College of the Arts

PLEASE NOTE: The College of the Arts office (Lincoln Hall 349) will be physically closed until further notice while staff work remotely. Don't hesitate to reach out to the-arts@pdx.edu with any specific questions or concerns.

Virtual Front Desk

Have questions? Visit our Virtual Front Desk! We are available: Tuesday & Thursday from 1pm-6:30pm; Friday from 1pm-3pm.

Experience the arts at PSU

Find your creative voice—and experience the voices of others—at the most dynamic and accessible public arts institution in Oregon.

Through creative research, community projects, and hundreds of public events each year, the College of the Arts makes Portland a better place to live. 

In the studio and on the stage, in the classroom and the community. Our students and faculty cultivate the bold ideas that can change the world. 

Artists are problem solvers. Today more than ever, that’s what the world needs. 

Creative practice demands new ideas, empathy for others, collaboration and practical results. These skills are essential for solving the big challenges facing society today—and they’re at the heart of our college. That’s why our graduates are well prepared for successful careers in the arts and beyond.

Happy New Year from the College of the Arts!

The College of the Arts reunited Madisen Hallberg (Jazz Studies, '20) and professional opera singer Emmanuel Henreid ("Onry") to perform Dona Nobis Pacem.

Your generosity makes a difference

Innovation, advocacy, and community building are central to addressing today’s challenges—and creativity is key. College of the Arts students pursue rigorous academic curricula and learn the skills and discipline for successful and sustainable careers in the arts. Your gift will have direct impact on aspiring artists, musicians, designers, and makers!


 

The College of the Arts Student Hardship Fund was created to provide immediate support to students in need of emergency funds to cover both academic and personal expenses, such as housing, medical bills, utilities, and equipment. Thank you for your gift to support College of the Arts students facing financial hardship during this challenging time.

