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‘Boots and Cane,’ by Sherry Ludwig
Art show offers works inspired by ‘Mother of Oregon’ book posted on 04/01/2019

Beth Verheyden, an art teacher with a studio in Boring, has been a part in the Lake Oswego Reads Artist Exhibition events and saw an opportunity to bring something similar to Sandy.

And last year, Verheyden put the challenge forward to her students: read “This Road We Traveled,” by Jane Kirkpatrick, and create a piece of art inspired by it.

This month, the results will be on display with a show at the Sandy Public Library, 38980 Proctor Blvd. in Sandy, on Friday, April 12, which will include an appearance by the authors and the opportunity for visitors to get a book signed.

“It’s been one of my greatest challenges and greatest rewards as an artist,” Verheyden said about the process of creating art from a book she’s read.

The book offers the story of Tabitha (Tabby) Brown and her family’s journey in 1845 over the Oregon Trail from Missouri. Tabby became the founder of Pacific University in Forest Grove and was also named as the “Mother of Oregon” by the Oregon Legislature.

Approximately half of Verheyden’s students took up the challenge, resulting in 25 original paintings that will be on exhibit at the AntFarm Cafe in Sandy, 39140 Proctor Blvd. from April 12-29.

Welches artist Steve Ludeman, a student of Verheyden’s, noted the book was based on the journals and other writings of Brown, and that it came across more as a modern tome.

“The book is very contemporary,” he said. “Even though it talks about early pioneers on the trail, (it’s) centered around a real person. This Tabitha Brown is quite a character.”

Ludeman added that the book is a timely one as it deals with women in leadership roles, a theme currently in the news.

The author presentation and book signing, which will also include Stafford Hazelett, author of “Wagons to the Willamette” and descendant of Tabby Brown, will take place between 4-5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12 at the library, while the artists’ reception and another book sale and signing will be held after, from 6-8 p.m. at the AntFarm Cafe, which will include catering by AntFarm and live music by Michael Swanson on Oboe and David Blanchard on guitar.

Verheyden noted that her students are very excited for the event and that it could be the start of a regular program in Sandy similar to the one in Lake Oswego.

“It’s been so positive and good for (my students),” she said. “I think that the community is ready for it. The Ant Farm is so supportive of the arts, the library is so supportive of the arts.”

All works of art will be for sale, with part of the proceeds benefiting AntFarm’s youth programs.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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