Pick of the Week: ‘Raising Our Voices’: Art as Activism at Columbia Arts


Ktunaxa First Nation Elder Albert Joseph reflects on the painful loss of salmon at the headwaters near Invermere, BC. In the summer of 1938, his grandfather went to the shore of the Columbia to greet the annual return of Pacific salmon. Weeks went by, then months without a single fish. Did they somehow upset the Creator? They had no way of knowing that the near completion of the Grand Coulee Dam downstream forever blocked the ancient migration. (Image is part of Peter Marbach’s installation in the upcoming Art as Activism invitational exhibit opening March 2 at Columbia Center for the Arts — see Marbach’s column, page B2).

Photo by Peter Marbach
Ktunaxa First Nation Elder Albert Joseph reflects on the painful loss of salmon at the headwaters near Invermere, BC. In the summer of 1938, his grandfather went to the shore of the Columbia to greet the annual return of Pacific salmon. Weeks went by, then months without a single fish. Did they somehow upset the Creator? They had no way of knowing that the near completion of the Grand Coulee Dam downstream forever blocked the ancient migration. (Image is part of Peter Marbach’s installation in the upcoming Art as Activism invitational exhibit opening March 2 at Columbia Center for the Arts — see Marbach’s column, page B2).



March’s exhibition at the Columbia Center for the Arts, March 1 to April 1, explores art activism and its effect on social change.

The exhibition, “Art as Activism,” looks at how artists, through the act of creating art, bring about social awareness, lead others to a broader understanding of issues and perspectives, and motivate people to act for change and move the dial of cultural transformation.

Through visuals arts, this show looks at how we can better talk with each other about issues that sometimes divide us, but are important to us all, states a press release.

“Art as Activism” also looks at ways of using the effect of activism and the affect of art to create emotionally resonant experiences that can lead to measurable shifts in power and thought.

Art installations by eight artists and individual artworks by others share the impact of art on the political, personal, and environmental aspects of our lives. From Michael Stewart’s “Small Copper Cones,” transforming memories of objects of war, to Scott Stephenson’s exploration of the impact of McCarthyism and blacklisting on the Hollywood 10, and from Elizabeth Stanek’s expressed concerns about human impact on the environment to Janelle Lowen’s powerful resistance pieces on the 2017 Native American March and the SEATAC immigration march, this exhibition fosters ideas around art and change, said a press release.

Additional installations and exhibition art will be display by these participating artists: Rene Westbrook, Peter Marbach, Venda Payne, Liana Bennett, Tula Holmes, Cyndi Strid, Carlos Cabos, Alan Root, and Rachel Dorn.

The exhibit artists’ reception will be March 2 from 6-8 p.m., at CCA, 213 Cascade Ave.

In keeping with the “Art as Activism” theme, CCA will also present Oregon Humanities Conversation Project event “Beyond Fake News: How We Find Accurate Information about the World,” a free conversation with Kelly McElroy on Tuesday, March 13 at 6 p.m.



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