Wet Hot Art-merican Summer

EW's top summer picks for the visual arts

Many head for the hills, beaches, mountains and rivers to bask in what is the Great Oregon Summer. Others run for their paints, chalks, clays, sewing machines and cameras to capture the spirit of summer. Or dive into exhibits in museums and galleries (mmm, air conditioning). Summer in Oregon is  prime time to explore the arts, from Springfield to Coos Bay to Portland. Here are EW’s top summer picks for the arts:

The BIG INK Express

Beautiful big-ass prints. Can you dig it? Whiteaker Printmakers, the packed-with-talent community printmaking studio, is pairing up with BIG INK, a national collaborative printmaking organization that tours the country helping studios facilitate large-scale woodcuts with materials and guidance. On June 4-5, Whiteaker Printmakers will host BIG INK: Day 1 and Day 2. Participating artists were chosen at the end of March and have spent the past two months etching out images on plywood to then use on a press built in 1990 by Ray Trayle, the beloved PNW press maker. According to Whiteaker Printmakers, the bed of the press “measures a full 48 by 96 inches, and a 6-foot captain’s wheel makes its operation smooth and easy.” With the size of the tools, consider this a spectator sport.

 BIG INK: Day 1 and Day 2 run 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, at Whiteaker Printmakers, 1328 W. 2nd Ave; FREE.

Full Steam Ahead

It’s good to see you again, DaVinci Days — Corvallis’ Oregon Arts and Sciences Festival. The 25-year-old fest, which was on hiatus for two years, is back and celebrating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with the Graand Kinetic Challenge, in which teams duke it out by creating mobile sculptures and racing them for 10-plus miles, on and off road, on everything from city streets to sticky mud along the Willamette. STEAM will be the main focus of the fest, whose website marks this as the beginning of “a reinvented DaVinci Days.”

DaVinci Days runs July 15-18 at the Benton County Fairgrounds, Corvallis; visit davincidays.org for details.

Chalk It Up

In its third go-around, the Springfield Art & Chalk Fest is surely becoming one of the freshest visual art events of the year in the Eugene-Springfield area. Dozens of artists flock to downtown Springfield for the one-day fest in which participants of all ages create chalk masterpieces from morning to sundown. A panel then judges the pieces and cash prizes are awarded in adult ($100-$600) and youth ($100-$300) categories. It’s worth making a day of it; there’s tangible excitement as the crowd watches a fleet of artists transform a concrete lot into a patchwork quilt of colorful, experimental and ephemeral murals. And if the sun is beating down like it has in years past, Sprout! across the street provides the perfect shady haven for refreshments.

The Eugene Springfield Art Projects hosts the Springfield Art & Chalk Fest Saturday, Aug. 13; hours TBA; FREE.

Augene’s Got Talent

Like the Eugene Celebration, the Mayor’s Art Show seems to have been sucked into nothingness with the end of the Jacobs Gallery. But fret not: The downtown Karin Clarke Gallery has scooped up the annual show and transformed it into the Eugene Biennial, juried by painter Jon Jay Cruson, art collector Roger Saydack and gallery owner Karin Clarke. Artists have already submitted work, and the chosen ones will hang at the gallery Aug. 3-27. Come on, Eug — show us what you got!

A reception and award ceremony with cash prizes will run during First Friday ArtWalk 5:30 to 7:30 pm Aug. 5 at Karin Clark Gallery. 

Month-Long Fiesta 

Lane Arts Council brings back for a second year Fiesta Culturál, a month-long countywide event that highlights Latino artists in Lane County. The celebration kicks of with a salsa dance party to live music by Carlos Cascante y Su Tumba during September’s First Friday ArtWalk at Kesey Square. See contemporary Latin arts and crafts on many local art walks.

Fiesta Culturál starts 5:30 to 8 pm Friday, Sept. 2, at Kesey Square. Check in with lanearts.org for the full schedule of events.

Arts Afield

Coos Bay: The Coos Art Museum on the coast is celebrating 50 years. The museum is hosting CAM Community Days throughout the summer, with themed group art projects and demonstrations. Visit coosart.org for details and catch the 50th anniversary exhibit that delves into the museum’s history.

Albany: The Northwest Art and Air Festival runs Aug. 26-28 at Timber Linn Park in Albany. This kaleidoscopic event features candy-colored hot-air balloons dotting the sky and Northwest wood, glass, ceramic and other art wares filling the grounds. Visit nwartandair.org for details.

Portland: The Portland Art Museum presents Native Fashion Now, “the first large-scale traveling exhibition of contemporary Native American fashion,” June 4 through Sept. 4. This is bound to be one of the best exhibits of the summer. Meanwhile, the 10-day Time-Based Art Festival (TBA), hosted by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, has grown legendary for its edgy and exciting performances, installations, pop-up galleries and creative use of Portland’s public spaces. Mark your calendars for Sept. 8-18.