Oregon Shakespeare Festival

June is a big month for the arts, because so much activity shifts out-of-doors: outdoor plays, outdoor concerts, outdoor festivals.  You'll hear a few on June's First Friday Arts Segment. 

Any Friday is something of an event. First Friday is a slightly bigger deal in the arts world, as several communities in our region observe First Friday Art Walks.  The Exchange goes with the flow, with our monthly First Friday Arts segment. 

We open the phone lines (800-838-3760) and invite arts organizations from throughout the listening area to call in with details of arts events in the coming weeks... from fine art to open mike nights, all arts events are fair game. 

Geoff Ridden/Facebook

The first Friday of any month has become a day to celebrate the arts around our region. 

Several communities hold First Friday art walks, and some hold similar observances on other weekend days. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.  Want to know what events are coming, or let people know?  Here's your chance.

Eugene Opera

Louisa May Alcott lit a fire that still burns when she wrote "Little Women" a century and a half ago.  Who knew people were still clamoring to read the book today?  

  Or that people love it enough to transform it into different art forms?  Case in point: Eugene Opera's presentation of "Little Women" as an opera, written in 1998 by Mark Adamo.  

  Men in Nigeria--okay, some of them--believe that people with mysterious powers can steal their penises.  

You may chuckle, but remember that people on this continent once hanged women as witches.  Such is the stuff of Frank Bures's latest book, "The Geography of Madness."  

Bures traveled the world to discover some truly astounding beliefs and the reasons people believe them.

The Japanese-style swords turned out by Dragonfly Forge in Coquille are so authentic (and expensive) that the makers turned down the chance to make swords for "The Last Samurai" for free. 

Father Michael Bell and son Gabriel are the dedicated swordsmiths of Dragonfly, using techniques that predate them by centuries. 

And people not only pay handsomely for custom swords, they pay for lessons in how to make their own.

Betty LaDuke's artwork looks like it could have come from somewhere in Africa or Latin America.  Which is no surprise, when you look at the extremely long list of places LaDuke has traveled, including Africa and Latin America.

She has a knack for taking the ordinary and cranking up the color, celebrating people and places and actions that humans have performed for eons. 

She's recently released a book showing her work celebrating farm and orchard workers.  Her royalties from book sales will go to a fund she started for education for farmworkers' children.

Southern Oregon University

Lots of us pick up old guitars and other musical instruments at yard sales and antique stores. 

But the Schuman family took the pursuit seriously. 

The result is the Schuman Collection of musical instruments, a large cache of instruments from several centuries and many places around the world. 

Stephen Bacon of Bellwood Violin in Ashland is the appointed conservator of the collection. 

Chronicle Books

Now THIS may be a first: after all the book interviews we've done, our first (we think) coloring book.  But we won't be talking about Batman or Minions or Casper The Friendly Ghost, because this coloring book is for adults. 

Steve McDonald is the creator of Fantastic Cities, a perusal of urban spaces that exist in the real world, plus a few that exist only in the artist's mind. 

Steve McDonald says the people who buy and color in his book will help him complete the art he started there. 

He joins to talk about the vision behind his project. 

Rogue Valley Messenger

Bill Hahey is equally at home on guitar, keyboards, or trumpet.  We assume not at the same time. 

Bill, a member of DUDE (Disabled United in Direct Empowerment), joins us in studio with music and chat, as part of our First Friday Arts Segment.  

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.

Workman Publishing

It's a little hard to describe the work of Austin Kleon

He's an artist, sure... but in both visual forms and in words. 

For example: he created "blackout poetry," the art of making poems by grabbing the newspaper and blacking out the words you DON'T need. 

Austin continues his spreading of creativity to all comers in The Steal Like An Artist Journal: A Notebook For Creative Kleptomaniacs

Start warming up your voice.  Friday is here, and with it, the return of our First Friday Arts Segment.

And we'll be singing a cappella with the Rogue Valley Harmonizers, our featured guests in our First Friday Arts segment. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.

Once in a while, it's a good thing to step back and take stock of the accomplishments in a particular field.

Especially art. 

And the planned Portland 2016 Biennial will feature recent works from artists all across Oregon, the first of its kind in several years.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Ashland's "other professional theatre" is having a landmark year.  The Oregon Cabaret Theatre is under new ownership/managers, and celebrating a 30th season in business.

Artistic Director Valerie Rachelle is our featured guest on this month's First Friday segment. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.

Join the free-for-all by calling with details about arts events in your town... 800-838-3760 around the region.

Photo: Jenny Graham / | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

When times are tight, the arts are often the first to meet the ax. But what about the cost of NOT supporting the arts in society? Dollars and cents won’t tally that.  

A new initiative is seeking out more poetic measures, by asking people what they value about art and how to best express those values. 

Promoting Art At The Grants Pass Museum

Feb 20, 2015
Grants Pass Museum of Art

36 years ago, Oregon was not blessed with abundance of art museums. 

The Grants Pass Museum of Art became the fourth at that time, and it is still going strong today. 

It's an accomplishment for a place that started in a 20 x 24-foot upstairs room downtown. 

The museum celebrates past, present and future at its Black, White, & The Blues event this weekend. 

Working It Out In Art Therapy

Feb 12, 2015
People's Art

Some of us need to get through our "stuff" by talking it out.  Therapy is a big business in America. 

But sometimes talking just doesn't do it, and some other activity is called for… like creating art. 

Art therapy gives clients a chance to express themselves without just talking. 

Art therapist Delaine Due does this for a living in the Rogue Valley. 

On Point(e): The Eugene Ballet's Boss

Nov 7, 2014

There are some classic works in the ballet canon. 

And then there are the works staged by the Eugene Ballet Company

Co-founder and artistic director Toni Pimble frequently reaches outside the canon to create new works. 

Last year: Bolero.  This year: Tommy.  As in the rock opera by The Who. 

Medford's New Downtown Art and Sound Event

Sep 18, 2014

Medford comes alive this weekend (September 19-20) with a brand-new event. 

The downtownART+SOUND (that's how the organizers spell it) will present music and visual arts at a number of venues around Medford. 

Those include an art display at the Holly Theatre, the first real event at the Holly in nearly three decades. 

Working Through Life's Challenges Through Art

Sep 12, 2014

Can a paintbrush be a good substitute for a fist? 

In some cases, yes. 

Think about it… young people dealing with some of life's thornier problems can act out in a number of ways, including through violence. 

But when they are given a chance to express themselves through art... the story changes. 

That's the approach of the Life Track program, a project that combines Medford's LifeArt program with the counseling services of OnTrack. 

Helping Artists Overcome Obstacles

Sep 4, 2014

The history of art is chock-full of stories of people who burned with creative fire and talent… and few people ever heard of them. 

Artists are not necessarily good at business or marketing. 

That's where Patricia Morrison and Delaine Due come in. 

Patricia's business is called Inner Fire, Outer Light; she helps artists finish projects and set themselves up in business.