The two-part Black Excellence Showcase came from one of the Central Oregon Community College Afrocentric Studies Club meetings. While brainstorming ideas and collaborating with programs to celebrate Black History Month and Black culture, the students discovered they wanted to focus on uplifting creative youth and young adults in the Black community, according to Marcus LeGrand, Afrocentric program coordinator at COCC.
"I am a mostly self-taught, African American artist who's been drawing since I was about 9 or 10," Pickering told the Source in an email. "I'm interested in working in the field of animation as possibly a character designer, background artist or visual development artist. This animation angle definitely reflects in my art style, which is inspired heavily by the cartoons I used to watch as a kid, as well as some comic book and Eastern animation inspiration."
Located in the Pinckney Gallery at Pence Hall, the Black Excellence Art Showcase is open to the public until Feb. 24.
"It's just the beginning of trying to find ways for students to explore their creativity and also express who they are," LeGrand said.
The talent show is the second part of the celebration and will be in the Pinckney Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 11 at 6pm. With 15 separate acts, the show provides an opportunity for these creatives to share their talents—whether it be tap dancing, drumming, spoken word, singing, comedy or any other performance. LeGrand said there is still time to sign up to perform, and he will provide an opportunity for members from the crowd to take the stage. Email him at [email protected] with sign-up inquiries."It's all about community," LeGrand said. "When we're in community and fellowship one another and celebrate with one another, I think it brings a different mentality and vibrancy to what's going on. We get caught up in the hate piece. We get caught up in all the other things. I think we lose focus on why we're here, and that's the joy. I think that's why we need to do this. We need to come out and release some energy, laugh, cry a little bit, dance a little bit. Just enjoy and watch students express themselves. It's phenomenal."
Black Excellence Art Showcase
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated 25 artists are featured in the exhibition and the paintings are oil paintings. In fact there are 25 pieces from 11 artists, not 25 artists, and the paintings are acrylic and watercolor. The description of the mural was edited from "dedicated to Black women’s journey" to "mural dedicated to Black femme-embodied people," as described by Jennifer Kovitz, director of marketing and public relations at COCC. We also edited the credit for the mural curation to properly attribute the hard work of the individuals who put the Black Excellence Showcase together. We regret the errors.