Now in its 43nd season, the Smith Fine Arts Series contributes directly to Wester Oregon University’s growing reputation as a center for the arts in the mid-Willamette Valley. The Series was established in 1976 by Edgar H. Smith, a leading arts advocate and educator, to inaugurate the opening of Rice Auditorium. The series was later named for Dr. Smith on the occasion of his death in 1979.
Currently, a generous grant from Western Oregon University’s student discretionary fund makes up one-third of the SFAS budget. Ticket sales, individual donations, and business sponsorships also help to support the Series. The 589-seat Rice Auditorium on campus serves as the performance venue and outreach facility; WOU supplies the venue, including management and technical support.
A board of passionate Arts advocates from Monmouth, Dallas, Independence, and Salem advises the series, serving three-year terms. The board includes representatives of the business community, both active and retired; government and education sectors; and University faculty, staff, and students. It is a working board with each member actively participating in committee assignments and board responsibilities throughout the year.
The Smith Fine Arts Series is curated in collaboration with the board and staff by Dr. Dirk Freymouth, a WOU professor and professional musician. Each season includes performance across many musical genres, often including dance. Our visiting artists often present outreach workshops for K-12 and university students in addition to their main performances.