Exhibition of Hybrid Instruments Includes Concert, Sound Workshop

Film reel guitars, cowboy boot violins, axe cellos and Styrofoam packaging pianos are among the "hybrid" musical instruments that will be on display this summer at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University. Ken Butler: Hybrid Visions, featuring 56 of the mixed media artist's inventive and humorous instruments, opens June 9 and continues through Aug. 26.

Butler studied viola as a child and maintained an interest in music while studying art at Colorado College and Portland State University. He has shown and performed at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has been featured on PBS, CNN, MTV and NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His music and performances have been described as "Kurt Schwitters meets Rube Goldberg meets Laurie Anderson meets Miles Davis."

In conjunction with the exhibition, Butler will lead a free sound workshop for youths (grades K-8) June 9 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall at the museum. He will show how simple instruments can be created from household objects, and participants will discover the relationship between sound, noise and music and hear their voices altered with electronic effects. Enrollment is limited to 25 students plus their parents, and pre-registration is required. To register, call (503) 370-6855.

Also on June 9, Butler will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Elsinore Theatre in Salem. The concert will be an evening of mesmerizing sounds and melodic grooves as Butler performs on an arsenal of amplified hybrid string instruments made from household objects and tools. Neil Strauss of The Village Voice has said of Butler, "It's not just that Ken Butler knows how to bow stringed instrument parade rifles, play dental dams like trumpets and construct keyboards from aluminum crutches, it's that he knows how to play them well."

Admission to the concert is free to Hallie Ford Museum of Art and Historic Elsinore Theatre members, but a ticket is required at the door (tickets may be picked up at the museum or theatre). Tickets for non-members are $10 and may be purchased at the museum or theatre, or online at The box office and doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (503) 370-6855 or (503) 375-3574.

Ken Butler: Hybrid Visions was organized in collaboration with the Art Gym at Marylhurst University. Local support for the exhibition was provided in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855 or go to

Please note that the concert and workshop scheduled for June 9 have been canceled due to health reasons. More Information