The Steele Collection
Exquisite sculpture work by Emily Steele in steel and glass.
The Arts Center became trustees of the collection in 2018, along with endowed support for the benefit of public art in Corvallis.


The Arts Center, including the Art Shop, will be open 10 am-6 pm Saturday, September 28 and 10 am-5 pm Sunday September 29, to support the Fall Festival! Preview the stunning Art for the Heart 8×8 gallery and immerse yourself in The Steele Collection exhibit, celebrating the art and life of Emily Steele, sculptor, maker and collaborator.

Artwork by Emily Steele

September 28-November 2, 2019

  • Artist Reception Thursday, October 17, 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Lunchbox Artist Talk, Thursday, October 24, 12 noon

The Art Center is honored to unveil the masterwork of artist Emily Steele, with a special reception on Thursday, October 17, 5:30 pm -8 pm. The show features sculptures of exquisite movement, detail, and composition last exhibited over 30 years ago. The Steele family has endowed The Arts Center to care for this exquisite collection for public exhibition and long term loans. The exhibit also coincides with the gala fundraising event ”Art for the Heart”, Saturday, October 5, at CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the OSU Campus. The Arts Center will honor Emily and Bob Steele. Her family’s commitment to The Art Center and the Corvallis creative community are an inspiration.

Emily developed a unique form of sculpture for free-standing, three-dimensional art forms in antique stained glass.  She expanded the traditional techniques with the use of steel support frames. Steel frames were locally constructed by Finstead Steele and several craftsmen remember the projects and Ms.Steele fondly. Ms. Steele sourced her material from the then starting Bullseye Glass, and far as New York where she had access to imported hand-blown glass from throughout Europe and the United States. 

Emily’s first exhibit at The Arts Center was with Boyce Lundstrom, founder of Bullseye in 1975 . The current exhibit will consist not only her glass sculptures and wall pieces, but also paintings, drawings and preparatory sketches.

Ms. Steele has been involved with The Arts Center for over 40 years. She served on the Board of Directors and on the Exhibition Committee member. She and her family have a passion for the arts, and have put an emphasis on art being accessible for everyone. The Steele Family Fund and the Steele Collection Fund are helping to make that possible. Her family wants to assure the work in the Steele Collection can be shared with the public, both at The Art Center and by arrangement of long-term loan to museums, galleries and public art exhibits.

For more information about the collection >>

A companion show by the Fire and Light Glass Guild will be on display October 8-November 9 in the Corrine Woodman Gallery. 

stunning glass and steel sculpture by Emily Steele

Steele Public Art Commission – First Presbyterian Church, Corvallis, OR.

Celebrating a Life in the Arts | Emily Steele

Emily Steele graduated from Oberlin College in Liberal Arts, and furthered her studies in the newly revived field of glass art with Richard McDonald, noted stained glass craftsman in Boston, Massachusetts, and C.B. Anderson of Portland, Oregon where she learned the Tiffany technique used for windows in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

After moving to Oregon, she established her own studio, and employing these techniques as a basis for her work, developed a unique form of sculpture for free-standing, three-dimensional art forms in antique stained glass.  She has expanded the traditional copper foil-lead technique by a special process which permits the use of steel and other strong metals as support under the lead.  Using stained glass as a medium for her sculpture, the viewer is provided with different impressions from multiple angles as different shades of color are superimposed.  These impressions can be further heightened by different direction and intensity of light source.

All glasses used in Ms. Steele’s sculptures represent the finest quality of hand blown materials throughout Europe and the United States. 

The Arts Center is the Trustee of the Emily Steele Sculpture Collection. The Steele Family donated eleven works for display and enjoyment by the public. 

Emily Steele Vita >>

–Excerpt from an article by Terry Lawhead, Glass Art Magazine February 1975

Emily Steele works with hand-blown antique stained glasses to create three dimensional free-standing sculptures that inspire, in the freshest most direct manner, an appreciation of all that is bright and clear and possessing natural strength.  The play of light upon surface—be it wood, still water, or stone—involves us in one of our most enchanting experiences.  An observer renews a forgotten innocence, lost or misplace in the turbulence of modern living, that affirms the unity of our being with all the beauty around us.  Emily’s sculpture, composed of cut pieces of stained glass enclosed in thick bands of lead, is organized in such a manner as to affect the passage of light using the same delicate qualities as an object in nature.  The many sided figures are endlessly new and unique as the viewer alters his perspective.  Much as a mountain stream in sunlight presents an infinite set of sparkling reflections, the impressions of the glass evoke the delightful expectancy one senses in organic movement.

The time devoted to such sculpture dictates a passion which transcends cleverness or pride in workmanship: an energy is released and is linked to the growing identity of the creation.  Each sculpture inhabits a place in time as a consequence of the effort expended in design and exacting work, but far more important is the lasting emotion the figures kindle in the eyes and heart of the beholder.  If these glassworks could talk to us they would sing.  Enthusiasm and earnestness is suspect in a time of doomsday ethics and reserved hopes, but the almost magical brilliance of the sculptures remain with the viewer as he walks away and returns to the demands of living in the world.  The image retained is not easily put into words, but again Emily has a favorite poem.  It is the final stanza of the poem After the Storm by Boris Pasternak, from a collection of poetry translated by his sister Lydia Pasternak, and it speaks of our holy attempts to resurrect wonder and regain beauty and grace in our lives:

It is not revolutions and upheavals

That clear the road to new and better days

But revelations, lavishness and torments

Of someone’s soul, inspire and ablaze.

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