Did you know that Eugene and Springfield has art walks monthly? 

Well they do—the one in Eugene is the first Friday of every month and the one in Springfield is the second Friday of every month. 

First Friday ArtWalk in Eugene

I threw on my sash and crown and went on an adventure to both art walks. I met amazing souls and saw so much history and beautiful art that it pulled me into another world. I had my heart strings tugged on and it brought tears to my eyes. I learned a lot too. You never know what you’ll see and learn by going out and exploring your city and beyond. Our county, as well as Oregon, has so much to experience!  

To start our art tour, my friends and I ate on the patio at a cute little cafe in downtown Eugene —VERO Espresso House. I ordered a coconut milk caramel and white chocolate latte along with a veggie panini sandwich. It was absolutely delicious.

Melinda with her Ms. Wheelchair sash poses in front of art work.
: Melinda Preciado

New Zone Gallery in Downtown Eugene

Then we went to the New Zone art gallery. The art there is absolutely amazing. My favorite part of my experience at the New Zone gallery was that it was looking through the eyes of all our amazing talented local artists, and stepping into their world, feeling their message. I strongly encourage you to check it out and meet the wonderful owner. His gallery is completely wheelchair accessible and it is easy to enjoy the art. And while you’re there, grab a brochure for the First Friday ArtWalk which lists all the participating Eugene businesses.

Joining me on the art walk was children's author Andre Royal. He is working on making an accessible community garden in Eugene. He has a nonprofit that is so needed and beneficial to all. Would you like to see how you can help him make this goal a reality? Find him on Facebook or https://suddenlysleepy.org/ 

Andre Royal holds up two children's books. The gallery's art work is behind him.
: Melinda Preciado

Andre Royal Children's Author

Our next stop was at the Eugene Public Library where we found out how fully accessible it is, from desks that move up and down with a button, to computers and keyboards that accommodate vision, hearing and physical disabilities. The library has three floors and they have areas/exits that have stairwell chairs and assistance if an emergency happens. I’m so glad I learned this — we definitely need these options in all buildings with multiple floors, as well as one level buildings.  

Melinda with her tiara and Ms. Wheelchair sash rolls up the accessible computer work stations at the Eugene Public Library.
: Melinda Preciado

Eugene Public Library Accessible Work Stations

​Throughout the art tour we took some photo ops with amazing sculptures and art that is around every corner and displayed at local businesses and galleries. 

We journeyed on down to our friend's business; One Vision Nutrition. He has amazing things to offer there and it’s always a blessing to visit with him. It is a great stop to make during your adventures on the first Friday ArtWalk in Eugene. They offer healthy options to give you energy and immune boosting benefits for your day. One Vision Nutrition is located close to the LTD Station, where we planned to depart for our next destination. 

Melinda in her tiara and Ms. Wheelchair sash in front of an LTD bus at the Downtown Eugene LTD Station.
: Melinda Preciado

LTD downtown Station

Second Friday in Springfield

LTD is the perfect and convenient solution to getting around to the locations that participate in the first and second Friday art walks, in Eugene and Springfield. On the second Friday we arrived by bus in downtown Springfield.

The Emerald Art Center is completely ADA accessible and they even have an elevator. The people who work there are absolutely amazing and above and beyond customer service. This was the start of our tour. 

Melinda in a bright top with her tiara and Ms. Wheelchair sash looking at gallery art work.
: Melinda Preciado

Exploring the Emerald Art Center

I then went to the Springfield History Museum and saw how accessible it really is, it was great to enjoy learning about the local history (including historic pageant queens!). 

An interpretive plaque of Springfield Pageant Queens with their photos and biographies.
: Melina Preciado

Springfield History Museum Pageant Queens

Like in Eugene, the art walk includes a mix of public art and murals interspersed with storefronts and galleries displaying amazing art.

A brightly colored mural with a child reading and white lettering of positive words behind them including "grow", "education" and "reading". The Smart Reading logo is at the bottom of the mural.
: Melinda Preciado

Smart Reading Mural in Springfield

I’m so grateful to have another chance with another disabilities pageant to represent our amazing state of Oregon, to highlight all the things to do as well as help create more accessible opportunities for those of us with disabilities. My platform continues to be "Adapting America For All".