Corvallis Art Walk, Aug. 17: TOTALITY, soft/en, and Slow Looking

Artwork courtesy of Julia Oldham

What’s better than finally getting a break from that nasty heat wave? Finally getting a break from that nasty heat wave just in time for an August art walk to remember. This year has been jam-packed with memorable exhibits, but Corvallis has really managed to go the extra mile this time around. Below are a few highlights and everything else you need to get out on the CAW (though you can visit most of the venues anytime!). 

First off, OSU is really bringing the pain with TOTALITY, a five-week eclipse-themed mega-event designed to celebrate the collective human experience of the cosmos. There’s frankly too many artists and events involved to name them here, but thankfully Stevie Beisswanger penned a wonderful piece on the topic that you can find elsewhere in the issue (such as here: To put it simply, if I had to trade between seeing the eclipse and seeing every nook and cranny of this exhibit, I’d go with the latter every time. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do have a part in this… however, all I can think about is how much I’ll have to miss out on while I’m working! 

 Also of note this month is CEI ArtWorks’ and partner S/PLI/T Project’s soft/en exhibit, which features works from PDX artists, Chloe Cooper and Tessa Heck. I’m not super familiar with their work, but I will be soon. The images I’ve seen in the press kit are really gripping. If you’re looking for something that’s smart and edgy, find yourself at the CEI storefront this Thursday. Paintings, drawings. And 2D knit sculptures. Not familiar with S/PLI/T Projects? You should be. will get you where you need to be. 

 After speaking with curator Hester Coucke, I’m excited to share this month’s offering from The Arts Center: Slow Looking at The Arts Center. Think of the slow cooking movement, now apply it to your eyeballs and brain. It’s often hard to slow down and really take something in, especially in a typical gallery environment where there’s pressure to keep moving. The Arts Center has approached this problem and come up with a simple, but brilliant solution: put up some really wonderful work by David Carmack Lewis, as well as some from the Artful Solar Eclipse group show, and stick chairs in front of them. Plop yourself down in front of a painting or two, rather than circling the room for the whole show, and accept the invitation to really look – or even strike up a conversation with someone next to you. There’s no shame in enjoying a more robust experience, even if it comes by way of it requiring far more effort to stand back up than it does to just stay put. 

 As always, there’s a ton more going on than meets the page (so to speak), and I highly recommend you clear the evening and check out all the venues. For you newcomers, the Corvallis Arts Walk generally lasts from 4 until 8 p.m., but not everyone adheres to this rule. The current month’s participating venues can be found by visiting, or grabbing a map from one of the participating art spaces around town. 

By Johnny Beaver