Partnership expands support to Oregon artists

A book produced on the Connective Conversations series.

The UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts and the Ford Family foundation have added two new partners to a program that gives more Oregon artists access to visiting curators and art critics.

The Oregon College of Art and Craft and the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College are now part of the Connective Conversations, Inside Oregon Art initiative. The series brings professional curators and critics from outside the Northwest to conduct one-on-one studio visits with established artists, deliver lectures and join in community conversations.

Connective Conversations, Inside Oregon Art began in 2011. The program enriches and strengthens the Oregon visual arts by drawing on the national and international connectivity, reputation and intellect of all of the partners. The expanded partnership continues through 2019 as a key element of The Ford Family Foundation’s visual arts program, which honors interest in the visual arts by the late Hallie Ford, a co-founder of the foundation.

The first phase of the program culminated with the book “Curator and Critic Tours Connective Conversations: Inside Oregon Art 2011-2014 The Ford Family Foundation and University of Oregon.” Released in fall 2015, the full-color volume documents the work and workplaces of 70 contemporary Oregon visual artists.

“The program has illuminated and connected these artists in so many interesting ways, and to see it all emerge, powerfully, over the first four years has been breathtaking,” said Kate Wagle, UO Department of Art professor and principal organizer of the Connective Conversations program for the architecture school. “The mantra of the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts is to ‘make good.’ Contributing to the health and future of art and artists in our state has been an exceptional opportunity to do just that.”

Connective Conversations has brought notable curators to Oregon to meet artists and conduct studio visits. Included among them have been George Baker, associate professor of art history at UCLA; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; Suzanne Ramljak, curator of the American Federation of the Arts and editor of Metalsmith magazine; Anne Ellegood, senior curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and Michael Darling, the James W. Alsdorf Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.