Bringing art to the community

Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to pass thePercent for Art Legislation, devoting one percent of the statebudget to public art, allowing more then 2,500 original pieces ofartwork to be displayed in public spaces since 1975.

Meagan Atiyeh, Visual Arts Coordinator for the Oregon ArtsCommission, says its goal is to support artists and enhance publicbuildings.

Susan Harlan, a sculpture teacher at PSU, is one of thoseartists, and her collection of artwork can now be seen at theHealth and Counseling Services Building

Originally a teacher for the Corcoran School of Artists inWashington, D.C., Harlan says it was in the city’s museums that shereceived her education.

That education has been on display all over the U.S., herartwork being shown in galleries in Washington, D.C., to The Gettyand The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Harlan was chosen out of several artists by a group of peoplenominated by PSU and the Arts Commission.

This group of nine people, from artists to students, foundHarlan’s work most appropriate and impact full.

“The project worked because I had a nice group of peopleto work with,” says Harlan.

This includes three PSU students, who worked with Harlan on thevirtual presentation presented to the Arts Commission: JohnMarrego, Benjamin Penkowitz and Ken Wang.

Harlan’s collection of art in the Student Health and CounselingCenter is integrated into the architecture of the building, thepaintings colors and shapes reflecting angles and patterns withinthe building.

“I’m not interested in doing a one person show,” says Harlan,”It’s about integrating the art with architecture.”

Framed on handmade gessoed wood panels (made by closet artistand PSU English teacher Gregory Goekjian) some of the paintingshave a silk layer over gesso, and are then glazed.

She says the collection of artwork presents images of fragmentsin nature.

Three scrolls hang from a window, displaying magnified images ofplants from her garden, the first an orchid.

A table of walnut and maple made by Goekjian displays three ofHarlan’s paintings, which can look like photographs.

Using a pallet of greens and blues, the paintings add an aura ofcalm to there surroundings.

“I have no idea how long a painting takes,” says Harlan, “Art isnot about time.” Rather, as she later says, “Art is abouthealing.”

The paintings can now be viewed at the Student Health andCounseling Center at 1880 S.W. Sixth Ave.