PSU has talent!

Feeling a little art-deprived lately? Well, there’s a remedy for that. You can grab a cup of Joe and stay a while, or take a quick peek before class at some of these places around campus.

Feeling a little art-deprived lately? Well, there’s a remedy for that. You can grab a cup of Joe and stay a while, or take a quick peek before class at some of these places around campus. Venues around the city also harbor some of Portland State’s artistic talent and they’re easy to find if you know where to look.

Russian expression

Food For Thought Cafe, located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union, is playing host to two different exhibits right now. Russian Impressions showcases work by students in the PSU Russian program and high school students of Russian heritage from the Portland-metro area.

Photographs taken by PSU graduate student Diane Hofland during multiple trips to Russia are the highlight of these wall hangings. Her work includes pictures taken during a long-distance bicycle tour in 2004, and during another bicycle tour and canoe expedition in 2005. Some of the photographs are of Russian architecture, but the most interesting images are those of people. This particular selection of work is conveniently located next to a couch for your maximum viewing pleasure.

Also included in the display are sketches by PSU students Christopher Price, Neysse Hays and Brian Blair, and landscape paintings by Daniel Coe and Sarah Westenberg. High school students contributed about a dozen drawings as well.

Russian Impressions is sponsored by Friends of Russian Culture, a nonprofit organization founded at PSU to promote the study of Russian culture and language. The exhibit will remain until June 15.

Art with a cause

Also hosted at Food For Thought is a collection of pieces done by homeless and transitional youth as part of PSU’s p:ear program. P:ear is a nonprofit organization that builds positive relationships with youths “through education, art and recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives.”

This exhibit varies in style and medium. While a lot of the p:ear artists chose collage-based works, there are also sketches and paintings on display. The p:ear artwork is mixed with the work of students from PSU. A lot of the larger canvases, all paintings, belong to these students and show quite a bit of skill, but the p:ear art fits in nicely with the art department’s samplings. The p:ear work can be distinguished by labels and price tags. All p:ear art is on sale. Ten percent of the revenue will go into the p:ear program and 90 percent will go to the artist.

Food For Thought Caf퀌� is located in the basement of the Smith Memorial Student Union. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Finding students’ work in the city

Students in Professor Jamie Ross’ freshman inquiry class, The Work of Art, had their own pieces on display Thursday evening during the Alberta Street Fair (commonly known as Last Thursday, because it takes place on the last Thursday of every month on Northeast Alberta Street). As part of a yearlong, community-based learning project, students took pictures around the city related to the course themes on art. Passion, the censorship of art, and art as a source of social and political change were all topics explored through the students’ work.

“The entire curriculum is a student-centered creative process,” Ross said. “This was an opening and a bridge between the academic world and the work world.”

Ross’ class has been involved with the Alberta Street Fair every spring term for the last four or five years. Her students’ photographs will not be labeled with prices, but can be sold, like much of the art at Last Thursday, if someone makes an offer. The photographs will remain on display at the Fuel Cafe for the next week and at Helser’s restaurant for the next month. Both businesses are on Northeast Alberta Street near the 15th Avenue intersection.

Hallways as galleries

If you find the doors to the MK Gallery in the Art Building locked because they’re between shows (like I did recently), you may discover artwork in the hallways of the building itself. As usual, student work adorns the walls between the classrooms and the gallery. Right now a collection of abstract pieces is up–“abstract” meaning butcher paper with splatters on it–that is particularly colorful. A note next to the work from Art 115 Professor Joe Macca describes the process students used to create the art. It is indeed “pretty cool.” Though the Art Building is a bit far from the heart of campus, on Fourth Street near the Jackson intersection, it’s nice to see what your fellow students are up to these days.

There you have it: several different ways to satiate your need for art, whether you have five minutes or all afternoon.