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A painting done by Perry Johnson sits in the OSLP Exhibit. The OSLP Exhibit features paintings talking about social justice issues and life in quarantine in the OSLP Gallery in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 11, 2020. (DL Young/Emerald)

An artist can be defined in a myriad of ways, but for Oregon Supported Living Program’s Arts and Culture Program an artist is anyone of any ability who is interested in pursuing art. OSLP’s art program boasts a large selection of art opportunities including classes, an open studio, a mentorship program, individualized instruction and complete access to supplies that anyone of any skill level and ability can participate in. The only requirement is that participants must be 18 or older. 

“We build bridges for artists of all abilities,” said Joseph Peila, OSLP Arts and Culture Program’s Resident Artist. “I work with artists that are non-verbal, I work with artists who only use one hand, I’ve worked with artists who are perfectly amazing artists, but they just don’t know how to communicate about their art and promote their art and that’s sort of our role.”

It is his open-ended, restrictment free outlook that has given OSLP’s program an incredibly diverse community of artists who produce art all year round. The studio is typically bubbling with activity and color in every corner as the artists are hard at work producing pieces, learning new techniques and chatting amongst each other. The COVID-19 pandemic has halted the traditional community environment that fills the studio, but OSLP continues to work with artists one-on-one and assist them in producing their work from home. 

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A mix material basket made by Patricia Montoya Donohue sits in the OSLP Exhibit. The OSLP Exhibit features paintings talking about social justice issues and life in quarantine in the OSLP Gallery in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 11, 2020. (DL Young/Emerald)

 

“Our place continues, even in these times, to be a safe space for folks, so that’s what it was created to be, a safe space for artists and art exploration,” Sterling Israel, OSLP Arts and Culture Program Coordinator, said. 

In OSLP’s latest Showcase it accumulated past art that has never been shown as well as brand new pieces that were created in the artists’ homes during stay-at-home orders. The Showcase will be on view in OSLP’s Lincoln Gallery through Nov. 20 and is teeming with all different kinds of vibrant art depicting everything from social justice issues to nature landscapes and realistic flowers. 

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The OSLP Exhibit features paintings talking about social justice issues and life in quarantine in the OSLP Gallery in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 11, 2020. (DL Young/Emerald)

OSLP’s gallery displays the art in a wonderful visual environment filled with natural lighting, wide open spaces and art across every wall including several stationary dividers in the middle of the room. Each art piece brings the personality of the artist behind it to life, oftentimes channeling their passions and beliefs. Perry Johnson is a longtime OSLP arts and culture member and his pieces show his vibrant personality, passion for social justice and love for cars. 

 

Johnson has several pieces on display in the showcase including a timely portrait of John Lewis that depicts him in detail above an image of former President Barack Obama awarding Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also has several paintings of brightly colored classic cars including one piece that portrays himself and his two brothers, Terry and Jerry, above three classic cars complete with the OSLP logo across the bottom of the piece.

“Just the opportunity to work with people that have a lot of stuff going on in their life and they can come to OSLP arts and culture for one day a week for two hours and forget all of the stuff that’s going on in their lives, and it’s a safe, fun, happy, energetic and empowering place to come to,” said Peila. 

OSLP’s Lincoln Gallery is open Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m. until Nov. 20. Admission is free and open to the public. OSLP’s classes are currently postponed until further notice, but it is collecting art supply donations so that its artists can continue to produce art from home.

Arts and Culture Reporter

Grace Murray is an arts and culture reporter. She loves music, comedy television, photography and Disneyland. Send her an email if you have a local event, art show, performance, or exhibit!