CORVALLIS, Ore. — Tickets are now on sale for the 2024-2025 season at the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts (PRAx) at Oregon State University, which includes performances by PRAx’s inaugural artist-in-residence, jazz luminary and five-time Grammy award winner esperanza spalding.

The lineup expands on PRAx’s inaugural season with more events centering dance, more art-science collaboration and more Indigenous jazz music. The season is built around the theme “Water and Watersheds.”

PRAx stands for Patricia Reser Arts, with the “x” signifying the center’s intersections between the arts and other academic disciplines. The center is named for Patricia Valian Reser, OSU alumna and volunteer leader, who has given $36 million to the OSU Foundation for the arts at Oregon State, including $25 million for PRAx.

The center officially opened April 6 and boasts six venues suited for a range of shows: a concert hall, a black box theater, an art gallery, an open lobby space, an outdoor arts plaza and a native plant-themed outdoor garden.

As part of the partnership with spalding, a cohort of students from various artistic disciplines across OSU will work with the Portland-based artist on a yearlong collaborative installation.

“What’s so cool about esperanza spalding is that she’s this big, iconic figure, one of the greatest jazz musicians of this generation; she has a giant global stage and iconicity, but her work is deeply rooted in community,” said Peter Betjemann, Patricia Valian Reser executive director of PRAx. “She is not interested in popping into places, doing a big show, then popping out and collecting a paycheck.”

She created her most recent album, “Songwrights Apothecary Lab,” after spending several months in three communities in the U.S. collaborating with musicians, researchers and health care practitioners to produce music that is healing and “life-renewing.” Spalding’s OSU residency will be centered around a similar project, and she will also give two public performances with her dance company, Off Brand G, on April 17-18, 2025, in Detrick Hall.

Spalding's residency is funded by an endowment from Reser.

To launch the season, PRAx is partnering with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences to present “Rising,” a performance that combines music, dance and spoken word to reflect on rising temperatures, sea levels, and humanity’s increasing awareness of how changing oceans affect us.

Also at the start of the season, the exhibition “How to Carry Water” will be on display in the Stirek Gallery from Sept. 20-Dec. 21, with artists from multiple disciplines exploring alternate methods for witnessing the human relationship with water.

The Indigenous Jazz Club series includes three performances, one per term, all curated by Julia Keefe (Nez Perce), jazz vocalist and artistic director of the series. The Indigenous Jazz Club highlights Native performers who are expanding on the long tradition of Indigenous jazz music, and the series builds on the PRAx opening-night performance by Keefe and the Delbert Anderson (Diné/Navajo) Quartet.

The season includes two dance events with robots: Huang Yi & KUKA in October, in which the choreography weaves human movement together with that of a large robot; and Dance2 in January, in which audience members influence the human-robot dance in real time by submitting suggestions via cellphone. Also in January, the Push/FOLD Dance Company will perform “Early,” an intimate, sculptural homage to the human body and human relationships.

OSU President Emeritus Ed Ray makes his PRAx debut in October with two benefit performances of the play “Love Letters,” in which he and Charlotte Headrick will read correspondence exchanged between two friends over 50 years.

Most events offer student tickets for $5. The season is full of events and performances to appeal to a wide audience, Betjemann said.

“We have an ambitious schedule,” he said. “We’re figuring out how to manage relatively quick changes from performance to performance, event to event. PRAx has something for everyone in 24-25.”


About the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts (PRAx): A 49,000-square-foot performing and visual arts center, PRAx features six venues that present content by professional and student artists in music, theatre, movement arts, media, film, creative writing and emerging mediums. Through performance, residency programs and special initiatives that stress the relationships between arts, science and technology, PRAx advances the integration of arts and humanities with disciplines across Oregon State University.

Story By: 

Molly Rosbach, [email protected]


Peter Betjemann, [email protected]


Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.