Chemeketa Courier

Art Gallery honors its namesake, Gretchen Schuette

By Gage Jordan

Since 1982, Chemeketa’s art gallery has not had an official name, until now.

On Oct. 21, Chemeketa’s art gallery was formally dedicated to Gretchen Schuette, the former college president who retired in 2007.

A cheerful crowd of artists, friends, and Chemeketa staff attended the formal dedication this past Friday.

More than 80 people attended the hour-long celebration.

Schuette donated a substantial amount of money to Chemeketa’s art program while she was president. Her most recent contribution was for $487,000.

Debora Trousdale, the current coordinator of the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery, said, “The interest on that money, which has been added to by other donors, is dedicated to supporting gallery shows that promote attention to social diversity and social justice.”

Joining in on the festivities was Gary Westford, an artist and instructor at Linn-Benton Community College. On display at the Schuette gallery was Westford’s painting, titled “The Wreck of Hope.”

“We have all been asleep. I no longer want to be asleep,” Westford said.

Westford’s painting is a reinterpretation of Casper David Friedrich’s painting, which originally made in 1842.

April Waters, a Salem-local artist, also made an appearance. Her oil canvas painting, titled “Cindy Sheehan Peace Mom,” is not easy to miss because it is so large.

Yet despite all the art and artists in attendance, the event was in honor of Schuette.

“I love this place, and I love what people have done with it over the years,” she said. “I have always been incredibly grateful for this gallery, and other galleries, but this one in particular because of the community it creates with the people of Chemeketa.”

According to Chemeketa’s staff, the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery serves the purpose of collecting and displaying local talent.

Laura Mack is a painting and drawing instructor at the Chemeketa Salem campus.

“The art has to be seen. And that’s where the rule of the gallery comes in. We keep the gift of creation moving. This place is a real gem on campus. Looking at art encourages reflection and understanding, moving outside of your comfort zone, and also tolerance,” Mack said.

As time goes on, art will pass through the newly named art gallery of Chemeketa, but the name it has been given is there to stay.