CULTURE: February’s art, history exhibitions and events

Art exhibitions opening in Salem this month include Willamette Valley landscapes, an inclusive erotica show and work from students of video game design.

Salem Art Association

600 Mission St. S.E.

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12 – 4 p.m.

Admission: Free

The following shows will have a joint opening reception with the artists on Friday, Feb. 2, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


Feb. 2 through Feb. 25

This month, the Salem Art Association is showcasing a collection of works celebrating “the epitome of queer love,” in its various forms. Over a dozen artists are featured in it.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, from 4-5 p.m., queer author and artist Liz Asch will read recent essays and poetry at the gallery. RSVP for the free event here.

Work by Numi Rehfield-Griffith that will be on display for Queer Love at the Salem Art Association in February (Courtesy/ Salem Art Association)
Art by Sean M. Johnson showing at the Salem Art Association’s Queer Love Exhibit (Courtesy/ Salem Art Association)

DIFFERENT VIEWS – Through the Artist’s Eye

Feb. 2 through Feb. 25 

For the past 14 years, Salem artists Debbie Robinson and Deanna White have taken their cameras and art supplies into the Willamette Valley countryside to find a good view. Then, they go to work to capture the scene in their unique styles.

“We paint the same scene with our chairs turned at different angles to ‘see’ and interpret the beautiful vistas before us. We both approach our work quite differently, and feel this would be an educational journey for the public to experience what each artist ‘sees’, even in the same location,” they said in a statement. 

A painting by Debbie Robinson, whose work will be shown alongside Deanna White’s in February (Courtesy/ Salem Art Association)

DIFFUSING LIGHT – The Evolving Landscapes of John Van Dreal

Through Feb. 24

Landscapes from Salem artist John Van Dreal are on display this month. He combines oil paints and translucent glazing to capture light, and sketches while painting, according to his artist statement.

“Using this method, combined with traditional aesthetic principles, allows me to create contemporary images that are luminous, tonal, evocative and that connect with the viewer on a personal level,” he said. 


Through Feb. 25

Oil paintings by self-taught artist Chloe Frydenlund celebrating creativity, nature, womanhood and the cycles of life and death are on display through February. 

“It was not until I became a mother that I realized I needed art on a daily basis to start unburying who it is that I really am. I have repeatedly felt called to be a painter throughout my life, as it brings me an immense amount of joy,” she said in her artist statement.

Frydenlund has lived in Salem for four years, and thanked the community for its support of her ideas and art.

Salem on the Edge

156 Liberty St. N.E.

Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 12 – 4 p.m.; closed last Sunday of the month

Admission: Free


Through Feb. 24,

Opening reception on Friday, Feb. 2, from 5- 8 p.m.

Salem on the Edge invited artists to submit work that might not be considered mainstream for Erotica: An Exhibition to Arouse. The show includes 49 pieces by 25 artists.

“The submissions this year were what I had always envisioned the erotica show to be when the gallery first opened. The idea of erotica is so different for everyone, I wanted ALL erotica to be shown, not just my own definition,” said owner Melanie Weston in a statement. “With this show, I wanted as many people to feel seen as possible.”

There will also be a pop-up show in the gallery of erotic ceramics by Dennis Portz, called “Dishy Dudes,” from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Art by Lisa Laser that will be shown at the Erotica Show in February (Courtesy/ Salem on the Edge)

Hallie Ford Museum of Art – Willamette University

700 State St. 

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12 – 5 p.m.

Admission: $8 general, $5 for seniors. Free admission for children up to age 17, educators and students with ID and museum members. Free admission on Tuesdays. Passes available for checkout at the Salem Public Library.


Through March 30

Twenty-five years worth of work from mixed-media artist Willem Volkersz will be on display through March. Volkersz is internationally recognized, and best known for his use of neon and paint-by-number installations. 

Volkersz was born in the Netherlands, and immigrated to the U.S. after World War II, and studied art at the University of Washington and Mills College in Oakland, California. 


Through April 20

The exhibit highlighting self-taught artists from the permanent collection includes work from well-known contemporary, regional, Midwest and Southern artists, plus newer work from neurodivergent artists in Corvallis and Salem working with the Living Studios program.

It’s the first time the museum has specifically highlighted self-taught artists.

“As the cultural divisions that have led to the othering and separating of many self-taught artists and their work is dissolving, these important artistic voices and their influence are being brought into the larger conversation about contemporary art,” curator Jonathan Bucci said in a statement. 

Salem Public Library

585 Liberty St. S.E.

Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

SALEM READS – Art Inspired by “The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina”

Through March 3

This year’s Salem Reads selection, “The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina,” has a companion art exhibit in collaboration with the Salem Art Association on display at the library. The display includes work from five local Indigenous and Latino artists inspired by the book, with pieces including colleges that feature family photos and paintings themed around birth and inheritance.

Elsinore Framing & Fine Art Gallery

444 Ferry St. S.E.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

VIDEO GAME DESIGN – CTEC student exhibit

Through Feb. 24

Opening reception, Friday, Feb. 2, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Students from Salem-Keizer Public Schools’ Career Technical Education Center will have art showcasing their skills in video and game design, including sketches and 3-D printed sculptures.

Correction: This story has been updated to show the winter hours for the Salem Art Association. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.