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Art Exhibitions and Musical Performances Open to All

Oregon State’s New Creative Arts Center PRAx Invites Public for Grand Opening

The Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts (PRAx) at OSU will host an open house on Saturday, April 6 starting at noon. Photos by Blake Brown


Oregon State University’s new Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts will host an open house from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, to celebrate the center’s inaugural season.

 

Art exhibitions and musical performances will fill every corner of the 49,000-square-foot space for the family-friendly event, which is free and open to all.

 

“The goal of PRAx is to be a big tent and reflect a wide variety of artistic experiences and styles, so I hope people experience that,” said Peter Betjemann, Patricia Valian Reser executive director of PRAx. “And it’s such a cool building. It’s not like anything else on campus, and it’s not like anything else in Corvallis.”

 

“PRAx” stands for Patricia Reser Arts, with the “x” signifying the center’s intersections between the arts and other academic disciplines. The center is named for Patricia Valian Reser, OSU alumna and volunteer leader, who has given $36 million to the OSU Foundation for the arts at Oregon State, including $25 million for PRAx.

 

“The arts are not an add-on to OSU’s mission as an international research university; the arts drive the culture of creativity and innovation that sparks breakthroughs,” Reser said. “A dedicated arts center has been a dream for the OSU community for over a century, and today our need for the arts — and for interdisciplinary collaboration with the arts — is more urgent than ever. I am thrilled for the opportunities and change-making energy PRAx will set in motion.”

 

Construction on the $75 million center began in August 2021. PRAx boasts six venues suited for a range of indoor and outdoor shows: the 490-seat Lynne Hallstrom Detrick Concert Hall, the Edward J. Ray black box theater, the Kate and John Stirek Gallery, the Thomas W. Toomey Lobby, the Celia Strickland Austin & Ken Austin III and Loni Austin Parrish & Scott N. Parrish Arts Plaza and the Dixie Luana Wooton Kenney Garden.

 

The only opening day event to require tickets is the 5 p.m. headliner concert in Detrick Hall, a performance by Native jazz musicians the Delbert Anderson Quartet with special guests Julia Keefe and Franklin Piland. In the second act, the musicians will play a PRAx-commissioned work with the OSU jazz ensemble and chamber choir.

 

“We’re excited because Delbert Anderson and Julia Keefe are jazz musicians whose work is to restore Indigenous rhythms and Indigenous melodies that were part of the history of jazz music,” Betjemann said.

 

The musicians will also be in town this week leading up to the open house, performing and installing an exhibit in the Corvallis Museum called “Spirit Coalescence.” There will be food trucks on site with food for purchase throughout the afternoon.

 

For a full schedule and descriptions of events, visit the PRAx open house website. Check here for directions and parking information and here for information on accessibility.

 

PRAx is one of three major facility projects in the $1.75 billion Believe It fundraising and engagement campaign; the first was the renovation of Reser Stadium, dedicated last fall, and construction is beginning on the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex.

 

“Our PRAx supporters understood we envisioned something different for OSU, an arts center that would embrace our excellence and distinction in STEM fields, from climate science to clean energy to biotechnology and robotics,” said OSU Foundation president and CEO Shawn Scoville. “PRAx represents a historic achievement not only for the university but for our state and the Corvallis community. We are grateful to Pat Reser and all the donors who made it possible.”

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