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Opportunities for Elevating Our Collective Aesthetic IQ are on the Horizon 

Making Central Oregon a better place to live; Bright ideas for a changing community

click to enlarge COURTESY CATE O'HAGAN
  • Courtesy Cate O'Hagan
Creativity patched many of us through the pandemic. If we were among those who accomplished nothing, we were, quite possibly, gestating ideas. Meanwhile, the thrum of maker and artisan industry continued on. Our very vibrant maker and performer scene here is in no danger of diminishing any time soon, as long as there are places for artists to live and work. Keep an ear tuned to proposed discussions about the formation of a cultural district that might offer part of a remedy. Some day. Meanwhile, buy local art. Tip your musician.

From a regional cultural development perspective, opportunities for elevating our collective aesthetic IQ are on the horizon. Our new main branch library will be built to embrace performance and visual arts, just as the library will continue to do throughout its extensive branch library system (which will, by the way, remain intact). Congratulations are in order to the High Desert Museum for recently receiving the nation's highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. And pay very close attention to this: The Oregon-based Roundhouse Foundation gave the museum $6 million for exhibit and program upgrades, including providing the eastern side of the state with its first dedicated art museum. Having spent about a decade as a department head in art museums, I can tell you that running an art museum is a very different animal than operating a changing exhibit gallery. It is in fact a daunting undertaking that will require the informed pursuit of the best expertise the art museum field has to offer.

—After serving for 20 years in senior staff positions in art museums in Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C. for the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet and others, Cate saddled up and headed to Central Oregon where she worked for the Museum at War Springs, then as executive director for Arts Central, where she founded the region's first nonprofit art school, the Art Stations.

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