Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider

July 30 – October 23, 2016

Study Gallery

Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider opens July 30 in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art Study Gallery and continues through October 23, 2016. The exhibition is the first retrospective and largest exhibition to date of the work of self-taught Oregon woodcarver Russell Childers (1915-1998), who spent 39 years institutionalized at Oregon Fairview Home in Salem.

Curated by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art collection curator, Jonathan Bucci, the exhibition presents 25 carvings. The works are largely autobiographical in nature and depict family, friends, historical figures and animals, as well as memories of Childers’ childhood home in Wasco County, Oregon; and his time at Fairview Hospital. Childers’ handmade tool chest will also be on view.

“We are thrilled to be able to organize this exhibition and bring this important research into the public domain, giving visitors an opportunity to get to know one of Oregon’s most important self-taught artists,” says Hallie Ford Museum of Art director John Olbrantz.

This exhibition will overlap with “Strange and Wonderful: American Folk Art from the Volkersz Collection,” opening September 17 and continuing through December 22, 2016 in the museum’s Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery. “Strange and Wonderful” features the work of 30 artists from across the US. Presenting the two exhibitions in tandem helps place Childers’ work within a larger outsider art framework.

A 64-page full color hardcover catalog, titled Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider, includes an essay by Bucci that tells Childers' life story and discusses the evolution of his artwork from the 1940s to the 1990s. This catalog will be available in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art store by mid-September for $17.95.

Lenders to the exhibition include Willamette Valley Rehabilitation Center, Missoula Art Museum, Salem Art Association, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Oregon Health Sciences University, and ten private collections from California, Oregon, and Washington.


July 29, 2016 |   5-8 p.m.  |  Hallie Ford Museum of Art
For more information call 503-370-6855
     *Members and invited guests RSVP by calling 503-370-6855 or email

Join museum staff and docents at the museum for complimentary tours of Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider.

September 13, 2016  |  12:30 p.m.  |  Led by exhibition curator Jonathan Bucci
September 27, 2016  |  12:30 p.m.  |  Led by a museum docent
October 9, 2016  |  2 p.m.  |  Led by a museum docent
October 11, 2016 |  12:30 p.m.  |  Led by a museum docent
October 18, 2016 |  12:30 p.m.  |  Led by a museum docent


Strange and Wonderful: American Folk Art
September 16, 2016 at 5 p.m. | Free and open to the public
Paulus Lecture Hall, Willamette University College of Law
A lecture with outsider art collectors Willem and Diane Volkersz.

Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider
September 25, 2016 at 3 p.m. | Free and open to the public
Roger Hull Lecture Hall, Hallie Ford Museum of Art
A lecture with exhibition curator Jonathan Bucci.

From the Margins to the Mainstream: Artists with Disabilities in Contemporary Art
October 9, 2016 at 3 p.m. | Free and open to the public
Roger Hull Lecture Hall, Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Tom di Maria, Executive Director, Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland, California, will discuss the changing role of artists with disabilities in contemporary art.
| More information |

Singular Spaces: Art Environment in Spain and Around the World
October 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Hudson Concert Hall, Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center
Join internationally-recognized scholar, curator, and writer Jo Farb Hernandez as she introduces audiences to art environments around the world.


This exhibition and accompanying catalog are made possible by general operating support grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission, with additional funding provided by a grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission and private individuals. 


Image not available

Russell Childers, "The Wee Mother and Child," 1971

Related Links

Russell Childers book image

Exhibition Book


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