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WOU’s Smith Fine Arts Series will take a break from its 2020-21 season.

Itemizer-Observer Report

MONMOUTH — Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series, which stages performances by world-class artists about six times annually, is pausing the 2020-21 in-person performances to keep patrons, artists and staff safe during the pandemic.

“This decision was made after carefully considering overall safety concerns, subscriber feedback and the ever-changing nature of the current pandemic,” said Smith Fine Arts Director Lisa Schachter. “While we fully recognize there is no substitute for an in-person experience, we will offer some new and creative ways to connect the wider community with exceptional performing artists.”

One of the ways to connect with artists is through the upcoming SFAS “Embrace the Music” online auction livestream on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. This event will be the culmination of a five-day online auction, which replaces SFAS’ annual summer fundraiser. The online auction catalog can be accessed for viewing beginning Nov. 2 at wou.edu/sfa, and bidding opens Nov. 11.

During the short hiatus, the SFAS board and staff will focus on securing the program financially so the program can continue bringing exceptional performing artists to Monmouth for years to come, as well as providing outreach activities to the Mid-Willamette Valley community. Revenue loss from ticket sales and the elimination of a student-fee grant that provided nearly a third of its budget, the SFAS is being challenged to adapt to a new landscape.

About the Smith Fine Arts Series

The Edgar H. Smith Fine Arts Series provides quality performing arts presentations for the mid-Willamette Valley community and supports the community service and educational missions of Western Oregon University. In addition, SFAS presents workshops for university students; performances and discussion for elementary and secondary schools, and informal lectures and demonstrations for the wider community. The series was created in 1976 by Dr. Edgar H. Smith, a leading arts advocate and educator, to inaugurate the opening of Rice Auditorium.

About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving almost 5,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70 percent of the student population being from Oregon.

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