Arts Center bids farewell to manager, plans for future

Feb. 16, 2011

The Arts are often either listed as "in decline" or "under-appreciated" in many national reports. But the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River has bucked much of the gloomy trend.

In its lifetime, CCA has continued increasing both its community presence and its arts promotion activities to a demonstratively grateful community. This is, in no small part, due to a small but dedicated staff and many supportive volunteers.

Catherine Kiewit, gallery manager for the arts center for the last five years, has been an integral part of the organization's success. But, like any good thing, her tenure at CCA is about to come to an end.

Kiewit recently announced her planned departure date of May 6, to begin a new undertaking. Kiewit is expecting her first child with husband Joe.

"I plan to be a full-time parent once the baby arrives and so I am going to retire as the art center gallery manager," Kiewit said.

According to CCA Executive Director Joanie Thomson, "Catherine has been a significant force in raising the bar of quality for our gallery shows and artist representation."

Thompson also notes that since the opening of the permanent facility on Cascade Avenue, CCA has become the "poster child for an arts organization success story at the state level." Success in the gallery has supported that overall winning model.

"Catherine exemplified a person who can take an idea and run with it. She will really be missed here," Thomson added. Kiewit has also played a key role in keeping the 200-plus community volunteers actively involved in center operations.

"I am truly thankful for the experience and will leave incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve this community in the way that I have," Kiewit said.

Following her departure from CCA, Kiewit notes that she will continue to serve on city council in Bingen and will "look forward to attending First Fridays in the future as a guest."

Ironically, coinciding with Kiewit's leave, CCA will be conducting a month-long "five-year anniversary celebration" honoring the move into the permanent facility while sharing their appreciation for committed patrons.

In an effort to give back to and engage the community, CCA hopes to expand awareness and access to the programs available at the center.

Beginning with the First Friday kick-off event on June 3, CCA will present "Get Centered," a month of arts programming offered for no cost.

Free events will include: two CAST performances of vignettes from past productions, a local film maker night, a concert, book reading, theater reading and writer's workshop and a variety of art classes for both youth and adults.

The art center is now seeking a permanent replacement for Kiewit in the gallery, with a plan to hire in March for an April start, allowing one month of overlap with Kiewit for training.

A job description is posted on the Center's website at or contact Thomson at Deadline is Feb. 21.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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