Explore Eugene’s art scene during Visual Arts Week

Eugene is widely known for its record-breaking track and field history and beautiful greenery thus earning names like “TrackTown USA” and the “Emerald City.” Less well-known is the city’s lively art hub. In 1981, Eugene made a commitment to the celebration of visual arts through the Percent for Art Ordinance, which recognizes the support of art and artists as an official function of the government. As a result, vibrant murals, art installations and cultural events can be spotted throughout the streets of Eugene.

In celebration of the city’s art scene, Lane Arts Council, Maude Kerns Art Center, ArtCity and City of Eugene Cultural Services have partnered up to host this fall’s Visual Arts Week taking place between Oct. 6-15. The week is packed with showcases, exhibitions, tours, workshops and a parade to top it all off.

Mayor’s Art Show (MAS)

Since 2018, the MAS exhibition has annually showcased local artists in public spaces. It strives to represent individuals “who are committed to enriching our community through visual arts,” according to the City of Eugene. This year, MAS will be open to the public on the second floor of the Downtown Eugene Public Library. The exhibition will include various pieces in 2D, 3D and digital art forms created by 41 artists. The show can be viewed in-person or online.


For those intending to make a day out of art viewing, make your way downtown to hop through gallery exhibits. This year, New Zone Gallery, MECCA, White Lotus Gallery, Karin Clarke Gallery, Museum of Techno Art, Art with Alejandro and ArtCity Studios will be hosting special exhibits just for Visual Arts Week. These galleries provide an art-filled adventure with a wide range of art styles.

Art Installations

This year, 10 artists in Eugene received stipends to create public art installations throughout the city opening up for Visual Arts Week. Paintings, sculptures, printed banners and audio projections are formats this year’s artists used to create powerful stories. One of the installations, a wire sculpture created by Kimberly Strohman, can be found on 260 W Broadway. The sculpture was made “to bring attention to lives impacted by pregnancy and infant loss and especially to honor those infants who taught love and grief in the same short breath,” Strohman said.

The installations are spread out around Eugene and community members can enjoy the show on foot or on anything with wheels via a self-guided tour following the Downtown Art Tour Map.

20X21 Mural Project tour

The City of Eugene Cultural Service’s Public Art Program set a goal to create 20 or more outdoor murals in Eugene before the 2022 IAAF World Championships. As a result, the “20×21” project was born. The project aspires to incorporate art as a way to build a sense of community in Eugene. One of the most valuable aspects of this project lies in its commitment to representing diversity in culture and identity through mural art. Kari Johnson’s mural right above FOOD for Lane County’s Dining Room door depicts a group of farmers collectively taking care of a colorful garden with an oak tree. Johnson’s mural directly calls out the emergence of global warming while also incorporating the oak tree as a symbol of Willamette Valley’s past as a home for native tribes, Johnson said.


If you’ve been waiting to let your creative side out, then this week is the perfect time for some self-expression. With various workshops open to the public, community members are able to try something new and take classes, some of which are free and others charging a fee. Curated for beginners and practicing artists, the workshops focus on different forms of art making. Block printing, water coloring, screen printing, figure painting, figure drawing, scratchboarding, plant drawing and still life sketching are all styles that will be explored through these workshops held at Maude Kerns Art Center and Whiteaker Printmakers.

BEAM Showcase

Labeled as an event of “Two Nights-Three Events,” this weekend has a lot to offer. This year’s theme is “ART iN MotiON,” which aims to celebrate what makes Eugene unique and hopes to bring people together in the spirit of being “BriGHT!” Beginning with the actual showcase on Oct. 13 from 7-8:30 p.m., BEAM will show pop-up illuminated art at the Downtown Eugene Park Blocks. On the 14, the Bright Parade will be held between 7-8:30 p.m. with the route starting and ending in the Fifth Street Market neighborhood. Choreographed performers will be showing off enticing skills such as juggling, dancing, roller skating, marching and hoop dancing. Alongside these performances, animal units, illuminated banners and non-motorized vehicles will be roaming the streets. To end the night, there will be an afterparty at the Farmers Market Pavilion from 8:30-10:30 p.m. consisting of a live DJ, a red carpet and food carts.

Visual Arts Week is a perfect introduction to the art world breathing in Eugene. It’s an opportunity for community members to come together by participating in art-making. Whether you’re looking for a sense of community or simply something to do, Visual Arts Week is waiting for you.

For more specific information on Visual Arts Week, check out the official website.

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