Artist Eugene Bennett to be remembered

Community members are invited to a tribute in memory of Rogue Valley artist Eugene Bennett to be held on Friday, April 22, 7 p.m. at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater. Bennett, who passed away on Nov. 2, 2010, will be honored with music, words, and film.

A reception follows at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, 40 S. Bartlett St., where a week-long exhibition of Eugene’s art will be on display along with work from recipients of the Eugene Bennett Scholarship Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation.

Born on Dec. 20, 1921 in Central Point, Eugene Peart Bennett graduated from Medford High School and attended the University of Oregon before serving in the Navy. After his discharge, Bennett was accepted at The Art Institute of Chicago, where he received his Bachelors and Masters degrees. He taught at the Art Institute before moving to Europe for a year. Bennett then decided to move back to the Rogue Valley in 1958, where he taught art and, along with other area artists, founded the Rogue Gallery & Art Center in 1960. While Bennett continued to exhibit in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, he became a tireless supporter of local arts groups.

Bennett’s achievements include a solo show at the Portland Art Museum while still a student at The Art Institute of Chicago. More recently, he was the first recipient of the Arts Council of Southern Oregon’s Lifetime Achievement Award and received the Governor’s Arts Award for having “significantly contributed to the growth and development of Oregon’s cultural life.”

At Bennett’s request, memorial contributions can be made to the Rogue Gallery and Art Center (memo line: in honor of Eugene Bennett), 40 S. Bartlett St., Medford, OR 97501, or to The Oregon Community Foundation (memo line: Eugene Bennett Scholarship Fund), 818 W. Eighth St., Medford, OR 97501.

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