Salem Art Association

  • Salem Art Association
  • Visit SAA Retail Gallery
  • SAA "Public Hanging" (134K)
  • Salem Art Fair & Festival
  • Map to Salem Art Fair & Bush Park
  • Attention Artists & Performing Artists!
  • Salem Oregon Visitor Center
  • Salem Community Guide
  • History

    The Salem Art Association (SAA) is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to art education, art appreciation and historic preservation in the greater Salem area. The history of the Association dates to 1919 when a group of dedicated community leaders formed the Salem Arts League. In 1938 the League incorporated as the Salem Art Center Association and obtained a gallery space at Salem High School. In 1948 the Art Center Association changed its name to the Salem Art Association (SAA).

    SAA moved to its present location in Bush's Pasture Park in 1953 when it was entrusted with the care and operation of the Asahel Bush House, a Victorian mansion with an extensive collection of nineteenth century fine and decorative arts. Today, Asahel Bush's home is the Bush House Museum. The adjacent barn, which was remodeled in 1965 and expanded in 1975, is the Bush Barn Art Center.

    In 1993 SAA raised $100,000 for the final remodel of the barn facility, creating a contemporary environment for the exhibiting and viewing of art. The Salem Art Association, under contract agreement with the City of Salem, is responsible for the care and operation of these facilities. Under this agreement, SAA is also charged with providing cultural programs to the Salem community. The City is responsible for building maintenance and utilities. As Salem's oldest and largest visual arts resource, SAA has played a major role in the cultural development of Salem. The Bush Barn Art Center and Bush House Museum are enjoyed by thousands of valley residents, tourists, and school groups each year.

    Programs

    The Salem Art Association offers a wide range of programs supported by membership dues, class tuitions, sales and commissions from the galleries at the Bush Barn Art Center, grants, corporate contributions and events like the annual Salem Art Fair & Festival. SAA sees itself as an educational institution, whether directly through our many classes or indirectly through our exhibition program or the Festival.

    Art Classes

    Our education coordinator oversees a comprehensive community art education program employing approximately 50 artists (annual student enrollment of 1000), offering classes and workshops in ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography for both children and adults. The Textile Design Center at Mission Mill Village, a unique, fully equipped textile art studio created in 1990, offers classes and specialized workshops in the fiber arts. A scholarship program provides economically disadvantaged children and adults (30 students annually) access to SAA's many classes.

    Artist Residencies

    The Arts in Education Program coordinates numerous artist residencies in the public schools of Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties (9,000 students reached per year) as well as yearly residency programs at Hillcrest School, MacLaren School, Oregon State Hospital, Chemawa Indian School, and the Salem Teen Parent Program. The A.I.E. Coordinator also oversees special programs at the Salem Outreach Shelter and the Salem Emotional Growth Center.

    Salem Art Fair and Festival

    The Salem Art Association is recognized statewide for the quality of its programs and its strong community focus. SAA's efforts to reach all segments of the community are especially evident in the Salem Art Fair & Festival, which is sponsored by the Salem Art Association each year. The highlights of this free, three-day event include 200 juried artists, a diverse range of performing arts, a hands-on arts area, folk arts both displayed and demonstrated, information booths for regional arts organizations, and food booths that are sponsored by Salem area nonprofit groups.

    Always held the third full weekend in July, the Salem Art Fair & Festival is the major fund-raiser for the programs of the Salem Art Association. While supporting the careers of regional artists with its artists' marketplace, the festival also serves as a fund-raiser for 26 nonprofit public service organizations in the mid-Willamette Valley through the food booth program. The majority of these groups serve minorities, special populations, and the economically disadvantaged.

    The Salem Art Association depends on the contributions of close to 900 volunteers to assist in the planning and production of this community festival of the arts. The fair attracts over 100,000 people to Bush's Pasture Park throughout the weekend.

    Galleries

    SAA operates two exhibition galleries and a sales gallery out of the Bush Barn Art Center. The A.N. Bush Gallery in our 1800-square-foot loft is the site for nine major exhibitions, highlighting art and artists of regional, national and international importance. Our goal is to expose Salem audiences and our many visitors to a wide range of art and ideas, focusing primarily on contemporary art of the Northwest.

    Also important is the exhibiting of work of underserved populations, ethnic arts and folk art. Our smaller Focus Gallery centers on local artists. Shows there are often tied in thematically to our main exhibitions in the Bush Gallery. Exhibitions are often supplemented with brochures or a more comprehensive catalogue when money is available. Lectures, symposia and panel discussions are scheduled frequently, which also add to the educational focus of this program.

    Bush House Museum

    Another important program is the ongoing tours of the Bush House Museum and annual history-related events. The daily guided tours offer visitors a walk through Salem history as professional and volunteer guides tell the story of the Bushes and their involvement with the development and growth of Salem. Complete with many of the original furnishings, the house is a significant local landmark and an excellent example of nineteenth-century life.

    The grounds around the residence have been beautifully restored with colorful flower gardens that change seasonally. This includes the historic rose gardens to the west of the house that have become an important Salem landmark in their own right. Also, adjacent to the house, is the Bush House Conservatory, the oldest existing greenhouse in the state of Oregon, which has undergone extensive restoration and is now preserved for public viewing.

    Volunteers

    SAA's staff receive tremendous support from a number of well-established volunteer groups. The Gallery Guides serve as gallery docents, assisting visitors to the A.N. Bush Gallery, providing background information on the exhibits as well as helping with numerous gallery-related tasks. They also help raise monies for the student scholarship program and the art acquisition fund.

    The Bush House Auxiliary provides volunteer staffing for the historic house tours, sharing their years of accumulated knowledge of the Bush House and family with visitors. They help staff raise funds for acquisitions and maintenance of the historic facility. Another helpful and important group of volunteers is the Friends of Bush Gardens, who oversee the Bush House Conservatory and assist city workers in the maintenance of the grounds and gardens and maintaining the historic structures.

    Operations

    SAA operates on a budget of about $500,000. Funding comes from various sources: memberships (8%), gallery sales (20%), tuition and fees (15%), fund-raisers (40%), and miscellaneous (17%). There are three full-time employees: an Executive Director, an Art Gallery Director, and a Curator of the Bush House.

    Eight other regular part-time employees cover the various program and administrative needs of the organization, including a part-time coordinator for the Ceramics Program. A 20-member volunteer Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for policy-making decisions. Committees, chaired by Board members, serve in advisory and decision-making roles overseeing the various parts of the operation. Board terms are for three years and are renewable for another three-year term.

  • TOP

  • Salem Art Association
  • Visit SAA Retail Gallery
  • SAA "Public Hanging" (134K)
  • Salem Art Fair & Festival
  • Map to Salem Art Fair & Bush Park
  • Attention Artists & Performing Artists!
  • Salem Oregon Visitor Center
  • Salem Community Guide




  • Salem Oregon Community Guide
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