Eugene Weekly : Best of Eugene : 2010-2011


Best of Eugene 2010-2011: Arts


Best gallery

1. DIVA  110 W. Broadway. 344-3482.

2. The Voyeur 547 Blair Blvd. 912-7544. 

3. New Zone Gallery 164 W. Broadway. 683-0759.

Ah, DIVA. DIVA has worked its ass off for years trying to keep a vision alive for the visual arts in downtown. Curator Bernie Brooks changed it up in the past year, drawing in artists from all over the country and even the world as he reached out to show that Eugene’s talent can mix and stand with others. Kudos to the staff and board for keeping DIVA going while living with uncertainty, and to DIVA program director Eric Ostlind for making DIVA the place for viewing experimental, fine, unusual and fascinating flicks. DIVA likely won’t be in the same location in the near future, so it’s excellent that Eugene gave it this send-off. New up-and-comer The Voyeur, in the Whiteaker next to olivejuice, showcases Eugene artists, and owner Mo Bowen also hosts art critiques, art talks and a variety of other community-minded ventures. At New Zone, the model of an artists’ collective keeps on going under the energetic Steve LaRiccia and a hard-working board. 

Best performing arts group

1. Lord Leebrick Theater

2. Soromundi Lesbian Chorus of Eugene

3. Eugene Symphony

Didn’t we retire this category a few years ago? No? You say we retired best theater group to give others a chance? Well, the Leebrick comes through with a win no matter what, its mix of new plays and experiments with classics (right now it’s running a Hedda Gabler that artistic director Craig Willis set in the 1950s and that theater reviewer Anna Grace raves about in this issue) giving Eugene audiences frissons of delight and knowledge. The Leebrick hosts the Northwest Ten, a playwrights’ fest focused on 10-minute plays; trains actors both young and returning to the stage; and, perhaps you’ve noticed, works on revitalizing downtown. Meanwhile, Soromundi Lesbian Chorus has a fierce and loyal fan base, providing community as well as music to its many members, and the Eugene Symphony, while perhaps attracting a large demographic that doesn’t vote in the Best of poll, serves as a shining example of excellent management and great music to orchestras around the country. Go Eugene! Win.

Best visual artist 

photo by trask bedortha

1. Claire Flint

2. (tie) Sean Äaberg | Adam Grosowsky

3. Shanna Trumbly

Flint’s delicate combination of photography and other media — encaustic, in particular, but not only — and her graphic design and illustration skills (yes, she did 2008’s Winter Reading cover, which you can see at make her a versatile artist exhibiting in many different kinds of venues. Her theatrically lit, color-saturated and chiarascuresque photos remind our visual arts editor of the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire, not to mention Twin Peaks. Tied at second are perennial fave Adam Grosowsky, oil painter extraordinaire, and Bang! arts editor Sean Äaberg, whose creations have also graced the EW’s cover and the Whiteaker Block Party program, and many other places to boot.

Best blog

photo by trask bedortha

1. Culinaria Eugenius 

2. EW! A blog

3. We Bike Eugene

Jennifer Burns Levin writes some food columns for the EW, and she writes some food pieces for the Register-Guard, and she teaches in the Clark Honors College, and she makes stunningly mouth-watering food, and she pickles hot peppers and makes cider vinegar and writes academic things and studies and analyzes and makes it all look wonderfully easy and normal on her charming, honest, Eugene-supportive blog, Culinaria Eugenius. Burns Levin was a strong voice in trying to keep the Oregon State University Extension program going, and she’s a strong voice in trying to help Willamette Valley farmers make a living with locally grown grains and beans. Pretty pictures! Recipes! A zest for life! Basically, best blog ever.

We won’t say much about our own blog, though thanks for the votes, but we do like (along with our Eugene Cycles) the smart and useful We Bike Eugene, whose editor, Mike Seager, writes a super biking column in Bang! and always has new info for us.

photo by sarah decker

Best journalist

1. Bob Welch, The Register-Guard

2. Serena Markstrom, The Register-Guard

3. (tie) Alan Pittman, Camilla Mortensen and Suzi Steffen , Eugene Weekly

Best writer

1. Bob Welch, The Register-Guard

2. (tie) Sally Sheklow, Eugene Weekly, Camilla Mortensen, Eugene Weekly

3. Dorcas Smucker, The Register-Guard

Hm, seems like another category or two that we should retire. Welch’s just-folks-like-you-other-Oregonians column appeals to a wide swath of Eugene, apparently, and even those of us who can’t take another cutesy Ducks story appreciate his ability to write movingly about other people’s experiences, loves, lives and, often, deaths. And some of us like his history books too. Welch could have a wall full of these awards, but he wrote a column last year just after Best of Eugene about how awards didn’t mean a thing to him, so we’re guessing they’re not pasted up at the R-G. His co-worker Serena Markstrom comes in second in the journalist category, while our columnist Sally Sheklow keeps nipping at Welch’s heels in best writer. Rounding out the places would be … us, which, hey, thanks! Camilla Mortensen hits in both categories, in a tie with Alan Pittman and Suzi Steffen for journalist. 










Staff Picks

Best of the Ballots