The best place to see art on the Portland State University campus was a unanimous tie between the White and Littman galleries, located on the second floor of Smith Memorial Student Union.
Both galleries have been home to several uniquely educative and interesting art shows. The galleries have walked a tight rope in balancing the new age, fresh artists with accomplished individuals.
The PSU art exhibition committee is a regular user. Juries work at bringing local, national and international artists to display their work and creativity. In addition, the committee has offered a variety of workshops on gallery management and guest-artist presentations, for which the galleries have been witness to a large student population.
“I enjoyed the display on recording bird songs held at the Littman Gallery. It was such a unique experience that it sparked an interest in me to drop into the gallery from time to time” said Amy Chung, a sophomore.
During the first week of October, the Littman Gallery hosted a “Recording Bird Songs” exhibition where bird songs and prints based on sonograms were recorded from audio equipment. Artist Geraldine Ondrizek directed the recording with assistance from Jeremy Wingfield and Donna White.
Also during the first week of October, the White Gallery hosted “The Future of Printmaking: Northwest Regional Student Show.” The prints were the work of students in Oregon and Washington college art programs.
Portland State and the city of Portland offer a multitude of opportunities for exposure to cultural activities. In an effort to cultivate an interest in the arts, several Portland State events are free and many off-campus events can be attended at a discounted price for students.
Every first Thursday of the month, the galleries in downtown Portland stay open late and feature new exhibits and artists. Portland State’s Littman and White galleries are two of the featuring galleries in the bid to raise an awareness of arts and culture.
However, several students on campus remain oblivious to the presence of the two galleries. Be it from disinterest or genuine lack of information, several students admitted that they had never ventured into the Littman Gallery and expressed shock that the White Gallery was located round the second floor of Smith Memorial Student Union.
“I knew we had several art galleries on campus, but I’m not really into that scene,” said Patrick Nelson, a biology major in the science department.
When asked if they were aware that the galleries were chosen as the best place to access art on campus, students expressed a range of emotions – interested comments, shoulder shrugs and the general feeling that between school and work schedules, art had to be given a back seat.
“I love art, and both galleries have had some really cool displays on occasion. It’s an added incentive that it’s right here on campus and totally free,” said Jennifer Harris, an advertising major in the School of Business.
In direct contrast, on being asked if he had been to any of the galleries on campus, Brooks Rademacher said, “I was not aware of there being an art gallery on campus.”
The art department has been doing its share of creating an awareness among students with the various displays at the galleries, which are changed every month. With the variety of artists being showcased on campus and the efforts of the department in spreading the beauty and educational quality of cultural exhibitions, students have a lot to look forward to – it remains to be seen if they will make a reciprocated effort to develop an interest in these shows.