The first week of October has come and gone. Preparation for Halloween festivities is upon us, and art gallery director Aunia Kahn is approaching this year with a twist. “Summoning the Muse: A Witchy Exhibit,” is an art exhibit showcasing all aspects of things that would define the classic witch. It is hosted at Alexi Era Gallery & Projects in Downtown Eugene.

“I think the art show is really great to embody the kind of feminine sacred feeling of almost a spirituality kind of feel around witchcraft,” Kahn said, “as opposed to someone coming in thinking ‘Oh, it’s gonna be these traditional ha-ha witches,’ or ‘Oh it’s gonna be this dark witchy thing.”

According to Kahn’s event details, “witches are found across cultures in Spain, Africa, North America, India, etc. and share the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that can be exercised individually, by designated social groups, or by persons with the necessary, esoteric secret knowledge.”

The exhibit features paintings, drawings and alters with different symbolism. The featured artists come from various locations including Spain and the local Oregon area.   

Autumn Steam, a ceramics artist from Salem, Oregon, shared her work as a representation of the elements she feels a witch would embody. Her art includes hand-crafted depictions of the elements: air, fire, spirit, water and the earth. Though the theme of this exhibit is based on witches, Steam’s approach to it is centered around nature worship.

“For me, it is definitely a craft,” Steam said. “I love nature and I love to honor the earth, so I feel most connected when I’m on a hike or in my garden or taking care of animals or stuff like that. This is just kind of an indoor representation of that.”

Summoning the Muse was on display at the Alexi Era Gallery on Oct. 5, 2018. (Henry Ward/Emerald)

The elements of witchcraft vary from artist to artist. Marilyn Kent uses her work to represent a certain time period in her life and a way of moving forward.

“I’m more interested in natural elements and what they might portray for various things,” Kent said. “I think that’s an element of I don’t really want to call it witchcraft, but I’d say a magical practice that’s sort of mentally tending toward that area.”

Overall, the theme of nature, feminine spirit and a sort of healing power is present at “Summoning the Muse.” The wide range of images of various women, alters filled with tarots and pieces that symbolize the celebration of life bring together the cultural view of witches. Kahn assures everyone is welcome to come and experience the work of the participating artists. 

“This is not a pagan exhibition. This isn’t an anti-Christian exhibition,” said Kahn. “This is an exhibition that is about these beautiful, wonderful women and men, culturally, who have given us gifts such as medicine and people we look at who are spiritual leaders.”

This exhibit is free and will run through Oct. 27. It is located at Alexi Era Gallery & Projects, 1712 Willamette St., Ste. 100 Eugene, OR 97401.

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