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Midtown Arts Center: A Quiet Surprise for for the Visual Arts Community

By permission of the artist
Susie Morrill is one of the Feature Artists in the big PhotoZone show at the Midtown Arts Center. "Russian Bride"

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts Review Program. I want to personally invite you to a lavish exhibit of 83 photographs currently showing at a location you may not yet have visited: The new Midtown Arts Center on 16th and Pearl in Eugene.

By permission of the artist
"ASean" a portrait of social commentary by Glenn Newland, one of the two featured artists at the big PhotoZone show currently exhibiting at the Midtown Arts Center Gallery.

The photography show is hosted by the PhotoZone Photography club here in Lane County, so you know you’re seeing the best of the best. There are two featured artists, Susie Morrill and Glenn Newland, both of whom explore images with important messages of social commentary. Among the various gallery spaces at the Midtown, there are two large conference rooms with glass walls, so people entering the building can look to their right and immediately see the two walls of these artists' photographs.

In addition, there is an atrium showcasing large vertical abstracts by Patrick Plaia. Turn right, and you’re in a long, spacious, gallery-lit hall.

By permission of the artist
Two dramatic vertical abstracts dominate the atrium showspace at the Midtown Art Center Gallery.

It’s quite a show, and you should go see it.

But I also want to tell you about the venue. Midtown Arts is the entire bottom three floors of the building, and the upper levels are condos. It was completed in 2021 and is primarily dedicated to dance. There are rehearsal halls the same sizes as the two big Hult Center stages. The building houses all the major non-profit arts organizations, from the Lane Arts Council to Chamber Music Amici.

The art gallery spaces were built into it from the beginning, so everything is staged and lit to the highest standards any visual artist could wish for.

By permission of the artist
Sandi O'Brien's luminous photographs grieve the passing by fire of so many of the sacred sites up on the McKenzie River and elsewhere.

I also always love to highlight shows at what I call little pocket galleries, and there’s a gem at O'Brien Imaging on 2833 Willamette in Eugene called “In Memoriam: After the Holiday Farm Fire” by Sandi O’Brien. Many of these richly textured and often lush photographs are infra-red, inverting the black and white world. She is honoring sacred places like Delta Campground that were lost in the fire. It is a lovely show–do try to see it.