Centralia College renewed its commitment to the arts Tuesday with the dedication of six Roi Partridge etchings to the college’s permanent art collection. The etchings were donated by Stuart and Kathy Halsan and symbolize the college’s pledge to expand the art collection on campus.
“This was an historic event for Centralia College,” said college President Dr. Robert Frost. “To contribute to the permanent public beauty and intellectual thought of our college community is an act that deeply resonates with our humanity.”
Stuart Halsan, a trustee for the Centralia College Board of Directors, spoke at the dedication Tuesday, detailing the life of Roi Partridge, who was born in Centralia in 1888. Partridge went on to international fame as an artist. His etchings were honored with numerous awards and are represented in several collections, including the British Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the University of California, and the New York Public Library.
“We may live in a town of 11,000 people, but Roi Partridge proves you can do anything you want,” said Halsan. “If you have drive, determination, and passion, you can accomplish anything. That’s a powerful lesson for the students at Centralia College.”
For Partridge’s family, the dedication is an honor that reflects his love of Washington and the northwest.
“I am sure Roi would have been especially proud to be honored and recognized as an artist from Centralia,” said Meg Partridge, granddaughter of Roi Partridge and Imogen Cunningham, and director of the Imogen Cunningham Trust. “His interest in etching and drawing was lifelong. Roi and Imogen returned to the northwest to draw and photograph the coastal landscape of Washington from time to time; a landscape they undoubtedly felt great affinity for and knew well.”
For Centralia College faculty members, the new artwork is a powerful reminder of the role of art in education and the inspirational power it provides the entire community.
“This is one way we can serve the community – by bringing interesting and exciting work here to be seen and appreciated,” said Liz Frey, Centralia College art professor. “Roi Partridge is one of those talented Centralia natives who went on to make an impact in the larger art world, yet is not well known in his hometown. I think his beautiful prints are bound to enrich and inspire our community.”
During the dedication Tuesday, Alex Solomon, Centralia College assistant art professor, detailed the process of creating etchings, noting that little has changed since Partridge created his work in the early 20th century.
“Roi Partridge was a printmaker whose primary medium was copper-plate etchings,” explained Solomon. “Etchings are a favorite medium of artists who love to draw, the process allowing for a quality of line difficult to attain in any other medium. Partridge was an adept draftsman who seemed especially fascinated by rural landscapes. His ability to describe the scenery around him with fine lines is truly impressive.”
The Partridge etchings in Centralia College’s permanent collection are The Unused Road, Willows in the West, Aspenland, Mountain Valley, Snowfields, and Shuksan. They are now on display in the Kirk Library.
The Halsans have made several additional items available to the college for temporary display in the library. These include Leaning Willows, In Sante Fe, La Porte de Moret, and a copper plate etching by Roi Partridge, as well as two photos, Amaryllis and Portrait of Artist, by Imogen Cunningham, wife of Roi Partridge.