Upcoming events

PSU Jazz Virtual Series: Vanessa Rubin

Join the Portland State University Jazz Area for our weekly PSU Jazz…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-27 15:00:00 2021-01-27 15:50:00 PSU Jazz Virtual Series: Vanessa Rubin Join the Portland State University Jazz Area for our weekly PSU Jazz Virtual Series. Each week features a world class artist engaging in lecture and conversation with students and faculty. Follow Portland State University on Facebook to receive notification when the page goes Live. https://www.facebook.com/psujazz Revered as both a torchbearer and a storyteller, jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin possesses a voice hailed for crystalline clarity, hearth-like warmth and playful lioness sass. The Cleveland native brings a wealth of diverse influences to her vocal performance from both the Trinidadian/Caribbean roots of her mother and traditional jazz by way of her Louisiana-born father. Additional homespun influences include the melodic bell tone clarity of a young Capital Records recording artist, Nancy Wilson, the fire of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, the sweet sounds of trumpeter Blue Mitchell as well as her love of the Motown Sound…especially girl groups like the Supremes. Rubin’s passion for rich musical stories are evidenced throughout her eight albums thus far plus numerous guest appearances. Highlights include the evocative “Voyager II” from the pen of Teri Thornton, “Inside a Silent Tear” written by Blossom Dearie, a refashioned waltz version of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” lyricized by New York Voices and an arrangement of “Superwoman” by Stevie Wonder inspired by the Ahmad Jamal recording of “Poinciana”. So while she has one foot planted in tradition – sticking close to timeless melodies and exquisite vocal forms – Rubin waxes adventurous, embracing stories lesser told while employing lessons of acclaimed storytellers in song such as Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn and Freddy Cole. “They mastered the art of believability”, Rubin asserts. Additionally, Rubin continues to back her way into The Blues with an urgent appreciation for soulful mentors like Etta Jones and Irene Reid. Also among her current endeavors is highlighting and interpreting well known, obscure and new lyrical works of composer/arranger/pianist Tadd Dameron. “I hope to do for Tadd’s music what Carmen McRae did for Monk’s music”, Rubin explained. Vanessa’s journey to becoming a jazz singer could be said to have begun at an early age. She was characterized by her mother as always being “a very vocal child,” and knew Vanessa would, “do something with that big ol’ mouth of hers.” Coming from parents who valued academia, discipline and hard work, that “something” was meant to be law school. Attaining a BA from The Ohio State School of Journalism in 1979 was not a disappointment. However, her decision to pursue a career jazz singing did come as a surprise. Vanessa’s fascination with language coupled with her passion for music, especially jazz, pointed her on a collision course toward jazz performance. Her “a-ha” moment came during a college beauty pageant at which Vanessa was accompanied by a very young, and even then, a very capable Bobby Floyd of Columbus, Ohio. Her first performance of a jazz evergreen, the Billie Holiday original “God Bless The Child,” garnered both rousing applause and the winning talent award. Most importantly though, it awakened what Vanessa describes as “her calling.” “I fell in love with the moment, the music, the audience and the effect it had on them and me,” Rubin remembers. Vanessa’s first gigs began around 1980 in small clubs around Cleveland such as Tucker’s Place, Bob’s Toast of the Town, Lancer’s Steak House, Club Isabella, The Native Son and The Teal Lounge. Some early band mates included Wynn Bibbs, Skip Gibson, saxophonist and arranger Willie Smith, Neal Creque, Matthew “Chink” Stevenson and, later, the uniquely soulful organ quartet of The Blackshaw Brothers with Cecil Rucker on vibes. “We worked 8 days a week all over Cleveland catching the tail end of what was left over from the good old days,” Rubin recalls. After two years, Rubin was anxious to set her sights on New York where she earnestly and humbly soaked up the tutelage of many veterans like Pharaoh Sanders, Frank Foster and Barry Harris. In 1992, Rubin signed to Novus/RCA Records recording five albums, three of which reached #1 at radio. Her debut recording Soul Eyes (1992) was produced by the venerable Onaje Allen Gumbs. Her sophomore recording, Pastiche (1993) showed off her horn like abilities interacting with an all-star sextet which included jazz legends Frank Foster and Cecil Bridgewater. I’m Glad There is You, A Tribute to Carmen McRae (1994) followed, finding Vanessa couched in beautiful string arrangements with jazz luminaries Kenny Burrell and Grover Washington. Her fourth release Vanessa Rubin Sings (1995) was intimately guitar based. It was easy to see Vanessa flourished on Novus with the muscle of parent company RCA Records behind her. However, when the Novus label folded between her fourth and fifth recording option, Vanessa was invited to stay on at RCA to record her fifth album, New Horizons (1997) – a new more contemporary sound. This move, predictably, was not heralded by her jazz base but gained her a new audience with smooth jazz/NAC fans. She next recorded two mainstream CDs for Telarc Jazz: Language of Love (1999) and Girl Talk (2001). Full Circle (Creative Perspective Music – 2013), her most recent release, is a joint project of Vanessa Rubin and saxophonist Don Braden, both of whom are from the Midwest and share a deep appreciation for the Hammond B3. Rubin has also grown to recognize the importance and advantage of writing. “When it comes to finding your style and sound, it helps to have your own stories.” she shares. “And in order to do that, you just have to live! I’ve always been conscientious about my choice of repertoire. Even more so now. I need something substantive and honest to sing.” A turning point was composing her first original, “No Strings Attached”. Other originals by Rubin featured on her recordings are “Once Was Not Enough”, “If You Ever Go Away” and “Are You Ready For Me?” She also penned the first set of lyrics to Frank Foster’s “Simone”, Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil” (vocally re-titled “All For One”) and Tadd Dameron’s “The Dream Is You” (vocally re-titled “Reveries Do Come True”). That singing jazz would lead to acting was in no way a strange transition for Vanessa Rubin. “We are all actresses,” Rubin remembers from a conversation with Carmen McRae. “I’ve gotta have some drama,” shared in another coveted conversation with Nancy Wilson. Both celebrated veterans ventured into acting for television and film. In their emboldened footsteps, Rubin has enjoyed for several years now performing the play “Yesterdays: An Evening with Billie Holiday” written by Renee Upchurch and directed by Mr. Woodie King Jr. This one woman show about the life and music of the most legendary of jazz vocal immortals netted Ms. Rubin a 2011 nomination for a Kevin Klein Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. Rubin continues to be a favorite at jazz clubs and festivals here in the US and abroad. Her work as a producer and educator/clinician with youth in communities as well as in educational institutions worldwide is ongoing. “I understand now that my career is a calling,” Vanessa concludes. “I do it not only because I want to…but because I have to. A lot is bubbling just beneath the surface…and I am no longer afraid to be naked.”   Facebook Live https://fb.me/e/3eLzAZf8b Sherry Alves alves4@pdx.edu Sherry Alves alves4@pdx.edu America/Los_Angeles public

African American Musical Studies & Women in Classical Music

Dr. Nicole Cherry is Assistant Professor of Violin at The University of…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-27 17:00:00 2021-01-27 18:00:00 African American Musical Studies & Women in Classical Music Dr. Nicole Cherry is Assistant Professor of Violin at The University of Texas at San Antonio and second violinist of the award-winning Marian Anderson String Quartet. Based in Texas for over twenty years, Dr. Cherry is a dedicated teacher and has held artist-teacher residencies at Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, University of Washington, and Brown University where she has trained promising string players of all ages.  Dr. Cherry received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School with training that has exposed her to the teaching and mentorship of the world’s most distinguished artists such as members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Emerson, Colorado and the Takács String Quartet; as well as esteemed violinists including Isidore Cohen, Erick Friedman, Joseph Fuchs, Felix Galimir, and renowned Baroque violinist, Jaap Schroeder.  She has performed in ensembles conducted by Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, and as concertmaster under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. Dr. Cherry received her Bachelor of Music degree from University of Maryland and completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Texas Tech University where she studied with Annie Chalex Boyle. Dr. Cherry has also received graduate fellowships from the Peabody Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Dr. Cherry has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in such venues as the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She has performed in Europe, the Middle East and Asia including a tour as a featured soloist in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and South Africa. During this tour, Dr. Cherry had the honor of performing before the Queen Noor of Jordan and sharing music with underdeveloped townships in Johannesburg during Apartheid.  Comfortable in various styles of music, Dr. Cherry has shared the stage with a diverse list of artists such as members of prestigious chamber ensembles; the International Contemporary Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, the American Chamber Players, the Colorado, Pacifica, Audubon, Penderecki and Cleveland Quartets as well great jazz pianist Stanley Cowell, gospel music icon, Richard Smallwood, and the late Whitney Houston.  Dr. Cherry has made several radio and television appearances with solo performances at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals including the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, and the Pablo Casals Festival. Dr. Cherry has also presented and performed at the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts, Texas Music Educators Association Conference, American String Teacher’s Association Conference, Chamber Music America Conference, Hot Springs Music Festival, American Festival of the Arts, and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Dr. Cherry serves on the Texas ASTA Board and beginning summer 2021, Dr. Cherry joins the faculty of Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. As a member of the Marian Anderson String Quartet, artistic endeavors have brought them to venues such as New York City’s Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Ravinia Festival, the Fischoff Chamber Music Foundation, Washington DC area’s Strathmore Hall, the Smithsonian Institute as well as a recent TEDx Talk hosted by Blinn College, in Bryan, Texas.  Dr. Cherry served as President of the Marian Anderson String Quartet Community Music School, Inc. and Artistic Director of the Marian Anderson String Quartet Summer Chamber Music Institute in its Texas and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands locations. In recognition of committed music outreach with the quartet, Dr. Cherry garnered two Mayoral Proclamations, Chamber Music America’s Guarneri String Quartet Award, the Congress of Racial Equality’s MLK JR. Award for Outstanding Arts Achievement, as well as a $200,000 grant to tour the US from the Texaco Foundation partnered with Da Camera of Houston. A champion of new music, Dr. Cherry has commissioned several works including companion pieces based on her research of 19th century Afro-European violinist, George Bridgetower (The ForgewithGeorge Music Project - 2033). Commissions include Berklee College composer, David Wallace’s 2017 work, “The Bridgetower” for speaking, singing, solo violinist, which incorporates the text of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rita Dove’s book, “Sonata Mulattica.” Dr. Cherry has since premiered the work all over the US, and Canada with scheduled dates in Europe. Subsequent commissions include composers, Jessie Cox, Yvette Janine Jackson, Philip Wharton and Grammy-nominated composer, D. J. Sparr. Upcoming projects include a recording of these new works with Albany Records and a major publication of Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op. 47 with the inclusion of George Bridgetower’s original performance embellishments and his original compositions. Dr. Cherry’s doctoral research on the nineteenth-century Afro-European violin virtuoso, George Bridgetower, which explores historical socio-cultural theories in string music, led to a featured performance at the President’s Lecture Series opening for renowned orator, Michael Eric Dyson followed by featured interview segments on Lubbock, Texas' NPR Station, KTTZ and PBS TV. Dr. Cherry is also the recipient of Texas Tech University’s Paul Whitfield Horn Award and the President’s Excellence in Diversity and Equity Award. The Juilliard School profiled Dr. Cherry in the Juilliard Journal’s 100th-anniversary issue, “A Quiet Revolution: Juilliard Alumni and the Transformation of Education in America Through the Arts.”   Live on Zoom https://pdx.zoom.us/j/92861767295 Tomas Cotik tcotik@pdx.edu Tomas Cotik tcotik@pdx.edu America/Los_Angeles public

