The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

A powerful vision: COCC’s Black Excellence Art Showcase

Photo by Kiah Albertus

The Black Excellence Art Showcase featured at Central Oregon Community College honors the black community and black femme individuals. The exhibit features local Black artists, community members and Afrocentric student program members at COCC. The gallery focuses on themes of  advocacy for Black people in Central Oregon. The showcase is featured at the Pinckney art gallery at COCC from Jan. 18 until Feb. 24. According to June Park, curator for the gallery, about 40% of the pieces have already been sold.

June Park, Adjunct Professor of visual arts at COCC and interdisciplinary artist and curator for the Pinckney gallery, was responsible for putting the art show together and making the vision happen. They describe an artist’s work as taking all of their experiences and stories while thinking and integrating them into the expression of who they are. The Black Excellence Art Showcase describes this through powerful words, expressions, sculptures and pictures of people of color whom they admire, featuring 11 artists in total.

“Art should include the community; art should represent people and underrepresented stories,” said Park.

Park’s passion for cultural investment shines through in the exhibit. Along with the art exhibit, COCC students and community members displayed pictures of people of color who inspired them. 

“As I grow older and look back on life with my mother, my appreciation for her strength and wisdom grows every day. It is the strength that sustains me when I think there is nothing left,” said an anonymous person featuring a picture of their mother in the show. 

Bringing black stories forward through the exhibit is meant to show that everyone deserves to be seen and that there is no one definition of a group of people.

“The variety in the showcase is a reminder that each of us is unique in our identity and that there’s no one single definition of what it means to be Black. And that the individual voices and stories shown are what makes our Black community vibrant,” said Park.

The gallery has brought people of colors’ stories to life. This is an opportunity to get to know the people of color that live in Central Oregon and view their perspective. Park explained that people need to move away from assuming that people of color have one definition of representing themselves. 

“I want people of color to be seen for who they are instead of being seen through stereotypical figures,” they said.

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