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Student artists exhibit work in Dufur

Artist Micah Steinbach gives a tour of the "Dufur ASAP Art Studio" at the new Dufur Community Center. An open house and art sale was held before the tractor parade Saturday, with music and snacks, as a fundraiser for the center.

Photo by Mark Gibson
Artist Micah Steinbach gives a tour of the "Dufur ASAP Art Studio" at the new Dufur Community Center. An open house and art sale was held before the tractor parade Saturday, with music and snacks, as a fundraiser for the center.



The Dufur Community Center was transformed into a cultural enrichment venue Saturday as part of the annual Hometown Christmas Celebration.

Art exhibits were set up in two rooms of the former Methodist church at 320 N.E. Second Street that was purchased by the city about two years ago.

Local students showed off their acrylic paintings and entertained the audience with newly acquired ukulele skills.

Every Tuesday for eight weeks, four young artists had gathered after school at the center to learn from Micah Steinbeck, a Dufur artist. She provided instruction in the elements of art, including line, shape and color.

When their one-hour session was over, Wendy Schaefer, whose family owns Gorge Community Music in The Dalles, gave ukulele lessons.

Their combined talents were shown off during a fundraiser for the community center. Adult students from Gorge Music joined children in the performance of American folklore standards and holiday favorites.

Also taking the stage were the Dufur Boys, a local bluegrass group that is a popular attraction for events in the area.

“This is an attempt to get some publicity out there for the center,” said Schaefer, who has worked tirelessly to preserve the aging building.

“We decided to not only display what the kids had done but to also open the show to crafters, photographers and artists from the region.”

The paintings done by students were not only shown, but priced to sell as part of the fundraiser, which was admission by donation.

“They just flew off the walls,” said Schaefer. “I think the families were buying their child’s work.”

She began her quest to make the old church a community hub after the Methodist congregation decided to no longer meet there several years ago.

At that time, the Dufur Potlach for senior citizens was held in the building and more than 30 meals were served at a time.

“It was going to be a crisis for seniors,” said Schaefer.

When approached, she said the Methodists agreed to sell the church to the city at a very reasonable price.

Schaefer took a couple of years off from her campaign to establish the community center while she cared for a dying mother and helped her daughter and son-in-law get the music store up and running.

Then she was returned to her mission and recently obtained permission from the city council to fundraise for center operations and improvements.

Schaefer has already booked folksinger and storyteller Adam Miller to perform during Vintage Dufur Days in August 2018.

“My vision is that it’s used by people for a wide range of events and classes,” she said.

Gorge Music is providing liability insurance for events, at least for the time being, said Schaefer.

She and other supporters are now working out a management agreement with the city.

Schaefer is hopeful that a partnership will develop with school administrators and staff so that students can supplement their education with specialty programs at the center, such as the acrylic classes.

In 2015, Barbara Garner left her estate to the school to establish an endowment for the arts. Schaefer would like to see some of those funds will be used to cover the cost of visiting artists and other instruction at the center. “I would love this place as an outgrowth of the school,” she said.



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