Park Blocks become temporary art gallery

Beginning with the appearance of small circular patterns of white sand under shrubs earlier in the week, the Park Blocks became a makeshift gallery for Joey Macca’s basic design classes. Basic Design 117 had an assignment to define a linear space by bringing together multiple, identical units.

By early afternoon on Friday there were over 55 temporary art installations stretching across Portland State University’s campus, from the fountains in front of the PSU Bookstore to the Housing Northwest apartments on the east end of campus.

Joey Macca is a part-time Basic Design teacher who has been at PSU for two years. His intent for the project, which gave the students a great deal of creative freedom, was for the students to bring any number of elements of their choosing together to define and accent the linear elements in a space.

“I chose to have the students put their projects in the Park Blocks and around campus because it was convenient and it also gave them the choice of working within architectural spaces,” Macca said.

The recent project is the third in a series, which focuses on developing students’ awareness of utilizing materials and space to create 3-dimensional art pieces. Art 115 and 116 focus on 2-dimensional art forms, like drawing and painting.

Students’ approaches to the assignment varied considerably. Adam Smedberg tied rope at different angles across a jungle gym to accentuate the existing lines of the structure.

James Keehn placed numerous crosses in a circle in the Park blocks in front of Shattuck Hall with the statement, “There has been war in the middle east for over 2000 years, I am only 8 but maybe they should try love,” written on the crosses.

Jason Ellis used pieces of bamboo to create a sloped sculpture out of repeated elements on the site for the new PSU Native American Student and Community Center. Macca commented that this project was especially successful due to Ellis’ use of individual identical pieces fashioned to create something larger.

During each of Tuesday’s class sessions, Macca and his students walked through campus and viewed the temporary art installations as a group, critiquing each others’ work. Projects were to be taken down over the weekend.

The next assignment will not bring the students’ work to the Park Blocks again, although Macca has plans to do a similar project again next year.