Arvie Smith: Scarecrow

January 22 – March 26, 2022

Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery


Arvie Smith (American, born 1938) is a nationally recognized African American painter from Portland, Oregon, who deals with issues of race and identity in his work. Organized by director John Olbrantz, the exhibition will feature 26 paintings that span a twenty-five year period on loan from public and private collections in Maryland, Mississippi, California, Washington, and Oregon, including the Portland Art Museum and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

Born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Roganville, Texas, and Los Angeles, Smith lived in California, British Columbia, and Idaho in the 1960s and early 1970s before he eventually settled in Portland in 1976. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he worked as a hospital orderly and youth counselor until he decided to pursue a lifelong dream and enroll in the Pacific Northwest College of Art, where he earned a BFA degree in painting in 1986. He went on to earn an MFA degree in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he studied with and was a teaching assistant to Grace Hartigan, and eventually returned to Portland to teach at PNCA from 1995 until his retirement in 2014. Smith is the recipient of a Governor’s Art Award in 2017 and an honorary doctorate from PNCA in 2018.  

Financial Support

Arvie Smith: Scarecrow has been supported in part by funds from the HFMA Exhibition Fund, by advertising support from The Oregonian/Oregon Live; and by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission

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