This content was published: April 7, 2000. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Acclaimed Totem Pole Artist to Carve Out Niche for PCC

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SYLVANIA – One of the world’s finest totem pole carvers is coming to Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus for a demonstration and to begin a future project for the college. Richard Hunt, a Victoria, British Columbia artist and member of the Kwa-gulth (Kwaikiutl) Nation, will conduct a carving demonstration along with video presentation and discussion from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 in the Performing Arts Center. Hunt’s visit is part of the PCC Sylvania Campus Totem Pole Project, to be completed sometime in spring of 2001, and is sponsored by the Allen Foundation for the Arts.

Hunt, who began carving at 12 years of age, is part of a three-generation carving and art family in northern Vancouver Island. Today, he traditionally makes totem poles, masks, rattles, jewelry, art cards and prints that are sold throughout the world. Portland Community College will commission Hunt for the yearlong carving of the PCC totem pole, reflecting local American Indian culture. He will carve the pole at his studio in Victoria and then put the finishing touches on it at the Sylvania Campus next year. The 30-foot totem pole will officially be set into designated green space above the library and Performing Arts Center, welcoming visitors to the campus.

"The one thing that really drew us to him was that he’s really great at working with and interacting with people," said Marie Watt, PCC art instructor. "He’s an impressive person, not only highly regarded in his field but he has great communications skills. We are interested in introducing Richard to the community on April 27 and he’ll be on site to meet people and do a carving demonstration. The totem pole will reflect and say something about Oregon’s Native American community, and help build relationships with other organizations in the community."

To date funding for the project has come from the Allen Foundation, the PCC Foundation, the Paramount Hotel and individual donors.

People interested in volunteering, receiving further information, or making a donation can contact the project coordinator, Marie Watt, on the visual arts faculty at PCC. Watt can be reacted at 977-8017 or at

Tax deductible donations can be made to the PCC Foundation, PO Box 19000, Portland, OR 97280.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »