Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Rock Creek Campus art competition shows secret talents of PCC faculty and staff

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The inaugural Rock Creek Campus Art Competition, held May 8 in Helzer Gallery, attracted more than 40 pieces of art from non-art faculty, staff and former students. The event was one of a dozen events held throughout the year as part of Rock Creek’s 40th birthday celebration.

Ammon Knight, a custodian at the Willow Creek Center, won first prize for his beautiful and richly-colored painting, “The Path of a Leader.” Knight, who is self-taught, has been painting for ten years. In painting, he said he finds both self-expression and joy.

Walter Morales, an instructor in computer science, won second place for two photographs he took during a visit to Ukraine. In one, clerics carry ornately embroidered emerald-green church vestments. The second depicts a sea of battered, radioactive books in a library near the town of Chernobyl.

Building Construction technology instructors Shannon Baird and Hilary Campbell shared third place for their collaborative piece, a life vest and a stylized wreath. They created the work in response to a trip to Turkey and the Greek Islands, where they volunteered at an art program for Syrian refugee children.

The event drew approximately 60 visitors, many of whom were “stunned” to learn that their colleagues and co-workers also are artists.

“This art work was submitted by 19 Rock Creek faculty and staff and by 18 former Rock Creek students,” said Campus President Sandra Fowler-Hill. “We are all impressed by the diversity represented in this show. You think you know someone and then you come to an exhibit like this and you realize your co-workers and friends have talent you never knew about. Sharing art is not easy for many of us, so we thank these artists for allowing us to know them on a different level. “

The response to the art competition was so positive that the organizers have decided to make it an annual event, with the next competition planned for some time in winter term.

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