CORVALLIS, Ore. - The work of 17 handpicked artists is on display in the 31st year of an Oregon State University exhibit inspired by agriculture and its bounty.

The Art About Agriculture exhibit, sponsored by OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, runs through April 25 at LaSells Stewart Center on campus in Corvallis. The public is invited to meet the artists at a reception in the center's Giustina Gallery April 19 from 6-8 p.m.

The artwork will then be on tour May 10 to June 30 in Roseburg at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association at 1624 W. Harvard Ave. A public reception will take place there on the opening night from 5-7 p.m.

This year's work explores agricultural bounty and community - from consumers to marketers to farmers - in drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, wood and sculptures. Artists drew inspiration from vineyards, farmers markets and their own vegetable gardens. They hail from Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

One of them, Sally Finch of Portland, created an abstract piece depicting rainfall graphs of dryland farming. She used graphite and acrylic ink. Christine Bourdette of Portland produced six-inch bronze figurines riding potatoes. Lynn Miller of Sisters painted "Corn Shatter - Ditch Parrot's Dream" in oil on canvas.

The College of Agricultural Sciences convened a committee of art professionals to nominate artists to participate in the exhibit. Sally Houck, director of the Newport Visual Arts Center, and Irene Zenev, executive director of the Benton County Historical Society and Museum, judged the artwork. With more than $4,500, from patrons' annual gifts and program endowment earnings, the judges recommended purchasing some of the works for the college's permanent collection, and awarding Mike Van this year's only cash honorarium for his watercolor-and-charcoal piece, "All Will Be Fed."

"Art About Agriculture was created in response to a need to develop a bridge between rural and urban Oregonians," said OSU Professor Gwil Evans. He wrote the original grant proposal that funded the inaugural exhibit in 1983.  

Three decades later, 250 works of art in the exhibit's permanent collection grace the hallways, meeting rooms and offices at OSU, state agencies in Salem and government agencies throughout Oregon year-round, said Shelley Curtis, the directing curator for Art About Agriculture.

Participating artists:

Debra Beers - Portland, Oregon

Christine Bourdette - Portland, Oregon

Harrison Branch - Corvallis, Oregon

Mark Clarke - Eugene, Oregon

Sally Finch - Portland, Oregon

Caryn Friedlander - Bellingham, Washington

Yuji Hiratsuka - Corvallis, Oregon

Tracy Leagjeld - Portland, Oregon

Denise McFadden - Vancouver, Washington

Lynn Miller - Sisters, Oregon

Connie Mueller - Eugene, Oregon

Adam Ottavi - Ester, Alaska

Mike Rangner - Albany, Oregon

Sara Tabbert - Fairbanks, Alaska

Gary Tepfer - Eugene, Oregon

Maurice "Mike" Van - Eugene, Oregon

Jennifer Williams - Ridgefield, Washington

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Shelley Curtis, 541-737-5534