CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts at Oregon State University today announced the lineup of events and performances for its inaugural season for spring 2024, with tickets going on sale Nov. 15.
The $75 million, 49,000-square foot PRAx, short for Patricia Reser Arts, with the “x” signifying the intersection between the arts and other academic disciplines, is still under construction on OSU’s Corvallis campus. The center will have its grand opening and first public performance on April 6.
“In booking the opening season, we focused on putting in something for everyone, with performances in a really wide range of genres,” said Peter Betjemann, Patricia Valian Reser Executive Director at OSU. “We want PRAx to feel like a house for all audiences.”
PRAx has six venues suited for hosting different types of events and shows: a concert hall, a black box theater, an outdoor arts plaza, a garden, an indoor art gallery and a lobby.
The April 6 open house will feature art installations that involve art, science and technology. Temporary artworks by Fernanda d’Agostino and Rick Silva will be on display, as will PRAx’s only permanent artwork: a bioacoustics data sculpture created for PRAx by digital artist Refik Anadol, whose generative AI work “Unsupervised” was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Celtic rock group the Derina Harvey Band, classical and jazz pianist Aaron Diehl and Chicano band Las Cafeteras are among the initial performers.
The first gallery exhibition will be an interactive series of displays and historical objects demonstrating how science and technology have driven the development of pop music over the past 150 years.
The early season also includes an immersive theatrical production in which actors interact with the audience, and an intimate virtual reality experience exploring the links between young people’s technology use and insomnia.
“We’ve got programming that you cannot get elsewhere in the Willamette Valley,” Betjemann said. “That’s going to be our special niche for really drawing people to Corvallis.”
Betjemann is particularly excited for audiences to hear musical performances in the 490-seat Lynne Hallstrom Detrick Concert Hall, as it was designed by the same acoustic engineers who designed Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.
“Acoustically, we’re talking about a space that is going to be one of the premier spaces in the Northwest,” he said.
The center is named for OSU alumna Patricia Reser in recognition of her $25 million lead gift to the facility, which she made through the OSU Foundation as part of its $1.75 billion Believe it campaign.
As OSU’s new hub for initiatives that showcase the intersections between the arts and sciences, PRAx aims to expand audiences’ understanding of what art is, Betjemann said.
“My definition of art is not a label that we attach to particular kinds of objects or performances. My definition of art is something that provides you new perspective on the world,” he said. “So we have really focused our bookings on experiences that are profound in one way or another.
“We don’t want to think about art at PRAx as a decorative endeavor; we want to think about it as a meaningful endeavor,” he said.
Public ticket sales will open at 9 a.m. Nov. 15. Purchasing season tickets or series tickets allows guests to create their own packages of events at a 10%-25% discount. For more information, email [email protected].
The Friends of PRAx membership program has also launched. To become a donor or member and gain access to presale tickets, visit prax.oregonstate.edu/give.
About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts includes the fine and performing arts, humanities and social sciences, making it one of the largest and most diverse colleges at OSU. The college's research and instructional faculty members contribute to the education of all university students and provide national and international leadership, creativity and scholarship in their academic disciplines.