Here, we not only nurture the talented artists among our student body, we share our enthusiasm with the community — showcasing inspirational performers, orators and artists from around globe.
We serve as a magnet to Willamette Valley’s art scene by hosting hundreds of free or low-cost concerts, plays, readings, films and festivals every year. Plus, we have our own art museum, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
Our music students and faculty perform dazzling music concerts both on and off campus, and our major performing ensembles tour regularly throughout the Northwest, California and Canada.
A mix of classical and contemporary, our music department likes to keep its offerings fresh with its New Music at Willamette series of concerts, residencies and lectures dedicated to the music of our time.
Plus, our Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series brings world-renowned musicians to Salem several times each year — a wonderful, cultural treat for our students and surrounding community.
In February 2015, OnStage, a popular theater blog, ranked Willamette’s theatre department as first in the nation among programs offering bachelor's degrees. Therefore, it’s no surprise that our lofty standing is reflected in our outstanding live performances. Each year, our theatre lineup includes three to four plays, a dance concert, and student-created projects.
You never know what treasures the Hallie Ford Museum of Art will unveil next. From Auguste Rodin’s immense sculpture, The Burghers of Calais, in the entryway, to archaeological finds from Ancient Egypt, our museum surprises in its scope and pure, aesthetic thrills.
Our museum is free to students and affordable to the community. We showcase Native American and Northwest artists, and explore the history of art around the world. Special exhibitions range from classical works to modern masters. We also host gallery talks and tours, and we hold special exhibitions of Willamette art students’ creations.
Lectures and Special Events
Our Atkinson Lecture Series brings prominent writers, actors and leaders to town — visitors have included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, novelist John Irving, actor and social media icon George Takei and author/filmmaker Sebastian Junger. We also partner with outside arts groups to host their programs on campus. These include the Oregon Symphony and Salem Chamber Orchestra. We also sponsor events in the community, including the Salem Film Festival, World Beat Festival and Salem Art Fair & Festival.