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This content was published: November 1, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Humanities and Arts During Covid-19, Issue 10

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“A people also perish when they fail to keep alive the values that make them human, the wellsprings of their sanity.”  —Ben Okri

Dear Colleagues:

Last April, the PCC HARTS (Humanities and Arts) Council launched “Wellspring: Humanities and Arts During Covid-19: Issue 1” as a way to respond to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic. We were inspired by the words of the Nigerian writer, Ben Okri, who noted in a piece in the Financial Times, “It may well be that it is not only self-isolation and science that save us. We may also be saved by laughter, by catharsis, by the optimism of being able to see beyond these times with stories, with communities, with songs.” We are pleased to announce that we will continue this work during this academic year as a way of nourishing the PCC community and drawing us together during challenging times.

In the latest issue below, we share news about student success in the arts and humanities; information about forthcoming arts and letters events, both local and national; and thoughtful reflections on the critical role the arts and humanities have to play in our lives. Please enjoy.

PCC’s Humanities and Arts Highlights

  • PCC’s Art Galleries continue to showcase important and timely work in spite of the pandemic. Cascade’s Paragon Art Gallery is now featuring and one day will tell you so many storiesby Rami George. The window exhibition is the first solo presentation of Rami George on the West Coast and particularly Portland, Oregon—a place the artist once knew as home. Two older video essays, Untitled (Samaritan Foundation), 2014 and Untitled (Saturday, October 16, 1993), 2015 are presented alongside a newly-created billboard structure, Untitled (mapping), 2020 in the windows of the Paragon Arts Gallery. These works are part of an ongoing project exploring the artist’s interactions with the New Age religious community, or cult, The Samaritan Foundation.
  • Each year PCC’s English departments offer Creative Writing Focus Awards to dedicated creative writing students across the District. The Focus Awards, which require students to dive deeply into creative writing classes at PCC,  “empower students to realize themselves as writers and imagine the possibilities of a career in creative writing.”  We are pleased to share the names of recipients for awards given during the spring and summer of 2020: 
    • Southeast: Jeremi Uhrig
    • Rock Creek: Autumn Long and Christopher Bryde
    • Cascade: Yao Cheng, Ashley Wilson, Bobby Mullan, and Sam Taulbee

Congratulations to all!

  • Speaking of successful student writers: We are happy to share the news that a former PCC Sylvania creative writing student, Claire Golden, has recently published a book titled Unraveled. Claire was a student in Megan Savage’s Creative Writing/Fiction, Introduction to Fiction, and Children’s and Teen Literature classes. In fact, she wrote the first few chapters of this novel during the fiction writing class. As Claire noted in an email to Megan, “I was dreaming of becoming an author when I was in your class, and you helped give me the confidence in my writing to make that a reality.” Claire also noted that “even after three years at PSU, it’s still the PCC classes that stick with me the most. The best classes I had were at PCC, and that’s where I had the most memorable professors and valuable learning experiences.” Unraveled will be published this year by Gurt Dog Press.  Congratulations, Claire!
  • Those of you who have enjoyed the art work of Cascade creative writing teacher Gail Jeidy in previous issues of Wellspring can now enjoy the entire seriesGail has now started a new series based on famous artwork, and we are lucky enough to have some of those works included in this issue of Wellspring. Thank you, Gail!
  •  Finally, we are happy to share the news that the HARTS website has been updated and beautified. When the website was first conceived, the idea was to have a central hub for all things arts and humanities at PCC. Too often important work and events were getting lost, and the hope was that the website could be a place to showcase all the wonderful work happening in these disciplines around the District. The new website will better support that effort. If you have submissions or ideas for the website, please send an email to harts@pcc.eduSpecial thanks to web designer, Ali Gray in the Internet Technology Department, for her terrific work. 

Performances and Events

  • The Kennedy Center is running a fantastic and free twenty-week series titled “Arts Across America” in collaboration with arts organizations across the country. The programming, which features musicians, dancers, singers of all kinds, is available via Facebook Live, Youtube, and the Kennedy Center website, happens five days a week at 1pm PST.
  • The UCLA Center for the Art of Performance is presenting Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare. Originally presented in 2016, the series comprises condensed versions of all 36 of the plays of William Shakespeare over six days on the stage of Royce Hall. Now, the six performers “will restage the project online direct from their kitchen tables, each currently isolated in different places including Sheffield, London and Berlin.” Forced Entertainment’s Artistic Director, Tim Etchells says, “Presenting the pieces over the internet helps us keep contact with our audiences around the world and really suits these intimate performances. The project has always been about the collision of these great significant Shakespearean dramas and the everyday world — presenting them from the domestic space of the performers really opens up and emphasises that element, underscoring the informality and personal approach that’s inherent in the project.”
  • Closer to home, Literary Arts is running a series called The Archive Project, hosted by Executive Director Andrew Proctor. “The Archive Project features the most sought-after recordings from [the] Portland Arts & Lectures series, the Portland Book Festival, and other community events. Each week, new lectures are available to stream for free. Episodes also air every Sunday at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific) on OPB radio.”
  •  Lastly, on October 17th at 7:30pm. The Portland Opera is hosting a free virtual concert featuring artists whose performances were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.Gail1

Readings and Reflections

  • In this September New York Times op-ed, Molly Worthen, who teaches history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discusses the critical role of the liberal arts in supporting our capacity for empathy and understanding. “This is the gift of liberal education,” she writes, “the invitation to read a book and think about both the variety and the common threads of human experience across time, space and culture.”
  • And in this article, a father discusses how the Ancient Greek philosophers, Seneca and Epictetus, offer “keys to living with integrity and character in an unpredictable, often unjust world.” 
  • Finally, the interplay of the arts and humanities with the sciences and math is all around us but perhaps not always appreciated. In this article, the author explores how the Ancient Indian art of kōlam (beauty) sits at the nexus of art, religion, and mathematics.

If you have suggestions or content for future editions of Wellspring, or if you wish to be included on our mailing list, please email us at harts@pcc.edu. We’d love to hear from you.