Art center’s got poTENtial

APRIL 22 — “Spirit of the Mustangs” speaker Melissa Farlow at work.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic
APRIL 22 — “Spirit of the Mustangs” speaker Melissa Farlow at work.

Columbia Center for the Arts has poTENtial — the center’s 10th anniversary series started off April 4 with 100 people in attendance to hear “Martin Marten” author Brian Doyle in a wide-ranging and hilarious talk.

“We were very happy with 100 people. It was my favorite event so far at the Center,” said Kerry Cobb, executive director. “Brian was wonderful. The short interview part at the beginning was a lot of fun for me too. Bringing these kinds of art experiences to our audiences is so exciting. It’s what this Center is all about — and this poTENtial series is off to a great start.”

poTENtial Program Series: 10 Years of Bringing Art to Life will run from April-November, each featuring one facet of the arts: literary arts, photography, culture, performance, visual arts, dance, theatre, film, music, and comedy.

It continues April 22, with “Spirit of the Mustangs” with National Geographic Photographer Melissa Farlow. Each program begins with a brief interview with the artists, followed by a performance or presentation.


Kerry Cobb

“When we started planning for these events, we decided to think big,” said Kristyn Fix, events manager. “These events bring a higher caliber of art expression and artists to the Gorge, and as a series they form an extraordinary and dynamic range of experiences for audience members to enjoy and share. This series truly embraces our mission of ‘touching the heart, challenging the intellect, and sparking conversation.’”

“The events are connected in that they are the 10 major art forms we represent,” Cobb said. “They are distinctive but as a whole, they represent the main things people come for: Is it theater? Dance? Comedy? People tend to come for one thing or another and we wanted to make sure they knew we do all these things.

“We started last June and came up with the idea, and how do we showcase all these things we do here. Let’s reach for a higher level than what we normally do, and then we just started asking, and asking people who knew people. The result is not too much of what we’ve done before.”

poTENtial is underwritten by Muirfield Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust grants. Cobb said the Meyer Trust gave an additional $11,000 for marketing, “because they were so excited about how big it was.

“When we could describe the whole program, and they saw what we had brought together they were excited to be part of it,” she said.

The schedule continues this summer with:

June 4: NW Mixtape and the History of Hip Hop w/Donnell Alexander and DJ Verbz (Cultural); Alexander, a journalist, will give a history of Northwest hip hop and DJ Verbz will perform, showing the progression of Hip Hop “and how the Northwest has its own flavor,” according to Cobb.

June 17: Portland Poetry Slam (Performance)

Aug. 13: Comics and Graphic Novels with Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Visual Arts)

Aug. 27: Una Dia de Teatro and Hispanic Performance (Theatre) — “Las Bandidos,” a play directed in Spanish by Hood River’s Angel Reyes.

Sept. 10: Body Vox (Dance)

Sept. 24: 20 Years of TV Animation with Joe Ansolabehere and Paulo Germain (Film)

Oct. 12: Rising Stars emerging pianist Chen Yihan (classical music)

Nov. 12: Geezerpalooza! (Comedy) — “This is their new play, and we talked them into premiering it in Hood River. It’s about four reuniting band members, and it involves original, hilarious lyrics,” Cobb said.

See for details.

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