Eric Washburn Gallery Opening
By Deanna Uutela (Eugene Weekly)
It takes most artists years to perfect their craftsmanship and be at a level good enough to be shown in a gallery, but for Eric Washburn, seven months was all he needed to become a ceramic prodigy.
“Eric had only been doing ceramics for less than a year, but his pieces were amazing and at a level well above many of the other students,” recalls Eric’s friend and fellow UO art student Hilary Stetson.
When Eric Washburn, 22, died suddenly in a car crash, June 26, 1991, in his home town in Arkansas, he left behind a legacy that went beyond just artistic talent.
“Eric had a heart of gold,” says Eric’s mother Margaret Washburn. “His friends and teachers have all told me how much of an inspiration and joy he was to have in class, and how he was a mentor for other students.”
The students and faculty respected him so much that they decided to name their new art gallery at the UO after him.
“When we all got together to discuss what the name of the gallery should be, we all decided to name it the Eric Washburn Gallery in Eric’s memory,” says Stetson.
The Eric Washburn Gallery has housed the exhibits of attending students for over 15 years. In those years, little has been told about Eric’s life or his work, until now. For the first time ever, the works for whom the gallery was named will be on display, along with a dedication plaque honoring his life and some of Eric’s poetry.
His pottery, which runs from whimsical heads atop teapots to more intricate word-kiln-fired vases, will be shown at the Opening for this
Retrospective on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 4 to 7 pm. Following this, the exhibit will remain on display from Oct. 1 to 7 at the Eric Washburn Gallery.