CULTURE: May’s art, history exhibitions and events

This month, Salem’s art galleries are showcasing local tattoo artists, celebrating pigeons and sharing the importance of coral reefs.

Here’s a roundup of May’s gallery shows.

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 June 1

On May 3, a new exhibit opened up at the Salem on the Edge fine art gallery by featured artist Aimee O’Will, showcasing 100 pigeon paintings. The exhibit strives to impart the symbol of the pigeon as a unifying concept across the human race given the bird’s prevalence throughout the world, according to an event description. 

O’Will paints with acrylic on canvas and on June 1 she will be at the gallery to talk about how pigeons inspired her art. 

One of 100 pigeon paintings by artist Aimee O’Will on display at Salem on the Edge in May (Courtesy/ Salem on the Edge)

Elsinore Framing & Fine Art Gallery/Artists in Action

444 Ferry St. S.E.

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

Admission: Free


Through May 31

During the month of May, the Artists in Action Art Gallery will present a special feature of the work of Lorraine Dye and John Mohney. 

Dye, an award-winning native Oregonian artist, is known for her impressionistic realism style which incorporates vivid colors and strong contrast. Using charcoal, graphite, colored pencil and pastels, Dye paints on subjects using pastels from still-life, landscapes and animals, according to an event description. 

John Mohney has painted in watercolor for more than twenty years and continually likes to challenge himself, limiting his color palette to 3-5 colors at most on any given painting. Mohney said painting with watercolor is akin to a “long journey of learning.” 

Dye and Mohney have their work showcased in the gallery along with 22 other artists. 

Work from Lorraine Dye and John Mohney, showing at Artists in Action’s Art Gallery throughout May (Courtesy/ Artists in Action)

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 May 18

Senior projects by eight Willamette University seniors studying studio art will be on display this month. Their work includes a wide range of media.

There will be an open house on Sunday, May 19, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This year’s annual exhibition is paired with “What Remains,” a solo faculty exhibition from art Professor Alexandra Opie. It explores her black-and-white photographic art inspired by “tipping points” in environmental systems of all sizes.

LIFELINE – Phases of the moon

THE ARTIST’S EYE – Selections from the Gary Westford Collection 

Through Nov. 16.

Two new exhibitions are coming to the museum this month. Both feature work by Gary Westford, a Salem artist who explores concepts like the environment, social justice, often incorporating current and ongoing social issues. Both exhibitions will run until November 16. The first, is called “Gary Westford: Lifeline (phases of the moon),” and the second, “The Artist’s Eye: Selections from the Gary Westford Collection.” 

Gary Westford (American, born 1947), A Dream (silver moon), 2023, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, collection of the artist (Courtesy/ Hallie Ford Museum of Art)

Willamette Heritage Center

1313 Mill St. S.E.

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission: $10 adult, $8 seniors over 65, $6 students and children age 6-17. Passes available for checkout at the Salem Public Library.

UNDER THE SEA – The PNW Community Coral Reef Project

Through June 22

Community knit and crochet creations depicting vibrant, healthy coral with marine animals alongside bleached corals will be on display through June. The exhibit aims to engage the audience in a conversation about the significance of coral reefs around the world. 

Students from Salem’s Eagle Charter School contributed to the project.

The PNW Community Coral Reef Project on display at Willamette Heritage Center on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Salem Art Association

600 Mission St. S.E.

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12 – 4 p.m.

Admission: Free


Through June 23

A new gallery showcasing the work of six Salem tattoo artists will be on display through June. The exhibit provides a window into the world of tattoos as an artistic medium. 

AROUND SALEM – Radius 25

Through June 23

An exhibition asked 25 artists living within a 25-mile radius of Salem to create something on the theme of “What Matters.” The work includes paintings and sculptures.

World Beat Gallery

390 Liberty St. S.E.

Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment. 

Admission: Free


Through August 2

The World Beat Gallery will showcase a new exhibit featuring stories of the Ukrainian people. The exhibit coincides with the 2024 World Beat Festival, scheduled for June 28-30, which is focused on Ukraine.

Correction: This story originally misspelled Gary Westford’s name. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 503-335-7790. 

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Joe Siess is a reporter for Salem Reporter. Joe joined Salem Reporter in 2024 and primarily covers city and county government but loves surprises. Joe previously reported for the Redmond Spokesman, the Bulletin in Bend, Klamath Falls Herald and News and the Malheur Enterprise. He was born in Independence, MO, where the Oregon Trail officially starts, and grew up in the Kansas City area.