Summer may be slow, but the campus arts scene still sizzles

Movie still, 'Kubo and the Two Strings'

According to the internet, July is Anti-boredom Month. Luckily, there are plenty of arts events and activities to fill up your entire summer.

In July, the annual Oregon Bach Festival dominates the music scene in Eugene with performances at numerous venues around town. Bring the family out for an outdoor screening of “Kobo and the Two Strings” or enjoy a fun afternoon of fun, food and culture at a festival celebrating Huerto de la Familia, or the Family Garden. Looking for a place to beat the heat? Two campus museums and the Knight Library offer cool spaces and bounteous exhibitions and collections for you to leisurely peruse all summer long.


On July 31, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art presents its annual outdoor family film, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” an epic action adventure produced by the Portland-based animation studio Laika, which produced “Missing Link,” “Boxtrolls,” “Paranorman” and “Coraline” with stars such as Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and Brenda Vaccaro providing the voices of the characters.


Join the five international artists creating colorful paintings on the exterior walls of Eugene buildings during the 2019 Eugene Walls festival for an outdoor reception at the art museum July 31.

Want to explore your artistic side? The Craft Center in the Erb Memorial Union is open throughout the summer and offers a variety of workshops and classes in woodworking, fiber arts, photography, glass working, metal/jewelry, painting, ceramics, paper arts and printmaking. Or, if you just want to do your own thing, craft studio membership is free for all UO students.

Exhibitions and collections

Drawing of turtlesThe tranquil summer months are an excellent time to peruse the many collections offered at UO’s two campus museums and library. Beat the heat at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History and view more than 125,000 objects, from fossils to geological specimens, in their vast collections covering the fields of anthropology, paleontology, zoology and geology.

Visit the museum of art and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the galleries, which house selections from extensive holdings of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and American art, or grab lunch at the Marche Museum Café. Be sure to catch “Korda y el espíritu de la Revolución cubana,” or “Korda and the Spirit of the Cuban Revolution,” before it leaves the museum July 24; “Mohau Modisakeng: Passage” and “Graceful Fortitude: The Spirit of Korean Women” are on view through Aug. 4, and “Flor y canto: Diego Rivera’s La Ofrenda and Rufino Tamayo’s Perro aullando a la luna” will be exhibited through Aug. 25.

Common Thread imageOrganized by a UO student curatorial team, “Common Thread: Reflections on Aesthetic Culture,” an exhibit at the art museum is designed to promote discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion. The exhibition focuses on how the intentional choices of clothing and wearable attire reflect personal, academic and social influences. The exhibit runs through Sept. 8.

Journey to the Third Dimension: Tom Cramer Drawings and Paintings 1977-2019” opens Aug. 17 at the museum. Cramer is widely known for his intricate relief paintings of nature and the cosmos, and the exhibition explores the artist’s work over a 45-year span through a selection of wood burnings and relief paintings.

On exhibition starting Aug. 24 are the unique sculptural compositions called aggregations by South Korean artist Kwang Young Chun. Aggregations mimic crystal formations, asteroids or the surface of the moon that evoke feelings of beauty and violence, power and fragility.

So much more than simply a place to read and study, the Knight Library offers an abundance of ongoing exhibitions as well, including “Red Thread: A Journey through Color,” “Public Domain,” “The March,” “Framing the West: Photography in the Age of Manifest Destiny” and “Yōkai Senjafuda,” a fascinating digital exhibition that focuses on tiny slips of paper — senjafuda — that depict Japanese ghosts, monsters and more.

Cultural festival

Head over to the art museum July 20 for an entertaining afternoon of art, music and food at Somos Comunidad: Una Celebracion Cultural/We Are Community: A Cultural Celebration. Art Bridges supports this celebration of Huerto de la Familia and its community partners Centro Latino Americano and Downtown Languages.

Join the Friendly Area Neighbors Equity Action Team on July 21 for its annual picnic at Westmoreland Park. Participate in the unveiling of a mural on the wall of the community center honoring the legacy of professor Edwin Coleman Jr., who died in 2017. Coleman was a tenured member of the faculty of the University of Oregon’s Department of English as well as a human and civil rights activist and community leader.


Dominating the music category in July, of course, is the annual Oregon Bach Festival, which celebrates the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy through a slate of concerts and performances by national, international and local artists. Beginning June 28 and running through July 13, events will be held at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, UO’s Beall Concert Hall and at several local churches.

A sampling of events include Radiohead, Coltrane and Bach, a West Coast-based alt-classical group presenting a blend of traditional classics and pop music favorites on June 29; New Kids on the Blockflöte, Baroque music performed by Berwick Academy for Historically Informed Performance on July 1, and Brooklyn Rider: Healing Modes, which explores the healing properties of music from historical and cultural perspectives, July 2. On July 8, Grammy award-winning organist and composer Paul Jacobs returns to the festival to perform Vierne’s Organ Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Mozart, and Bach. To view the full lineup of this season’s performances, visit Oregon Bach Festival.


A special highlight of this year’s Oregon Bach Festival will be the July 5 performance of Bach in Motion. Combining music, movement and mixed ability awareness, this new work featuring DanceAbility International and the UO Department of Dance presents excerpts of Bach’s work performed through the lens of dance.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications