Black Excellence Talent Show and Art Gallery | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Black Excellence Talent Show and Art Gallery

Celebrating creative and talented Black youth and young adults with a multi-faceted showcase

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.

click to enlarge Black Excellence Talent Show and Art Gallery
Allie Noland

June Park, gallery manager and curator, organized the exhibition with collaborative support from Mel Smith, COCC student, Shandell Larson, COCC art faculty, and the COCC Afrocentric Club, according to Jenn Kovtiz, director of marketing and public relations—pulling together pieces to display from various artists in the community. 
From elementary school to college, the showcase features 25 pieces from 11 artists.

The multi-media gallery features digital prints, sculptures, acrylic and watercolor paintings, a living art piece and a multimedia mural dedicated to Black femme-embodied people.The show also features the artwork shown on this week's Source Weekly cover, created by artist DeNathan Pickering, an art student and a member of the COCC Afrocentric Student Club. Pickering's artistic style focuses on character animation and detailed cartoon subjects.

"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."

click to enlarge Black Excellence Talent Show and Art Gallery
Allie Noland

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."

click to enlarge Black Excellence Talent Show and Art Gallery
Allie Noland

Black Excellence Talent Show
Sat., Feb. 11, 6-8pm
Pinckney Center for the Performing Arts
2600 NW College Way, Bend

Black Excellence Art Showcase
Mon.-Thu., 10am-4pm, Fri., 10am-2pm. Through Feb. 24.
Pinckney Gallery at Pence Hall (COCC)
2600 NW College Way, Bend

 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. 

About The Author

Allie Noland

Allie graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She loves writing articles that have anything to do with the outdoors and culture. When she’s not writing, you can find her skiing, playing volleyball, backpacking, gardening or sitting at a local coffee shop.
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