History of the organization
The Oregon Trail Arts Association was founded in 1963 to recognize the educational and psychological value of what art programs could do to impact a community. When Baker County dedicated its new library in 1970, the Oregon Trail Arts Council (our name at the time) saw an opportunity for a permanent home; our request to occupy the Carnegie Library Building was granted in 1971. When we filed for non-profit status, it was discovered that we would have to change our name because it conflicted with one in LaGrande.
Contestants submitted the following suggestions:
- Sagebrush Creative Arts Center
- Pioneer Creative Arts Center
- Creative and Performing Arts Center
- Four Seasons Creative Arts Center
- Elkhorn Creative Arts Center
The board added “Crossroads” to choice #3 and awarded $10 to the Jay-C-ettes for their submission. That is how we became Crossroads Creative and Performing Arts Center, for which our non-profit status was gained in 1977.
In the beginning, classes were free unless the teacher submitted a request to the board to charge a fee. The fees ranged from 25 cents for an art lesson from Sr. Rose de Lima to $1 for craft classes. Membership was left at $3 per year but only after a “rousing argument at the board meeting.” There was also an ongoing concern about how to pay for heating the Carnegie Library Building in the winter months.
In January 1972, membership was 555. Concerns about direction lead Crossroads to accept assistance from the Oregon Arts Commission, which sent Mr. Angus Randolph to consult. His 16-page report is part of our permanent records. His recommendations included increasing membership dues, charging for classes, and offering more small plays. In addition, he explained what an art association is:
It defines by example what art is, to the public and its members through all functions. It makes art accessible to a community. It stands ready with open arms to receive anyone who wants to accept its function on an experience level. It is not simply a mirror for its public to gaze into. It is, in part, a reflection, but not a mirror. If a mirror at all, it is a special magical mirror, one that allows a person to see himself in a new way. Its role is twofold: a reflection of its community and an educational or sponsoring body. It is important to the business community and schools.
Crossroads continues to use these recommendations as a blueprint, and 175 to 200 people viewed our first professional exhibit.
For a complete history of Crossroads and the Carnegie Library see this word document Provided by Jan Kirby, Director
Programs we offer include
- Hand-to-Heart Scholarship Fund
- Artists in Residence
- Crossroads Players Community Theater
- Children’s summer art camps
- First Friday (since 1966)
- Art at the Crossroads
- Writing workshop
The needs that Crossroads fulfill include
- Opportunities to study, teach, and exhibit art for artists
- Arts education, performing arts, and cultural events for the community
- Programs in schools
- Networking with partners
- Established networks for artists to promote their skills and partner with other artists
- Mentor programs
- Economic benefits