Three vans were filled with 32 art enthused students, along with four art instructors, and drove over the mountains to the Portland Art Museum. Every year the art club hosts a free trip to the Portland Art Museum for all COCC and OSU-Cascades students.
This year, I was one of the students taking part in the event. I arrived at COCC at 7:45 a.m. to catch one of the three vans leaving at 8:00 a.m. for the Portland Art Museum.There is a certain amount of buzz-like energy that comes whenever a group of people get together before a trip. Students bonded with people they recognized from their classes instantaneously, even if they had never spoken before.
It was nice to see a few familiar faces as I arrived. There seemed to be a murmur of mutual agreement that everyone the right decision to attend. We all slowly filed out to the vans excited about the long day ahead.
Bill Cravis, Art Instructor at COCC, drove the bus I was on.
Cravis asked, “Is everyone in?”
“Yes,” we all answered sleepily.
Cravis then humorously responded, “Good. Does anyone know their way around Portland? I got lost last year.”
Luckily, someone did know there way around Portland and they happened to be sitting in the passenger seat next to Cravis.
It’s not every day that the emerging artists get together and realize there are people as into art as they are. For example I was not the only person on the bus who brought a sketchbook and the girl behind me, Lynna Pickens, had a polaroid camera. We all bonded over a mutual appreciation for the arts and discussed our different reasonings for attending the trip.
Pickens said that she had been to the Louvre, but not the Portland Art Museum. She came with her friend, Anna Palcious, who is currently enrolled in Native American Art History. Palcious said she came to view the Edward Curtis and other native art exhibitions. The Portland Art Museum has rotating exhibitions for native artists in their Center for Contemporary Native Art.
COCC students, David Meyers, Forest Devall and Anthony Estatreada said they came because the trip was free and to expand their artistic horizons.
Although the trip was put on by the art club, I only met one person, Marsha Knight, who was involved with the club. Jason Lamb, art history instructor, facilitator of the art club at COCC and coordinator of the trip, said that enrollment in art club is down and there are no formal meetings only communication via email.
Lamb has facilitated the art club for three years and he hopes to build camaraderie between students by expanding their creative horizons. He also hopes to include OSU-Cascades in the future. Lamb will continue to single handedly run the art club in the meantime.
Lamb said his favorite part of the museum trip is listening to students commentary as opposed to his own internal narrative, that as an art history instructor is constant.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to hear students discuss material I have taught in class, it lets me know I am doing it right,” he said.
Cravis and Lamb discussed the importance of the trip together and agreed that it’s important for all students to view works of art firsthand in order to heighten their understanding of scale and have a physical experience.
Paul Bennett, art instructor at COCC, agreed and said, “Students need to see what’s going on outside the textbook.”
Carolyn Platt, 3D Design and Drawing instructor at COCC said that the Portland Art Museum is one of the most historical and contemporary museums available to students in Central Oregon.
I enjoyed my time at the museum and felt that I got to experience the art on a physical level and enjoyed discussing pieces with my peers. One of the most beautiful pieces that literally took my breath away was Eugene Berman’s “Time and the Monuments (1941),” oil on linen.
The image depicts an orange and pink sky with a blue border in the top of the image. There are columns on either side that span from the foreground into the distant background. I like the painting because of the how well-rendered the parts of the image are that give an illusion of depth and space juxtaposed with the parts of the image that are drawn with simple contour lines. It gives me the impression of the monuments existing throughout time as they are constructed and as they fade away.
On the ride home, we all discussed our day at the museum and felt the fullness of the day drain out our remaining energy. In the end, as we all piled back into the van, I felt as though we experienced something together.
Danielle Meyers | The Broadside