Exhibits can also be viewed online at artcentereast.org thanks to a partnership with John J. Howard Real Estate.

Art Center East galleries are open to the public and admission is always free.

The Art Center East Main Gallery is the only international fine art exhibit space in Union County. It is a community-supported gallery, funded by Art Center East memberships and private donors. Exhibiting artists of all mediums are juried by the Gallery Committee in order to show their work in the Main Gallery. Exhibits typically run for 2 months.

The Main Gallery also hosts a selection of annual group exhibits, including:

  • The Big: ACE Annual Non-Juried Exhibit
  • Eastern Oregon University’s Junior Practicum Exhibit
  • Annual Fiber Arts & Jewelry Exhibit

All exhibits are free and open to the public.


Gallery hours:

Wednesday-Friday noon - 5 pm & Saturday 10 am - 2 pm

 The Big: Art Center East’s Annual Open Exhibit begins with a free, in-person opening reception and awards ceremony on Friday, December 2, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. The exhibit fills Art Center East’s Main and Orlaske Galleries with works by Pacific Northwest artists in various artistic mediums. “The Big” will be on display December 2, 2022, through January 28, 2023. ACE’s galleries are open to the public and admission is always free. 


“The Big” is an annual non-juried exhibit open to anyone 18 years of age or older. All artworks submitted for this year’s exhibit are eligible to win cash prizes awarded by exhibit judge Joshua Raferty, a Visiting Assistant Professor in Photography at Eastern Oregon University.


Awards include Best of Show, Best 3-Dimensional, Best 2-Dimensional, Outstanding Jewelry, Best Creative Sculptural Glass sponsored by Birddog Glass in La Grande, Best Creative Functional Glass sponsored by April Curtis, Best in Fiber sponsored by Knitkabob in Union, Best of Photography sponsored by Cook Memorial Library in La Grande for commercially-printed work, Fred Hill Best Photography Award for self-printed artworks, and Art Center East Honorable Mentions. 


The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Art Center East Board of Directors, is determined by visitors to the exhibit, each of whom may cast a vote throughout the exhibit’s duration. The winning artwork for the People’s Choice Award will be announced on Saturday, January 28, 2023. Artists are encouraged to begin preparing work for “The Big” 2023.


The public is invited to attend a free, in-person closing reception on Friday, January 27, 2023, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. This reception is the final opportunity to view the exhibit and meet and talk with “The Big” featured artists. Complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be available.


The Big: Art Center East’s Annual Open Exhibit Awards Sponsors:

Best in Show Award ($300 sponsored by RedTwig): You Grow Girl & Let it Grow by Koedi Birmingham (linoleum relief prints) NFS

Best Two-Dimensional Award $200: The Little Jackbooted Thug Standing with the Shadow of Oppression about to be Crushed by his Own Hubris by Steve Feldman (watercolor and prismacolor pencil) $595

Best Three-Dimensional Piece $200: Social Insecurity Cameras by Trevor Durr (porcelain and acrylic) $300 (set of 5)

Best Creative Glass Award (sculptural hot and warm glass processes) $100 (sponsored by Birddog Glass): Goodbye to the Island Glow by Scott Nearing (Ska-t Glassart) (Borosilicate Glass, Wood) $2,000

Best Creative Glass Award (functional) $100 (sponsored by April Curtis): Celadon Trumpet Vase by Kevin Boylan (Blown Glass) $340

Outstanding Jewelry Award $100 (sponsored by author & poet Amelia Díaz Ettinger): Lola and the Moon by Hannah Rose Duna (Amazonite, Labradorite, Spinel, Glass, Sterling Silver) $222

Best in Fiber Award $250 (sponsored by Knitkabob): Birds of Union County by Jo Cowling (fiber book) NFS

Best in Commercially Printed Photography Award $100 (sponsored by Cook Memorial Library of La Grande): End of the Road & Eyes of the Beholder (NFS) by Susan Baird 


People's Choice Award $100 (sponsored by the ACE Board of Directors): vote online here! Winner announced January 28, 2023.


Art Center East Honorable Mentions:
17 oz Cup by Rick Callahan (ash wood) $80
My Mother’s Legacy by Una Walker (fiber – punch needle rug hooking) $850
Hymn to a Wild Lost Solitude by Denise Elizabeth Stone (batik watercolor, mixed media) $725
Untitled by Tess Cahill (relief ink on paper) NFS
“Winged Fire Bear” Drum Beater by Darrel Dolge (Fire Agate, Bear Fur, Mother of Pearl, Wood, Horn) $145


ABOUT THE JUDGE: Josh Raftery is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, where he studied forensic science and photography. He received his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University in 2011, and his MFA in Photography + Integrated Media from Ohio University in 2015. His photographic work examines the relationships between loss and memory, and religion and science. His work is influenced by his personal relationship with loss and bereavement, and his curiosity about funerary practices created by history and culture. Through mixed media, found objects, photography, and storytelling, Raftery’s current work is autobiographical – creating narratives of dystopia and uncertainty.

Raftery has been an instructor of studio and lecture-based courses at Ohio University, The University of Kentucky, East Carolina University, and The University of Dayton and is currently a Visiting Instructor at Eastern Oregon University. He utilizes antiquated photographic processes to emphasize the passage of time in his work. Raftery’s work has been exhibited nationally, and internationally, and included in several publications.

To learn more about Josh Raftery and his artworks, visit www.joshjraftery.com