More lovely Grand Staircase art…

We’ve long thought that the Grand Staircase is the perfect subject matter for an artist – the curves, the symmetry, Inlow Hall with its red tiled roof in the background…

In February we shared the drawing of the staircase done by Tim Mustoe, the “cartooning weatherman” at The Observer.

Now take a look at this wonderful impression of our beloved college steps by talented Oregon artist Kate Powell.


Kate sketched each of the structures and buildings on Oregon’s 2016 Most Endangered Places List and donated the artwork to Restore Oregon to be sold to help raise money for the work that they do.  You can see all of her Endangered Places art here.

And, for you artists out there, Kate’s blog post about her Grand Staircase sketch had this to say about the techniques and colors she used…

“…the inking, and most of the coloring, was done with waterproof inks.  Noodler’s Lexington Grey provided the stonework (grisaille) and shadows were a mix of that and De Atramentis Document Brown, which was also mixed with De Atramentis Document Green and Super5 Dublin to greate the various greens.  Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille. Final touches of Primatek watercolors were added to pop the greens.”

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The Grand Staircase at Eastern Oregon University was designed by Oregon architect John Bennes and completed in 1929.  Sadly, it has deteriorated over the decades and was closed to public use in 2004.

The staircase is currently included on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.  In November of 2015 it was determined that the staircase was too far deteriorated for restoration to be a viable option, however efforts are underway to fund reconstruction.

We believe that the Grand Staircase has great potential as a cultural heritage tourism attraction and, as a result, could help boost the economy of La Grande and eastern Oregon.  Even now, deteriorating and no longer opened to the public, it is an architectural treasure worth seeing.  Reconstructed it could offer even more.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page to raise awareness of the Grand Staircase and its architectural significance, post photographs and information of historical interest about the staircase, provide updates on the efforts to save our beloved “college steps” and share the stories and memories of those who love the staircase as much as we do.

To see a pictorial history of the staircase please visit our About page.

If you have any questions or have Grand Staircase memories, stories, or photos you would like to share please contact us at




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