Contributed by J.D. Kindle
A commissioned piece of artwork by Pendleton artist Hiroko Cannon will help fund a newly created teaching position with the Oregon East Symphony.
“Firebird” was commissioned following a 2008 fire on Pendleton’s Main Street that destroyed the symphony office, said executive director J.D. Kindle.
“The Firebird, or Phoenix, is a Greek mythological being that is reborn from the ashes of the flames it perishes in,” Kindle explained. “It was a fitting metaphor for the symphony recovering from the fire.”
A “Firebird” fine art print — one of five created — was purchased by Shari and David Dallas. After framing the piece, the Pendleton couple donated it to the symphony. Kindle said the estimated value of the framed print is $2,000.
Bids are being accepted for “Firebird” through Friday, April 20. It will be awarded to the winning bidder during the symphony’s season finale concert Saturday, April 21 at the Vert Auditorium.
The framed print is currently in the window display at the Pendleton Downtown Association, 380 S. Main St. Throughout the bidding process, it will rotate to different Pendleton businesses and the symphony office, 345 S.W. Fourth St.
The Dallases are longtime supports of the arts, including visual and the performing arts. Shari served as president of the symphony board from 2010-12 and was vice president from 2007-10. Although she no longer serves on the board, Kindle said the couple remain consistent supporters.
While saddened to let the print go, Kindle said proceeds will be used to help meet community demands for additional classical strings education. The new teaching position will strengthen the symphony’s Playing For Keeps education offerings and increase the capacity for future program expansion, he said.
Cannon, who began her art career as a commercial and graphic illustrator in Japan, emigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s when her late husband got a job in Pendleton. Cannon found her niche with watercolors that depict birds, flora, insects and small animals after creating a painting with nearly a dozen birds for an auction to benefit Blue Mountain Wildlife.
After the auction, people approached Cannon asking how they could purchase her work. Soon after, Pendleton Center for the Arts asked her to create a painting, which resulted in a great blue heron standing on a piece of wood in the river. The piece, including intricate details in each feather, was amazing, said Roberta Lavadour, arts center executive director.
In 2015, Hiroko was one of 21 Oregon artists chosen to receive an Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant. She used the money to frame paintings for her first major solo exhibit in the art center’s East Oregonian Gallery. In addition to gallery shows, Cannon has worked on mural projects and creates greeting cards with her artwork.
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