For a local gallery, art is political
Art activism is a relatively new phenomenon in Central Oregon that can take many forms, from street art to performance art and installations. It can be a powerful way to bring attention to important issues and inspire change. One local art collective has been a leader in showcasing work that addresses important social and political issues.
Scalehouse Gallery aims to intersect art and activism by featuring various artists and activists that use art as a means of promoting social and political change. It is one of the only contemporary art centers outside of Portland and Eugene that displays art that addresses specific issues or raises awareness about certain causes.
“40% of our shows are from underrepresented groups or people. I think that we naturally lean towards activism, whether it’s overt or if it’s just kind of an undertone of the shows we have.”Gallery manager Lauren Seiffert said.
In January, Scalehouse partnered with Planned Parenthood and The World Muse to present an educational series called “Body Sovereignty.” The series not only provided a communal discussion space, but also presented medical facts and sex education for attendees.
“One of our goals is to really bring contemporary and political art to Central Oregon. I think that because we are kind of the only one a lot of our mission falls into being educational,” Seiffert said.
For COCC students interested in the world of art and activism, opportunities to get involved at Scalehouse are endless. “Artists are often really excited to do a talk tour with students, so walking them through the gallery and talking about their process and their thinking behind pieces, a little bit less formal than an actual artist’s talk,” Seiffert said.
Students are also encouraged to volunteer at the gallery by working events, helping to set up art, or gallery sitting.
Art has been used throughout history as a means of expression and to bring attention to important issues. By combining art and activism, this collective has a significant impact on raising awareness and inspiring action in Central Oregon.