A Creative Perspective on PCC’s new Restructuring
by S.C. Taulbee
Portland Community College President Mark Mitsui values the artist’s perspective. Similar to his approach in projects during his time in the Obama administration, Mitsui has called for the inclusion of artists-in-residence in the school’s ongoing reorganization. Faculty members Sandy Sampson, Rochelle Nielsen, and Justin Rigamonti are observing and participating in meetings, producing artworks, and documenting and informing the reorganization through their artists’ lens.
Instructor of 2-D art and design and self-described social practice artist Sandy Sampson says artists are an “underutilized resource.” During their MFA program, they helped to implement an arts and social practice cohort. Inclusion of the artists in the reorganization, Sampson says, “helps shape the culture in a positive way.”
PCC Vice President and head of the reorganization Sylvia Kelley asserts that the student experience is integral to the motivations and justifications of the reorganization. “We are thirsty for the student perspective,” Kelley says, and the student perspective is just what the artists-in-residence are working to provide. English faculty and poet-in-residence Justin Rigamonti has been visiting classrooms, soliciting student submissions of art and writing which relate to their lived experience. Rigamonti intends to publish the collected work in an anthology which he says, “will serve as a snapshot of this moment in time.