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Twelve Things You May Not Have Known About the Coos Art Museum

Posted by TravelCoosBay on January 29, 2015

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Without question, one of the best kept secrets on Oregon’s South Coast is the Coos Art Museum (CAM). For nearly 50 years, CAM has been a vital part of the state’s cultural landscape providing countless opportunities for the many extraordinary artists living in our region.

Read what a recent visitor had to say about the museum on Trip Advisor:

“A converted post office from the Art Deco area, the Coos Art Museum is an unexpected treasure. I was impressed with the care of the remodel of the building. The staff takes great pride (and rightfully so) in what they have to offer and were excellent at customer service and sharing the story of the museum.”

So next time you are visiting Oregon’s South Coast, be sure to add this hidden cultural gem to your itinerary, you won’t regret it! Here are 12 things you may not have known about the Coos Art Museum:

1. It’s a great spot for Prefontaine fans! Visitors will find a number of unique photographs and tributes to Steve Prefontaine including the shoes he wore while running the race in which he set his first American record in the Prefontaine Memorial Gallery on the 2nd floor.

2. CAM is the third oldest art museum in Oregon.

3. The building was once a post office.  It’s true, the museum is housed in a very cool historical art deco structure built in 1936 that was once a US Post Office!

4. It’s surprisingly huge.  When you go, plan to stay a while.  The museum contains over 5600 square feet of space and has six galleries which include the Maggie Karl Gallery, the Perkins Room Gallery, the Alcove Gallery, the Mable Hansen Gallery, the Uno Richter Atrium Gallery, and the Prefontaine Gallery on the 2nd floor.

5. CAM supports a range of local artists.  The museum’s permanent collection, comprised of over 550 works, is focused on contemporary fine art prints and original works in all media by Pacific Northwest artists.

6. It’s building is home to the Oregon Coast Music Association.  OCMA, which produces the annual Oregon Coast Music Festival and other popular events, also maintains its offices in the building.

7.  The exhibits are ever changing.  CAM presents anywhere between 12-25 exhibitions every year.

8.  They have amazing art classes!  The public can participate in a number of ongoing art classes and workshops at the museum. Their art education program is tailored for various age groups from elementary school age through the adult level.

9.  The organization has been around for a while.  The Coos Art Museum began by exhibiting in storefront locations and eventually moved into the old Carnegie Library Building near downtown Coos Bay in 1966.

10.  They have an amazing print collection. The fine art print collection contains many works by major American artists including Alexander Calder, Warrington Colescott, Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and Larry Rivers.

11. The museum is in a very cool building.  CAM has been in its current location since 1984. Exposed brick walls, an arched ceiling and art deco staircase from the old post office building were preserved and can still be seen today.

12. You can rent their facility and certain pieces from their collection! Got an event coming up? Consider renting their facility (reduced rates for museum members)! Coos Art Museum member may also rent art from the CAM Rental/ Sales gallery.

Coos Art Museum is located at 235 Anderson Avenue in Coos Bay, OR. They are open Tues – Fri 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday 1 pm to 4 pm. Admission is $5, $2 for students, seniors, free to Members of CAM. Contact them at (541) 267-3901 for more info.

Their current exhibits include Pacific Shores Photography & More through February 21, 2015. Check their website or CAM’s Facebook Page for the most current info on exhibits, classes, workshops and events.