Oregon Culture Nights offer traditional arts as summer fun

A series of summer evening events at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History showcases the rich diversity of Oregon’s artists and cultural practices.

The Oregon Culture Nights take place Thursday evenings in August at 6 p.m. outdoors in the museum courtyard and are free to those with a current UO ID. Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy the heritage performances and demonstrations.

First begun in 2021, Oregon Culture Nights showcases the work of master artists from the Traditional Arts and Apprenticeship Program, an initiative of the museum's Oregon Folklife Network.

“The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program helps sustain cultural practices, supporting these traditions to endure from one generation to the next,” said Emily West Hartlerode, associate director of the Oregon Folklife Network. “Each of these culture-keepers exhibits artistic excellence and deep knowledge of the historic context for these traditions. They know what remains consistent, and what innovations have changed their traditions over centuries.”

August 10: South Indian classical music with Sreevidhya Chandramouli

Chandramouli is a 10th-generation descendant of the Karaikudi Vina Tradition of South India. A Karaikudi Vina is a fretted, stringed instrument indigenous to South India, Chandramouli is both a performer and maker of the instrument. 

August 17: Traditional charrería with José Antonio Huerta

Huerta performs traditional charrería, which is a skill and traditional art form that involves horsemanship, cattle work and sophisticated rope techniques. Huerta has been performing charrería for more than 19 years.

August 24: Hula Dance with Kumu Hula Andrea Luchese

Luchese is the Kumu Hula, or master teacher, for Halua Hula Ka Pi’o O Ke Anuenue, “The Arch of the Rainbow,” a Hawaiian cultural dance school where the primary focus is Hula Kahiko, or ancient style; hula ‘auana, or modern style; oli, or chant; and na mea hula, art, crafts, implements. The audience will be invited to chant along with performers as they perform traditional dances.

By Lexie Briggs, Museum of Natural and Cultural History
—Top photo: (From left)
Sreevidhya Chandramouli, José Antonio Huerta and Andrea Luchese