Alsea Arts

      Our romance began in 1982, when we met at a street festival in Dallas, Texas called the May Fest.  Who would have guessed that was what life was about to become was a ‘Mae’ fest. Dan was drawing portrait sketches and Mae was painting children’s faces just a few feet apart from each other in front of the infamous Greenville Bar and Grill, owned by a real Texas character, Tom Garrison. Mae watched Dan sketch half drunken festers,  magically smoothing out the ruffles from the heat, creating beautiful portraits. This artistic treatment caught Mae’s eye as she watched all three days, prompting her to invite Dan and a friend for dinner and closer analyses . After dinner that night, Mae caught Dan eating out of her pans in the kitchen, a practice that lovingly continues to this day.

      Mae worked in the local flower shop, Blooms and Greenery, and she suggested painting some cloud and flower backgrounds for the windows, which became our first art project together.  All this led to a strong connection between us, and after three months together, we made our relationship legal.

      It wasn’t too long after that we felt the itch to get out of Texas, like Stevie Ray Vaughan said, “I couldn’t take the weather”. 

      In September of 1988,  we took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary in North Bend, Washington.  By March of 1989, we loaded everything we owned into a 24’ Ryder truck, there wasn’t enough room left for a pair of chopsticks.  With our van towed behind us, we moved, not knowing anyone, to the Pacific Northwest. 

      We finally found a place to rent on the Tulalip Reservation, an hour North of Seattle long before the casinos were there. The place we found was on the Tulalip Bay.  It was so small and humble we called it our ‘view with a room’.  At low tide we would collect mussels and share our bounty with our neighbors.  It was the first time Dan ever lived by the ocean and  he loved watching the amazing amounts of water move in and out with the tides.  It was totally magical.  One Sunday, we ventured North towards La Conner to shop at the Co-op in Mount Vernon.   The Tulip Festival was in progress, and who should be there doing his ‘loose wire’ act, but the imitable vaudevillian, Reverend Chumleigh.  That fateful day we made friends with Chumleigh and he showed us the Northwest.  He took us to hot springs all over Washington, and then he took us to the Oregon Country Fair.  We fell in love with Oregon. We hooked up with the right people and began to paint stages for the Country Fair.  It took until 1995 before we worked our way through the Eugene maze and moved to Alsea. This community is a diverse group of people that love the land, living deep in Oregon’s  mossy Coast Range.

    The first year and a half we were in the woods 4 miles outside of Alsea and lived in our van, so Dan called it “outward bound for Mae and Dan”.   Cooking on a Coleman stove, enduring a very cold March 1995, and hauling our water until we put in a well and septic tank was quite a workout.  When we arrived in Alsea the area was experiencing one of the lowest economic periods in many years after the logging boom was over.  We still worked out of Dallas, Seattle, and Eugene, but our sights were set on making the change away from the typical urban way of life and thinking.  On February 19, 1997 we decided that after 16 years together, we would raise a family. On February 19, 1998 Mae Lee Hitchcock was born.  The three of us are now proud to call Alsea our home, and give all we can to this small community.

     In downtown Alsea, the owners of John Boy’s Alsea Mercantile, John and Eileen Clark,  have been our  biggest supporters.  We have done many paintings for them and helped with the creation of Clark Park.  It was a vacant lot next to the “Merc”,  that has been transformed into a lush park with picnic tables for visitors and locals.  We feel great thanks to all the people in this area  who have put us to work drawing portraits, painting murals and signs, helping make our family’s life possible in Alsea.


For more information, call Dan and Mae  Hitchcock's 541-487-4231


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