(Hillsboro, Ore.) — Did you know that Hillsboro is home to not one, but two local orchestras—the Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra and the Westside Community & Youth Orchestra? Did you know that we have a national award-winning theater company, Bag&Baggage Productions, right in Downtown Hillsboro? Or that you can attend an art opening, live performances, and art classes, all in one place, at the Walters Cultural Arts Center? These are just a few of the arts and cultural opportunities you might be missing right in your hometown.
October is Hillsboro Arts Month and this year, though you may not be able to attend an event in person, celebrate Hillsboro’s arts community by getting to know some of the fantastic local organizations and art-based businesses in your backyard…
- Airlie Press: A nonprofit publisher run by writers and dedicated to cultivating and sustaining fine contemporary poetry and promoting poets from the Pacific Northwest, while supporting and encouraging underrepresented voices and poets from marginalized communities. www.AirliePress.org
- Bag&Baggage Productions: Hillsboro’s resident professional theater company with the mission to crack open and explore the classics of world literature through innovative and provocative theater productions, while connecting these great works to the people in our diverse community in a way that affirms our shared humanity. www.BagnBaggage.org
- Catherine Bede Gallery: A Downtown gallery that represents a select group of local artists working in a wide variety of media and offers art classes in a wide variety of media and creative techniques. www.CatherineBede.com
- HART Theatre: Hillsboro’s premiere community theatre that’s known for its many great productions over its 25-year history, utilizing the best in local talent on stage and behind the scenes. www.Hart-Theatre.org
- Golden Road Art Studios: A cute little house with a long history that has been given new life as studio space for local artists working in a variety of mediums. www.GoldenRoadArtStudios.com
- Hillsboro Historical Society: Focused on bringing local history to life in creative and fun ways, the Historical Society programs include: guided tours of historic Hillsboro; the Time Travelers’ Ball and Exposition, and now “Stories on the Streets,” featuring signage revealing tales from downtown Hillsboro’s colorful past. www.HistoricHillsboro.org
- Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra: A seventy-plus member orchestra in its 20th season providing three low-cost and family-friendly concerts each year in Hillsboro and surrounding communities. www.HillsboroSymphony.org
- The Immigrant Story: An organization committed to documenting and archiving the voices and stories of immigrants in short, accessible visual and written formats. Their vision is to provide curated and relevant content to enhance empathy and create an inclusive community. Their goal is both to advance the national dialogue and to dispel myths about new Americans through strong, thoughtful, narratives. www.TheImmigrantStory.org
- Oregon Chorale: A sixty-voice symphonic choir that has been delighting audiences since 1985, performing choral music from around the world and maintaining an appreciation for technique while exhibiting flexibility of musical style. Their formal concerts showcase a variety of styles from Classical to Baroque, Renaissance to Contemporary, while the less formal presentations include world folk music, spirituals, dinner theater, and staged shows. www.OregonChorale.org
- Rasika: A cultural and educational non-profit organization based in Hillsboro and focused on presenting the classical performing arts of India to local audiences. Rasika has been critical in expanding the scope of diversity and ethno-music presentations in the region, bringing ethnic artists to the Metro area over 18 seasons. www.Rasika.org
- Sequoia Gallery + Studios: Dedicated to promoting the visual arts and arts education in Hillsboro and the surrounding area, this arts group offers the community three ways to connect with visual art: a gallery, classes, and artist studios. Visitors to the gallery can discover original work of Sequoia’s 33 juried members, watch the creative process at work in the upstairs studios, and sign-up for a class to jumpstart their own creativity. www.SequoiaGalleryStudios.org
- STAGES Performing Arts Youth Academy: Focused on offering a variety of theater classes and stage experiences to children in grades K-12, STAGES offers basic theater education with instructors who not only have a passion for theater, but experience working with children. www.StagesYouth.org
- Tualatin Valley Artists/Influence Music Hall: An organization of creative people dedicated to building a strong local community of artists, art, and music lovers, while providing education, quality gallery display, and poetry and musical performance—all in an atmosphere of encouragement and opportunity. www.InfluenceMusicHall.org
- Westside Community & Youth Orchestra: Originally founded to accompany the Intel Singers in concerts, this group expanded, reaching out to the community to establish themselves as a unique group filled with a mix of adult and youth members. WCYO encourages leadership and mentoring for all its musicians. www.WCYO.org
- Westside Quilters Guild: A vibrant addition to the arts community in Washington County with over 200 members. Activities include monthly meetings, charity quilting, workshops, retreats, weekend sew-ins, a quilt show held in odd numbered years, and more. www.Facebook.com/HillsboroQuilts
While some of these groups are taking a necessary hiatus from public programs during the pandemic, you can still learn about them on their website, join their mailing list, or follow them on social media to hear about new events when they are able to return. Others groups are offering online events—many for free—that you and your entire household could enjoy right now.
If you enjoy living in a city with galleries, theaters, chorale groups, orchestras, dance companies, and cultural celebrations, take the 2020 Arts Month Challenge and support them today. Additionally, consider matching your donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust and donating the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Endowment Fund to maximize your charitable impact. These cultural entities have been here for us for years, now it’s our opportunity to be here for them.
Information on Arts Month, local arts and cultural organizations, and the impact of arts in our lives can be found on HillsboroArtsMonth.org.
Cultural Arts is a division of the City of Hillsboro’s Parks & Recreation Department. For more information about Cultural Arts, visit Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/CulturalArts.
- Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra
- Sequoia Gallery + Studios
- The Immigrant Story, OliveBukuru
- Bag&Baggage Productions, photo by Cassie Greer