Dennis “Craig” Canoy was born in 1943 in Silverton, Oregon, to Frances Grace Walker and Virgil David Canoy. He had two siblings: Kent Canoy and Shelley DeSimone. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Craig enjoyed hiking, backpacking, free-heel skiing, and rock-climbing, including ice and snow climbing.
Craig earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and thereafter taught art and design in the Hillsboro Union High School District for three decades. He lived in several cities on the western side of Oregon before relocating to La Grande upon retirement in the 1990s. He loved the Elkhorn Mountains, Anthony Lakes, and the Owyhee high country of southeast Oregon.
Often focused on depicting the beauty of the natural world, Craig worked primarily in pastel. He exhibited his work in three galleries in Oregon, including Portland State’s Littman Gallery, the Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art at Pacific University, and Peterson’s Gallery in Baker City.
Upon his death in 2020, Craig made a cash bequest to Art Center East (ACE) and left his art collection to ACE for the purposes of fundraising. Many of the pieces in the collection are his own work, but he also was actively attentive to and collected the work of regional artists. A benefit show was held in Summer 2021 to honor his legacy. Proceeds from this exhibit represent an investment in the community art classes and events that draw on the power of artistic expression to nourish us and connect us to one another through the joy of encountering and creating art.
Thomas “Tom” Madden was a poet, writer, and teacher who believed that poems grow from the intersection of personal and cultural history in the context of both exterior and interior landscapes. He taught English, Writing, and Journalism at Eastern Oregon University for twenty-five years and led poetry workshops at Art Center East after his retirement from EOU in 2000.
He enjoyed teaching community members to write poems about many subjects, especially the natural environment, helping them craft short pieces about landscape, seasons, weather, plants, and animals. He was above all else a teacher and emphasized a constructive, friendly atmosphere in his classes and workshops.
A native of Montana, Tom studied at Carroll College in Helena and earned graduate degrees at the University of Montana, where he studied with poet Richard Hugo, and at the University of Oregon. Early in his career, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers, including the Portland Oregonian. He published three collections of poems: Graves in Wheat (1998), Lessons for Custer (2006)—a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 2007, and This Dialect of Grass (published posthumously in 2019). He also wrote short plays, book reviews, and a libretto for a children’s opera. Tom resided in La Grande, Oregon, with his wife and three children from 1975 until his death in 2017.