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New COCC art exhibition features abstract nature paintings

'Embracing Life' by Cheri Lee Helfenstein
'Embracing Life' by Cheri Lee Helfenstein

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A collection of abstract paintings and drawings by artist and poet Cheri Lee Helfenstein, titled “Early Spring in the Mist,” is showing at Central Oregon Community College’s Barber Library Rotunda Gallery Feb. 6 to April 7, with a reception from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9.

The Barber Library is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Visit for library hours.

“Over the years, I’ve been captured by the joyful freedom of abstract expressionism, especially when seen in nature,” said the Bend-based artist, a former COCC library staffer and art instructor involved in the establishment of the library’s Rotunda Gallery.

“In the simplicity of nature there is perfection but not all of nature is perfect. As a keen observer of nature, I find that I am drawn to those things that at first appear perfect, but upon deeper scrutiny are actually quite the contrary.”

Helfenstein earned a Bachelor of Arts in painting and drawing from Southern Oregon University and received a Chinese brush-painting certificate from the University of Oregon.

For more information, contact Tina Hovekamp, director of library services, at 541-383-7295 or In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability should contact Caitlyn Gardner at 541-383-7237. For accommodation because of other disability, such as hearing impairment, contact disability services at 541-383-7583.

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