Living in the third most creative city in America means that our students have access to a vibrant artistic community right at their doorstep.
What three words would you use to describe Lewis & Clark?
How do you describe the liberal arts?
Interdisciplinary, rigorous, creative and innovative – I can’t tell you how many students in my acting classes say “oh my gosh – this is exactly like what we were discussing in psychology, or biology or art.” This interconnectedness leads our students to a deeper understanding of the subject they are studying because they are making connections for themselves across disciplines. This leads to class discussions that are dynamic and surprising and learning that is deep and lasting.
What do you enjoy most about Lewis & Clark students?
They are curious, open, engaged – they really care about learning and take advantage of all the opportunities available to them – they are also community minded working to create a campus culture of openness and inclusivity.
How does Lewis & Clark prepare students interested in your field to pursue a career and/or advanced studies after graduation?
The theatre and dance program offers students a conservatory caliber training in liberal arts context. Our classes cover all disciplines related to theater and dance including acting, directing, playwriting, design, dance choreography and performance technique as well as theater tech and production. We also ground our artists, technicians and scholars in the rich history and contemporary theory of performance - nurturing the artist/scholar. We have close relationships with most of the professional theaters and performing arts venues in Portland and connect our students to internships and professional development opportunities. We have an alumni panel program where students are connected with alumni in the industry for advice and insight into how to pursue a career in the performance arts and beyond.
What sets your department or program apart from other small liberal arts colleges?
What sets our program apart is twofold – first we have a lot of opportunities for students to pursue their particular interests; a student written and directed One Act Festival, Once Upon a Weekend where students write their own 10 minute plays and rehearse and perform them in a festive 24 hour process, Student Produced Production once a semester, and a Thesis Capstone that gives students the opportunity to create their own 45 minute piece of performance as part of a festival fully supported by the department.
Second, our faculty is unique in that most of us are working artists. I run a professional theater company in Portland (www.petensemble.org) and perform on professional stages, Stepan Simek directs, our designers are all very busy creating work on stages in Portland and beyond, and our new director of Dance, Tiffany Mills, has her own internationally touring Dance company. We have the chance to bring our students into that work as assistants and collaborators, and we often work with alumni on our creative work once they graduate.
Describe your involvement with Arts@LC. What should incoming students know about this work?
I am one of the co-directors of the Arts@LC initiative whose mission is to connect and amplify the extraordinary arts programming at Lewis & Clark. 70% of LC students are involved in the arts in some way (music, creative writing, theater, dance, studio art, media and film) and Arts@LC works to uplift that engagement with pop-up arts events in Watzek once a month, an arts showcase as part of the Festival of Artists and Scholars in the spring, engagement with nationally renowned guest artists, support for the Platteau (our student arts and maker space) and advocacy for student access to arts opportunities at Lewis & Clark. Living in the third most creative city in America means that our students have access to a vibrant artistic community right at their doorstep and Arts@LC works to connect the arts scene in Portland to our students and the wider Lewis & Clark community.