Illia Yakovenko: KSMoCA Artist Lecture Series

Please join us for the 2020-2021 King School Museum of Contemporary Art (…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-28 10:00:00 2021-01-28 11:00:00 Illia Yakovenko: KSMoCA Artist Lecture Series Please join us for the 2020-2021 King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) Artist Lecture Series. These free lectures are open to members of the public and students at Dr. MLK Jr School and their families. This lecture will take place via YouTube livestream. International Acquisition Committee (Illia Yakovenko) is currently an Artist-In-Residence at KSMoCA. Presentations will be recorded and made available on our YouTube channel as an ongoing resource for students, teachers, and members of the public. Join this event Online art@pdx.edu art@pdx.edu America/Los_Angeles public

Noon Concert: Rory Cowal

Presenting a concert of solo piano music, Rory Cowal will perform works by…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-28 12:00:00 2021-01-28 13:00:00 Noon Concert: Rory Cowal Presenting a concert of solo piano music, Rory Cowal will perform works by Portland composers Darrell Grant, Deena T. Grossman, Caroline Louise Miller, and Kennedy Verrett, as well as a classic work by Anthony Davis, the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music. As a classical pianist, Rory Cowal’s repertoire spans the breadth of the American avant-garde. In addition to classic works by composers such as John Cage and Johanna Beyer, he has performed numerous premieres, including pieces by Muhal Richard Abrams, Kris Davis, and Larry Polansky.  His 2018 album, Clusters: Piano Explorations (New World Records) received an enthusiastic review in the New York Times and one track was also selected for the Times’ 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018.   As a jazz pianist, he has performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival, Jazz at LACMA, JazzPOP, Harlem in the Himalayas, and other festivals and clubs throughout the United States and Canada. His jazz quartet, Slumgum, has released four albums and won the 2013 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.   Facebook Live http://www.facebook.com/somtpdx PSU School of Music & Theater music@pdx.edu PSU School of Music & Theater music@pdx.edu America/Los_Angeles public