City art scene’s growing, lets keep it going!

City art scene’s growing, lets keep it going!

The Beaverton arts scene has grown significantly in recent years. We have come a long way, but still have further to go. I remember learning of plans for a center devoted to the arts in the late 1990s. I was enjoying a sunny farmer’s market when I was approached by a then city council member together with the mayor. They stopped and asked me, “How would you feel about the city investing in a center for arts?” I was thrilled because I knew the impact it could have. Two years ago, and after over 20 years of planning, we saw that idea come to life in the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts.

 

The Reser isn’t the only investment over the years.

Spanning out from The Round, there are numerous sculptures and murals the city and private businesses have funded to make our neighborhoods more vibrant. There are programs like Ten Tiny Dances that bring free performances to the city too. The Beaverton Library offers Design and Make labs with free equipment and materials to create art. Additionally, they host story times in multiple languages, author visits, book clubs, song circles, and writers’ groups. In the summer the city offers free community events centered around the arts such as concerts and movies in the park.

 

Boosting Civic Pride.

One might think that this is enough investment, but we can and should do more. Research shows that investment in the arts boosts the economy, lowers crime, and increases civic pride.

Searching for spaces to experience the visual arts, I found that the city is lacking. First of the month art walks offer openings of artwork to the public. These showcase our local visual artists. The list of places to view art in Beaverton on First Fridays is too short. Only seven local businesses currently participate in the art walk. These businesses are Kinder Home, Bootlegger’s Whiskey Bar, Binary Brewing, Syndicate Wine Bar, Jan’s Bookstore, Ickabod’s Bar and Grill, and Grey Raven Gallery. Normally, The Reser would also show art, but they had storm damage to the gallery and had to close it until later this year.

 

I would ask that more businesses participate by offering your walls to local artists.

With only one gallery, our city is not offering enough space to come together and view art that speaks about who we are. More places to gather, view, and talk about art is key to supporting our local artists who reveal to us our diversity, fostering unity and understanding.

 

Lets grow our arts community.

Lastly, I would encourage you, dear reader, to get out and experience the local art scene. The city of Beaverton website offers maps for art walks that show you where to find all our great public art. Take in a show at The Reser or Beaverton Civic Theater. Organize and seek out art events. We don’t have to wait for big philanthropic efforts or multiyear city initiatives to grow our arts community. We just need each other.

 

Amy Mower is a local artist and lifelong Beaverton resident. She is passionate about the future of the arts in our community.