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Wellspring: Humanities and Arts, Issue 13

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Editor’s note: Wellspring is best viewed in its original form. This version has been adapted for PCC’s website.

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Humanities and Arts During Covid-19: Issue 13

“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,

We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and well, and that you have safely weathered the storms, ice, and power outages. Our latest issue of Wellspring features events and readings related to Black History Month, as well as general arts and humanities events and news from PCC and beyond. We hope this bring you warmth and renewal during these trying times.

PCC Arts and Humanities Highlights

Through March 10th, The 31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films shows us Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. The films celebrate Africa’s achievements, expose its challenges, and reveal possibilities for a hopeful future as they undertake universal explorations of human conflict and drama. Although the films cannot represent an entire continent, the organizers of the series hope to encourage American viewers to become interested in and study African cultures.

Cascade Campus Paragon Gallery is pleased to welcome artist Sabina Haque to the gallery in an alternative format on our website a virtual exhibition of her multimedia installation presenting drawings, video, and performance exploring the cycle of welcoming and excluding, and what it means to belong to a community.

The Experience Music Series is pleased to  present an exciting virtual concert on March 2 at 5pm. Grupo Borikuas, is a Portland-based Latin band that performs dynamic ethnic music from Puerto Rico with Afro-Caribbean roots. The popular question and answer session with the artists will follow the performance. There is no charge to view the concerts, and donations to the series are gratefully accepted. You can read  more about these shows and the performers on the HARTS website.

PCC Theatre presents Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, March 4-7 on Zoom!  A bitter vendetta by two family factions divides the land. The conflict erupts into bloodshed in the streets. Sound familiar?  Written as if ripped from today’s headlines, Romeo and Juliet focuses on two young lovers from rival sides who cross the embattled lines dividing them  to become history’s iconic tragic lovers. Zoom in to experience Shakespeare’s relevant timeless tale, a Romeo and Juliet like you’ve never seen before. Tickets at Admission price is a suggested donation ($5 students, seniors, Veterans, $10 General) with proceeds going to the PCC Theatre scholarship fund through the PCC Foundation. More information about Romeo and Juliet.

Last fall, Cascade Campus literary journal Pointed Circle faculty advisor, Justin Rigamonti, submitted Issue 36 to plain china, a national anthology of the best undergraduate writing based out of Virginia Commonwealth University, and this past week he received word that NINE works by PCC students were selected for inclusion in the 2021 publications. The following works from Issue 36 were selected: “Corona and Therapy” by Jong Won, “Every Angry Black Man Could Give a Fuck About Post-Racial Politically Correct Rhetoric. That is the Same Lie that Willie Lynch Used to Chain the Minds of Slaves” and “Dispatched from the Land of Erasure” by henry 7 reneau jr., “Neon is Lighter than Air” by Meridith Adams, and “They Ask America” by Sherre Vernon, as well as three works by PCC students— “Billings, MT” by Tristan Gunvaldson, “Pantagruel and the One Eyed Goon” by Rebecca Petchinik, and “Tense” by Kira Smith. Read more about plain china. Congratulations to the editors of the Pointed Circle for their keen editorial vision, and to all our student writers as well!

George Johanson, the featured artist at Rock Creek’s Helzer Gallery, is a Portland- based painter, printmaker, and ceramic tile muralist. As the featured artist, Johanson will be meeting with PCC Rock Creek’s Life Drawing and Life Painting classes to discuss a subject central to his work: the human figure and its environment. The featured video is an excerpt from a longer video, In The Studio with George Johanson, produced at PCC Rock Creek in 2009. The Helzer Gallery Featured Artist Program is a series of virtual programming created to introduce our audience to the work and creative practice of various artists.

Finally, as preparations for opening The Carolyn Moore Writers House continue, Cascade English Faculty Justin Rigamonti took time to reflect on Moore’s life and legacy: “She lived a generous life, cluttered with joy, and from that largesse, she extracted a beautiful, refined legacy. Not only in the gift of nine gorgeous acres to Portland Community College, the future home of the Carolyn Moore Writing Residency, but also in the wisdom she distilled for us in her poems.” You can read the full essay.

Arts and Humanities Events Near and Far

PDX Jazz has “crafted a festival that is as unique as Portland itself” for the 18th consecutive edition of the annual event, featuring ‘live’ performances and ‘live’ real-time web streams from Portland, Oregon each day, flanked by exclusive international engagements from around the globe. 17 Livestreams + 3 Jazz Films in 6 Cities in 10 Days. Visit the PDX Jazz website for more information.

