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Sun, Jan 21


Newport Visual Arts Center

Rena Ekmanis: “Pelagic Wilderness”

Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is excited to present a new exhibit by local artist Rena Ekmanis: “Pelagic Wilderness” will be on display in the Upstairs Gallery at Newport Visual Arts Center (VAC) January 21 – February 25, 2024.

Rena Ekmanis: “Pelagic Wilderness”
Rena Ekmanis: “Pelagic Wilderness”

Time & Location

Jan 21, 2024, 12:00 PM – Feb 25, 2024, 4:00 PM

Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Dr, Newport, OR 97365, USA

About the event

An artist and natural science illustrator, Ekmanis’s work represents her passion for, love of, and concern for the ocean and its inhabitants. Working in a variety of mediums – including watercolor, acrylics, clay, and even beach-collected plastic debris – she creates stunning depictions of the sea and marine life. The goal is not only to pay homage to the grandeur of the pelagic wilderness but also to express her concern for its future and, essentially, to cry for help on its behalf. Ekmanis’s work, while alluring, has foreboding undertones intended to portray a message of conservation.

“When surrounded by wilderness and wildlife, I feel the magic and mystery of this beautiful planet,” said Ekmanis. “I am most enchanted with the ocean and all the fantastic marine life. I find peace and infinite inspiration underwater, and making art helps me feel more connected to the animals I love so much. Through my work, I hope to raise awareness about rare and endangered species and the need to protect them in any way we can.”

Ekmanis earned her B.F.A. in Drawing from California College of the Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Natural Science Illustration from California State University at Monterey Bay. While she currently resides in Newport, she has also lived in New Zealand, California, and on the Big Island of Hawaii  – where she spent as much time as possible underwater. Travel and adventures have enriched Ekmanis’s life as well as her work. In 2023, she and her daughter walked the world-famous 500-mile trek along the Camino Del Norte in Spain.“

I was introduced to Rena’s work through her participation in the 2023 OCCA Member Show,” said Chasse Davidson, director of the Newport Visual Arts Center, “so it seems fitting that her exhibit will open in conjunction with this year’s Member Show. I was instantly attracted to the color and realism of her paintings, as well as her success in conveying the threats to marine life – messages that are poignant and appropriate to be shared in a place so close to the ocean.”

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, January 21st from 2pm-4pm at Newport Visual Arts Center. Light refreshments will be served, and Ekmanis will deliver remarks at 3pm. All are welcome, and admission is free.Exhibits at Newport Visual Arts Center (VAC) are free to the public and can be viewed most Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 12pm – 4pm, at 777 NW Beach Drive in Newport. For more information, visit

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