Greek culture for all

Students with families invited to explore Greek culture at Portland Art Museum

If you are a student who is also raising a child, you know how hard it is to find time to relax while juggling school, homework, a job and family time. It can make you crazy and leave you too exhausted to think about something as seemingly silly as actually enjoying yourself.

COURTESY OF Portland Art museum

Drop it, drop it low, girl! This 1957 Picasso lithograph, La Danse des Faunes, is on display at the Portland Art Museum as part of “The Body Beautiful” exhibit.

However, if you are interested in taking a little break and taking in some amazing culture you will want to check out “An Evening of Greek Mystique,” hosted by the Resource Center for Students with Children and the Portland State Hellenic Studies Program.

Parents and children are invited to take a group walk to the Portland Art Museum and take part in the museum’s Free Museum Family Day event, part of the museum’s exhibit “The Body Beautiful.” This exhibit promises to be a fun and dynamic celebration of the art and culture of ancient Greece.

The museum’s Beth Heinrich said that parents and children will “learn the myths of ancient Greece, as well as the monsters, the athletes and the games.”

There will also be art-making, storytelling, artist demonstrations, musical performances, “and as an added bonus, members of the Portland Timbers are scheduled to stop by to talk about training healthy bodies and what life is like as an athlete,” Heinrich said.

Anne McClanan, director of Hellenic Studies and a professor of art history at PSU, came up with the idea for the event.

The program began in December 2011 as a “home on campus for the study of Greek culture, both ancient and modern,” McClanan said.

Over the last year McClanan and other faculty members in the Hellenic program have been searching for ways to partner with other departments and centers on and off campus. McClanan came in contact with Stephanie Parrish of the museum, and the two decided to work together to find a way of providing PSU students greater access to “The Body Beautiful” exhibit currently being shown at the museum.

The exhibit features more than 120 priceless objects from the British Museum’s renowned collection of Greek and Roman Art.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get to see these amazing pieces,” McClanan said. Classic sculptures, vessels and jewelry are among the iconic pieces on display, some dating back to the second millennium B.C.

After learning of PAM’s upcoming family event, McClanan realized it would be a great opportunity for students with children to attend, so she reached out to the RCSC.

The resource center, which was formerly Student Parent Services, just moved into its new home in Smith Memorial Student Union last July. The mission of the center is to promote a family-friendly campus through networking, activities and support within the PSU community, and this event is one of many they have scheduled this year.

The resource center exists to provide support and services to students who are raising children. Nneka Hall, who is coordinating the event through the center, said that the response to this event has been outstanding, with nearly 60 adults and children signed up to participate.

“But there is still room,” Hall said, “and we are continuing to receive interest in the walking ‘field trip’ to the museum.”

PSU’s Resource Center for Students with Children and the Hellenic Studies Program present
“An Evening of Greek Mystique”
Sunday, Nov. 4, 3 p.m.
Please RVSP: 503-725-5655 or [email protected]

In addition to “An Evening of Greek Mystique,” the resource center also has other events coming up for student who are parents and caregivers to children, notably “Kids Night Out,” which will take place during finals week.

It’s an “opportunity to drop the kids off for a few hours, and for the parents to go do some Christmas shopping, relax or even have a date night,” Hall said.

The center offers small luxuries that students who are raising families have difficulty making the time for. They also offers services and programs, including a family resource center, a lending library, various child care resources and assistance and individual consultations.

It’s no secret that the life of a student presents its own set of challenges. When you add to those challenges the responsibility of taking care of children, it can become overwhelming. Luckily there are groups like the RCSC and the Hellenic Studies Program working together to ensure that a wide variety of events are being offered to campus families.


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