May 13th, 2019

McMinnville: We’ve Got a Show For You

Let’s start with an anecdote and flashback to 2007.

I was talking with a McMinnville actor about the local arts and culture scene. He was among a couple dozen artists I’d contacted for a story I was reporting for the News-Register about the “state of the arts” in the area. He summed up the consensus this way: McMinnville was part of a cultural “renaissance” in the Willamette Valley, “but we have a long way to go.”

Flash forward to the present: Yamhill County has arrived.

McMinnville is an amazing, idyllic place to soak up Oregon wine country. If you’ve already visited, you know that. But if you’re planning your first trip, let me venture a guess that it was our world-class wines and Third Street’s lively restaurant scene that caught your attention.

Fair enough. Our wineries and restaurants alone merit the trip.

But, having lived here since 1997, I can attest to something else: McMinnville’s artistic and cultural life is exploding in a way that our wine and culinary scene did about 15 years ago. Something special is happening here. Maybe “synergy” sounds like a cliche, but it is true. We’ve got it.

Visiting this summer? Awesome. If you’re sampling our wines, why not sip that Pinot while listening to opera? McMinnville’s Aquilon Music Festival has you covered. It’s only Year Two for this amazing event, so get your tickets before word gets out.

Aquilon is only the tip of the iceberg. Consider:

— In the last decade, we’ve had roughly ten new festivals and other major cultural events emerge in McMinnville and the local scene. To name just a few: The Walnut City Music Festival, the McMinnville Short Film Festival, and the Terroir Creative Writing Festival.

The Walnut City Music Festival takes place annually on Labor Day Weekend.
Photo: Sionnie Lafollette

— Ten years ago, we had precious few art galleries. Today, my list of locals includes nearly twenty: The Gallery at Ten Oaks, Zach Hixson Gallery, Marilyn Affolter Fine Art Gallery, the McMinnville Center for the Arts, and more. Consider, too, our legendary Art Harvest Studio Tour in October.

— Looking for quality live theater? Gallery Theater, Linfield College Theater, Willamette Shakespeare and Penguin Productions have you covered. Plus, there’s live music everywhere, outdoors and in, year-round. We also do poetry readings and lectures.

Yamhill County is home to hundreds of creators — painters, actors, writers, musicians, sculptors, poets, dancers and filmmakers. Come see us. Because no matter what the season, we’ve got a show for you.

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater
productions since 1998.