On the occasion of its 20th Anniversary, Oregon’s third largest art museum is extending itself to the community with free admission, free lectures, free cake and more – a chance to savor the cultural jewel that the rests in the heart of the city.

“The museum is an invaluable resource to Salem,” says John Olbrantz, Director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. “It presents an encyclopedic collection of world art,” including work from Ancient Egypt, from Renaissance and Baroque periods, from Asia, Native America and contemporary sources. “Having 9,000 objects like these in Salem, Oregon is remarkable and unique.”

Since it opened its doors in October of 1998, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art has emerged as one of the premier academic museums in the nation. The museum has published 28 books focusing on regional artists, Native American art, and historical topics, making it one of the most active publishers in the region.

To celebrate its first 20 years, the Museum will offer free admission the entire week of October 2 – 7, with access to all three galleries and, on October 3, free cake, coffee and tea in the lobby all day and guided docent talks. The evening’s celebration will be a First Wednesday event sponsored by Bryn Mawr Vineyards and will include a complimentary lecture by Olbrantz.

All week, visitors will be able to take in important exhibitions, including, Witness: Themes of Social Justice in Contemporary Printmaking and Photography from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, which explores issues of race, identity, and social justice in contemporary printmaking and photography. More than 80 prints by 40 artists comprise the exhibit, sourced from one of the legendary privately owned print collections in the United States.

Witness was organized by Portland, Oregon art historian and scholar Elizabeth Bilyeu and is accompanied by a full-color, hardcover book with an essay by Bilyeu and an introduction by LeRonn Brooks, an assistant professor of African and African. American Studies at Lehman College. The book will be available for sale at the museum.

“All of the works in the exhibition are incredibly moving to me,” says Bilyeu, “both visually and conceptually. The prints and photographs, and the artists who make them, are very generous. You see this in the art.”

Bilyeu believes that all visitors “will find some sort of connection and also recognize misconnections. It’s easy to relate to many of the images–many are drawn from popular culture–but the stories are often surprising.”

The works displayed in Witness, Bilyeu says, “can provide a jumping-off point for more conversations around important topics like personal and societal histories, identity, and meanings of home and the environment. The works challenge us to look closer and to listen a little more carefully.”

20thAnniversary Celebration

Hallie Ford Museum of Art
700 State Street, Salem

Free admission October 2 – 7
Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.

Cake & refreshments all day October 3
with extended hours, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
and on October 3 at 7 p.m. a celebratory lecture by John Olbrantz