Edgar H. Smith Fine Arts Series provides quality performing arts presentations for the mid-Willamette Valley community and supports the community service and educational missions of Western Oregon University. In addition, the Series presents workshops for University students; performances and discussion for our elementary and secondary schools; and informal lectures and demonstrations for the wider community.
Smith Fine Arts Series contributes directly to Western Oregon University’s growing reputation as a center for the Arts in the mid-Willamette Valley. Dr. Edgar H. Smith, a leading arts advocate and educator, established the Series in 1976 to inaugurate the opening of Rice Auditorium. After Dr. Smith’s death in 1979, the Series was renamed to honor his memory.
Currently, a generous grant from Western Oregon University’s student discretionary fund makes up a significant portion 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 from 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 Series is curated in collaboration with the board and staff by Dr. Dirk Freymuth, a WOU music professor and professional musician. Season programming includes world-class performances across a variety of musical genres, as well as dance. Artists travel from across the US and beyond to grace the stage here in Monmouth. In addition to performing an evening show, these visiting artists often share their talents, skills, and knowledge with students of all ages and the wider community through free educational outreach sessions.