LA GRANDE — The Co-Op Gallery at Art Center East will soon have a new name, but the final decision is up the community.
Through March 10, votes can be cast for one of four area artists who were nominated posthumously. The artist who receives the most votes will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 11, during the closing reception for the Fiber Arts & Jewelry exhibit.
Darcy Dolge, ACE executive director, asks that people vote only once.
Votes can be cast at www.artcentereast.org, by calling the art center at 541-624-2800, or in person at ACE, 1006 Penn Ave.
ACE is open Wednesday through Friday, noon-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Co-op Gallery was originally without gallery lighting and mainly used for events. A grant, Dolge said, “allowed us to give the gallery a facelift.”
The art center decided to name it in honor of a local artist and compiled names suggested by the community and staff, then sought permission from the artists’ families.
Dolge said a difficult selection process awaits voters: “There is no wrong choice because this is such a beautiful group of people.”
Here’s a look at the nominated artists:
Dennis ‘Craig’ Canoy
Canoy 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 Southeastern Oregon.
Often focused on depicting the beauty of the natural world, Canoy worked primarily in pastel. He exhibited his work in three galleries in Oregon: 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, the artist made a cash bequest to ACE and left his art collection to the nonprofit art center for the purposes of fundraising.
Orlaske was born in Michigan but moved to Oregon in 1977 to attend graduate school and stayed. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology. She had no formal art training but from a young age was interested in art and produced detailed pen and ink drawings.
In the early 1990s, she and her husband moved to Eastern Oregon and settled in Summerville. She became a full-time artist and created ceramic/clay art as well as two-dimensional pieces. Her themes often included abstract and representational natural elements — Eastern Oregon landscapes, critters and plants.
Orlaske was a member and actively involved with three art co-ops: Valley Art in Forest Grove, Art Center East in La Grande and Crossroads in Baker City. She became well known in the region for the quality of her work and for her willingness to help and teach others. Her work appeared in many art shows and has been carried by several galleries in Oregon and Southern Washington. She won several regional art awards and was a featured artist on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Art Beat.
Galloway held a bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts and taught printmaking and drawing at Eastern Oregon University. She was a major player in Arts for All and Central School’s Art Literacy program.
According to her family, “Kat was an inspired teacher who brought out the best in all of her students, many of whom came to her feeling like the task ahead was impossible. Through her encouraging teaching style, her students were able to find within them a way to overcome the impossible to not only create art but to also deeply appreciate art.”
Galloway helped form the Union County Arts and Culture Center (UCACC), which merged with ArtsEast in 2015 to become Art Center East, and worked to lease the Carnegie Library from the city of La Grande to create a home for Art Center East.
Thomas ‘Tom’ Madden
Madden taught English, writing and journalism at Eastern Oregon University for 25 years and led poetry workshops at Art Center East after his retirement from EOU in 2000. He resided in La Grande from 1975 until his death in 2017.
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, Madden 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) and “This Dialect of Grass” (published posthumously in 2019). He also wrote short plays, book reviews and a libretto for a children’s opera.