Art is a refuge in our modern world. At its best it’s a transformative experience to take in the creative endeavor of another person, to clear your own mind and make room for another perspective. It’s therapeutic to just take in the beauty and challenging to see the world through another’s eyes and ears.
Chris Thomas, a Pendleton native and renowned composer, has turned an actual refuge into a piece of art with his symphony about the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
It was first dreamed up by Jay Bowerman, responding to the 2016 occupation of the land by militants protesting federal regulations. He wanted to restore the reputation of the place and present its beauty to wider audience.
Thomas and Bowerman toured the refuge, taking inspiration from the sounds of the birds who make Malheur their home. In it’s final form — which will be performed by the Central Oregon Symphony in nearby Burns in May — the piece in four parts will be accompanied by images from the refuge.
Thomas would love to bring the symphony to Pendleton, and we hope he does.
In the meantime, there are other free displays of art in the area that are well worth experiencing.
At the Pendleton Center for the Arts, the collage art of Cory Peeke is presented in the exhibit “On The Tip Of My Tongue.” It’s an attempt to convey an idea you feel you know but can’t quite explain. The exhibit is free through the month of February and features small samplings from several other artists.
Marie Noorani’s art is on display at the Betty Feves Memorial Gallery at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton. The exhibit is called “How It Looks On Paper,” in which she creates and destroys each piece into its final form. It’s open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through March 14.
And in Hermiston, the work of Andrea Murphy is on exhibit at the Hermiston Public Library. She’s a 2004 graduate from Hermiston High School who met her husband riding bulls at the Pendleton Round-Up and has lived across the West. She’s now back in Hermiston with two young sons and creating art that reflects the West.
We love to encourage artists to share their work, and the best way to do that is to see it. If you haven’t already, make it a point to visit these galleries, expand your mind and grow your world.