A program of Northwest Film Center & Portland Art Museum, Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) centers on both artists and cinematic storytellers who are bold enough to interrupt the status quo, and focus on those changing for whom, by whom, and how cinematic stories are told. Featuring ten days of over 80+ films, programs, events, and drive-in experiences with work from over 34 countries, PIFF 44 is a fest that celebrates the ever-changing connection between cinematic creators and audiences.

In the Creative Arts as Resistance program series, created by Oregon Jewish Museum’s Student Advisory Board, youth in grades 6 – 12 will explore how creative arts can be used as a means of resistance while hearing from artists who are a part of increasing representation, telling often unheard or suppressed stories, and challenging societal norms and taboos. The series consists of three different webinars, highlighting music, visual arts, and writing and is open to middle and high school students across Oregon. The next event is scheduled for March 3 at 5pm. 

It’s not too early to reserve your tickets to this year’s Everybody Reads author lecture by Ross Gay, whose collection of essays The Book of Delights, is the focus of the program run by Literary Arts. Gay will be speaking on April 8th at 6:30pm. Multnomah County Library has hundreds of audio, digital and printed copies of the book available

Essential Arts and Humanities Readings

In “Black History Month is a Good Excuse for Delving into Our Art,” Salamishah Tillet, a contributing critic at large for The New York Times and the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers University, Newark, suggests ways to mark the month. As she writes, “Black History Month feels more urgent this year. Its roots go back to 1926, when the historian Carter G. Woodson developed Negro History Week, near the February birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in the belief that new stories of Black life could counter old racist stereotypes. Now in this age of racial reckoning and social distancing, our need to connect with each other has never been greater.”

“The Zanj rebellion of Black slaves, which took place in lower Iraq from 868 to 883 CE, is one of the remarkable episodes of Medieval Islamic history that often goes untold. Much of what we know about the rebellion comes from the historical works of Al-Tabari (Annals of Prophets and Kings) and Al Mas’udi Murudj al-Dahab,” writes Mohammed Elnaiem, a PhD student in sociology at the University of Cambridge. You can read the entire story of the rebellion.

A fascinating recent New Yorker article tells the story of Molly Burhans, a cartographer, climate activist, and “deeply committed Catholic,” who has engaged the Vatican, right up to the Pope himself, around documenting the global landholdings of the Catholic Church in hopes of addressing climate change through better land management. The article discusses how Burhans’ work on the project saw several of “her interests come together, like layers in G.I.S.: computer science, conservation, art—even dance, since managing data sets in [in the mapping software) felt like choreography.”

In honor of Black History Month, Medical Humanities offered this blogpost featuring Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space, on the 1992 Endeavor. Jemison, who later worked for the Center for Disease Control and also studied dance at the Alvin Ailey school, always saw a connection between the sciences and the humanities: “Many people do not see a connection between science and dance, but I consider them both to be expressions of the boundless creativity that people have to share with one another.”

We hope you enjoy our newsletter. If you have announcements, news, student or faculty work that you’d like considered for this newsletter or the HARTS website, please write directly to

The HARTS (Humanities and Arts) Council

Martha Bailey, Philosophy and Religious Studies/Cascade

Elizabeth Bilyeu, Art/Cascade
Andrew Cohen, English/Sylvania, Chair
John Farnum, Philosophy/Sylvania
Elizabeth Knight, English/Rock Creek
Andrea Lowgren, Women’s Studies/Cascade
Melissa Manolas, English/Rock Creek Billy Merck, English/Southeast
John Mery, Music/Sylvania
Porter Raper, English/Cascade
Justin Rigamonti, English/Cascade
Elissa Minor Rust, English/Rock Creek
Megan Savage, English/Sylvania
Kristine Shmakov, Russian/Sylvania
Patrick Walters, English/Sylvania
Christine Weber, Art/Sylvania
Van Wheeler, English/Sylvania
Stephanie Whitney, French/Sylvania

Copyright © Wellspring, All rights reserved. Wellspring is a publication of Portland Community College’s Humanities and Arts (HARTS) Council. The Council oversees the HARTS Initiative, founded in 2016 on the premise that the humanities and arts should be an essential component of education in the 21st century. To read more about the Council or the Initiative, explore the HARTS website.

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