics chemicals, and it’s one of the few nonprofits that has made environmental justice its mission in the area. Contribute by calling 541-465-8860 or visiting BeyondToxics.org.
When it comes to those tall trees (and some little ones too), turn to Cascadia Wildlands (CascWild.org or 541-434-1463), Oregon Wild (OregonWild.org or 541-344-0675), and for a more urban focus, Friends of Trees (541-632-3683 or FriendsofTrees.org). — Camilla Mortensen