Purchased in 1994 by Katy and Jim Vigeland, Art Department, Inc. endows artists with all the trappings and trimmings necessary for drawing, painting, or creating life's unanswerable questions. Customers are greeted by a tower of stretched canvas ($0.99–$98.99) and a wall boasting a breadth of choices in fine-art paper. Bristle with excitement over Art Department, Inc.'s selection of brushes ($1–$249) or manually change your mood ring's readouts with a rainbow of paint ($1.60–$29.65). Miniature Mondrians and petite Picassos will be delighted by Art Department, Inc.'s assortment of children's arts-and-crafts supplies ($1.79–$59.99).
Veteran artisan Suzie Liles had already been a reputable figure in the fiber arts community for nearly 20 years—teaching, chairing conferences, and being active in several design and weaving guilds—when in March 2008 she and a partner decided to open Eugene Textile Center. An MFA in Fibers from the University of Oregon, Suzie channels her training, experience, and passion for all things woolly into making the center a craftsperson's paradise of name-brand supplies and instructional workshops in various forms of textile conjuring. Local hobbyists and professional fiber artists alike are able to rent spinning wheels and other equipment on a weekly or monthly basis. Suzie also welcomes visitors to weaving and surface-design studios, which are equipped with looms and a dye kitchen.
Glass doors line two lofted floors at The Lesson Factory's headquarters, barely able to contain the harmonies held within. In training rooms throughout the facility, instructors—some with degrees as high as the graduate level—guide aspiring musicians of all ages toward their music-making goals with programs geared to individualized learning. Students choose from rock and classical instruments, learning how to form chords on a guitar, keep steady rhythms on drums, or nobly play violin on a sinking boat. Thanks to a steady schedule of blues jams for adults and recitals for kids, all budding musicians get the chance to show off their skills to an audience on a regular basis.
Skip's Records & CD World's knowledgeable staff of discography aficionados guides musical interests through a 9,000-square-foot store housing more than 70,000 titles. Dig through well-organized shelves groaning under the weight of more than 4,000 DVDs, 15,000 records, and 18,000 pre-owned CDs priced as low as a few bucks a piece, and peruse the 'new arrivals' section for fresh pre-played media. A locally owned business since 1988, Skip's boasts a sizeable selection of hometown artists, and frequently hosts in-store performances on their custom-built in-house stage and PA system.
While living in Kenya, Leslie Mittelberg was amazed at the skills displayed by artisans and the vast variety of items that were sold in the community marketplace. After returning to the United States, she often longed for a way to access those rich textiles and beautiful sculptures, but found that very few African products made their way to the US. Guided by her passion, she began contacting sellers along the East African coast and encouraging them to export their wares. Today, she employs fair-trade policies to stock stores throughout the country, supporting artisans living in Kenya, Tanzania, the Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, and Ethiopia.