At the first stop on the South Town Art Walk a steady stream of people wandered through to see skeleton mugs, oil paintings and other original art. A couple minutes' walk from there, a studio displayed handmade wooden bowls and recycled metal sculptures. Just around the corner from there, a studio sold concrete jewelry and miniature planters.
The fourth iteration of the walk featured 10 home studios, all within walking distance of each other in the neighborhood near Crystal Lake Drive and Bethel Street in South Corvallis. More than 20 artists had a wide variety of works on display.
Diana Ryan, the event’s organizer, said there are many artists in the neighborhood, and they organize it as a way to build community.
“It’s a unique neighborhood because everybody knows everybody and the artists are trying to build that,” she said.
Ryan said the event had a similar number of stops as it did last year; a few artists left, but a few new ones came in. However, she said, foot traffic seemed heavier.
“The event has gotten a lot better promotion this year and word is starting to get out,” Ryan said.
Ryan said that the community is tight-knit and residents work hard to support local businesses through events like this and a Facebook group called the “South Corvallis Business Directory.”
She added that while there are some negative perceptions about the south side of Corvallis, they are undeserved.
“Negative perceptions are what we are trying to change (with the walk),” she said.
Ryan, who teaches art classes from her home studio, had some of her ceramic work on display, but also had her students put up works, which she said enhanced traffic as people wanted to check out their kids' work. She said she had a lot of good classes with the people visiting.
“You end up meeting a lot of people,” she said.
Olga Apolinarska was a new stop on the tour this year, and she sold jewelry made from concrete at her home. Although she’s lived in Corvallis for years, she’s not been on the walk before.
“Since I’ve moved here I’ve been really interested in the community in South Town and I thought this was a really great to get to know the artists.”
Apolinarska said she had visits from both people she knew before and people she didn’t.
“It’s a really nice, casual environment to just chat,” she said.
She said the neighborhood is very friendly and family-oriented.
“It’s a great reflection of our community that the artists just got everyone together to have this,” she said.
Anthony Rimel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.