For more than 20 years Oregon Art Beat has been exploring the breathtaking creativity of Oregon’s diverse arts community. It is with sadness but also a deep appreciation of their work that we remember artists who died in 2021. All of us on Art Beat are honored that these artists shared their stories with us. We celebrate their indelible contributions to the arts and culture landscape of Oregon.
An iconic writer of children’s novels, Beverly Cleary spent most of her own childhood in Northeast Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood. She would go on to make Klickitat and Tillamook streets famous in her books. Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Ralph S. Mouse are among some of her best-known characters. Cleary received numerous awards in her long life, including a National Medal of the Arts, multiple Newbery Honors and in 2000 she was named a Library of Congress Living Legend.
Master printmaker Patricia Clark, retired chair of the Art Department at California State University, Long Beach, went on to found print studio Atelier 6000 in Bend, becoming a champion of the arts community in central Oregon.
World-renowned jazz pianist and composer Dave Frishberg, known for recording and performing with Rebecca Kilgore and many others, also lent his skills to educate generations after him by writing songs for the Schoolhouse Rock! series.
Julie Green was an Oregon State University professor and an artist who brought attention to the realities of death row inmates with her seminal work focusing on their last-meal requests.
Molly Cliff Hilts
Painter Molly Cliff Hilts was well known for her expansive landscapes, birds, and still lifes, as well as her work organizing salons and workshops to share the joy of creating.
A much sought-after drummer, Carlton Jackson played and recorded with many of Oregon’s greatest musicians, was a host on KMHD, and appeared multiple times on Art Beat.
Elkton master ceramicist Hiroshi Ogawa created work with his traditional Hikarigama (“Dragon”) anagama kiln, sharing the experience with a community of artists.
La Grande artist Sue Orlaske’s love of nature and drive to experiment led her to find a way to use natural fibers and plants instead of glazes on her ceramic art.
Painter Robert Schlegel’s eye for architectural form and skill with sketching and painting seemed to evoke locations from our collective past.
We are grateful to these artists for granting us an intimate view into their lives and work, inspiring us all.