Come Saturday, Aug. 5, the Corvallis Arts Guild will host its annual Clothesline Sale of Art at a new location.
The event, which began in 1961 on the Benton County Courthouse lawn, is moving to Central Park, where 50 artists are expected to showcase and sell a variety of artwork, from 2D paintings and photographs to ceramics, sculpture and woodwork.
One of this year’s participating artists is 15-year-old Sunny (Peyten) Littrell, who works in pencil sketches and paintings.
“I’m very excited because I’ll get the opportunity to showcase my art,” said Littrell, a student at Philomath High School who plans to display 10 to 15 pieces at the event.
In addition to art showcases, the organizers are incorporating elements of science into the event, a move CAG coordinator John Friedlander says is in no way an attempt to mimic or replace a beloved summer festival that shuttered in 2020, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Da Vinci Days, which began in 1989, combined art and music with elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Its popular race event, the Graand Kinetic Challenge, however, lives on although this year’s edition was canceled.
“We’re not consciously trying to chase da Vinci Days’ wind, and we didn’t anticipate the Kinetic Challenge’s cancelation,” Friedlander said, “but the path of the Clothesline Sale’s conceptual growth unexpectedly follows neatly in the path of a much-loved traditional Corvallis summer event.”
As part of this year’s event lineup, Oregon State University Fulbright Scholar Derek Fish will host two interactive sessions on Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library — from 1 to 3 p.m. for teens and tweens, and 4 to 6 p.m. for families — and from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Clothesline Sale on Aug. 5.
Friedlander and his real estate agent wife, Debi, who is also CAG president, met Fish late last year and were immediately taken by his work of using applied arts to teach science and math concepts at the Unizulu Science Centre in South Africa.
“Art will be nowhere without science,” Friedlander said, adding that both the practice of and appreciation for many kinds of art occur in line with small and big scientific concepts.
Speaking about the cancelation of this year’s Graand Kinetic Challenge, Friedlander said the CAG was already in conversation with Maxtivity, an arts-and-crafts creative space in Philomath whose kinetic sculpture “The Glory” has appeared in the GKC, before learning about the cancelation.
Although saddened by the announcement, Maxtivity was already on board, so it was very much a coincidence to have them at the sale, Friedlander said.
Maxtivity will also host activities based on longtime CAG member Carole Selberg’s science-in-art curriculum called “Working with Waves.”
Given the sale’s new, more spacious location, these program additions will not only allow the park’s grounds to be fully put to use but also offer a more robust array of activities for old and new guests and patrons.
“We certainly hope it will continue in some way next year,” Friedlander said about the new additions.
Another new development at this year’s Clothesline Sale will be the presence of members from six new art guilds. The Clothesline Sale has exclusively showcased the work of CAG members.
But participating this year are the Willamette Ceramics Guild, the Mid-Willamette Woodworkers Guild, the Contemporary Fiber Arts Guild, the Fire and Light Glass Guild, the Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild and the Willamette Valley PhotoArts Guild, which plans to erect a camera obscura at the event.
First-time attendee and artist Ute Vergin is a member of the Willamette Ceramics Guild. At the Clothesline Sale, Vergin will have a booth to display a variety of functional ceramics, from saucers and bowls to mugs and vases.
“It opens other avenues to me and gives me much more opportunities to showcase and sell my art,” Vergin said about the guild’s first-time participation.
For Gary Irwin, a member of the Mid-Willamette Woodworkers Guild, the decision to incorporate 3D artists and art to the Clothesline Sale feels much like an opening of doors to a new world.
At the event, Irwin will have a booth of his own, where he will display wooden bowls and hand mirrors inlaid with seashells and amethyst, as well as wooden platters with one-of-a-kind resin work.
Irwin is looking forward to “connecting with community members who appreciate nice art” and are deeply interested in the work that goes into making them.
Friedlander said the Clothesline Sale is happy to have opened up the event to more guilds and more art media and anticipate that this will, in turn, expand the variety of guests and patrons at the event.
“We support visual artists and art,” he said of the CAG’s founding mission, “and that doesn’t say 2D artists only.”
The event is named for a clothesline-like display system that began as an actual clothesline with clothespins holding unmatted art pieces, then evolved to use steel rope and chicken wire.
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