In the small community of Summit, Earl Newman’s artistic mark can be seen most everywhere one looks. The brightly painted community center is a beacon in the thick woods of the Coast Range. The bulletin board next to the structure’s front door displays Newman’s posters for upcoming community events. The interior displays more posters, and a history of the raising of the building shows a young Earl Newman smiling amidst the construction scene.
During the 26th annual Toledo Labor Day Art Walk from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, the Yaquina River Museum of Art will be featuring Newman as this year’s guest artist. Visitors can see his hand-printed works and meet with the artist in the Yaquina River Museum of Art’s Schoolhouse Exhibition space located at 151 NE Alder St. in Toledo.
Newman has been a self-employed artist for nearly 39 years, beginning in Venice Beach, Calif. in 1960. He began his career as a silk-screen printer, which he described as simply “a way to pay the bills.” He began designing works for local coffee shops and jazz clubs before he started designing posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1963. His collection of Monterey Jazz Festival prints display iconic jazz artists like Ray Charles, BB King, Etta James, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and others.
In 1972, Newman moved his family out to the small, unincorporated community of Summit, where he still lives and prints today. Besides his popular posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival, his works have been featured for events such as the Abbot Kinney Street Fair in Venice Beach, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Country Fair, as well as for venues such as Oregon State University and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
In 1992 and again in 2010, Newman’s work for the Monterey Jazz Festival was adopted into the Smithsonian’s Division of Musical History in Washington, D.C. The set of posters includes a complete collection of his numbered and signed editions of Monterey Jazz Festival prints dating back to 1963.
Throughout his long and illustrious career as an artist, Newman’s humility shows in the way he describes his legacy as simply a product of being in the right place at the right time.
The 26th annual Toledo Labor Day Art Walk will feature 11 venues and 30 artists. The public is invited to enjoy the displays, refreshments, demonstrations, lectures and more on this self-guided tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Maps of the event will be available at participating galleries and studios. More information can be found online at toledoartwalk.com.