“Avenue of Elms,” artwork by Erik Sandgren

CORVALLIS, Ore. – “Parallels: Making the Avenue of Elms,” an exhibition of paintings by artist Erik Sandgren, is on display in the Strand Gallery through June 15.

The exhibition, presented by Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ “Art About Agriculture” program, is open to the public on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. A reception is scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m. on April 18, with remarks from the artist scheduled at 4 p.m.

The exhibition is the first time an artist’s process for creating a commissioned piece has been shown in the Strand Gallery, and the first time Sandgren has shared his artistic evolution of a project with the public.

“It is a rare and exciting opportunity to showcase an artist’s process,” said Owen Premore, directing curator of the Art About Agriculture program. “Typically, artists shy away from showing their work under development. This is a unique chance to see how the artist’s creative process evolved, and have conversations about how it compares with scientific inquiry.”

The OSU Foundation commissioned a commemorative piece from Sandgren in 2015 in recognition of nearly a decade of fundraising and construction efforts totaling $1.14 billion. Sandgren completed the commissioned piece in just over a month and also 24 corresponding paintings and 38 sketches. The final piece, along with 20 of the paintings and a digital catalog of the sketches, are featured in the exhibition.

“I tried my best to make this project an embodiment of the combinations of nature and husbandry, grandeur and accessibility which are uniquely the mission of this university,” Sandgren said. “More than anything it exists to invite your contributions to its web of associations.”

Sandgren, a former member of the art faculty at Grays Harbor College, is the son of Nelson Sandgren, the acclaimed painter and printmaker and former instructor at Oregon State University for 38 years, from 1948-1986.

The Art about Agriculture program at Oregon State University has been a part of the College of Agricultural Sciences since 1983 and encourages artists to investigate the visual resources of science and practice that sustain human life: agriculture.

The gallery is located in 440 Strand Agriculture Hall, 170 SW Waldo Place, Corvallis.

College of Agricultural Sciences

About the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences: Through its world-class research on agriculture and food systems, natural resource management, rural economic development and human health, the College provides solutions to Oregon’s most pressing challenges and contributes to a sustainable environment and a prosperous future for Oregonians.

Story By: 

Heidi Happonen, 541-737 9180, [email protected]


Owen Premore, 541-737-5534, [email protected]


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