PSU art professors and students help school open new art museum
Author: Suzanne Gray, College of the Arts
Posted: May 14, 2015

At the "Postcards from America" opening reception. 

There is a new art museum in town—and it’s located in the halls of the King School, a public K-8 school in northeast Portland. 

The inaugural exhibit, “Postcards from America,” features the work of internationally renowned photographers and is curated by students at the school with help from art professors and students at Portland State University. A free, public opening reception will be held 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.   

The King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) was created as a collaborative project by PSU’s College of the Arts, Portland Public Schools and a variety of community groups, led by PSU art professors Harrell Fletcher and Lisa Jarrett. The professors and their PSU students are working with students at the King School during classroom hours, helping them learn about museum practice and careers as they curate, install, and promote exhibits. 

“Postcards from America” will feature photographs of American cities—from Rochester, New York to Redlands, California—by Paolo Pellegrin, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth and Mikhael Subotzky, among others. All of the artists are members of the esteemed Magnum Photo Agency. “Postcards” is a project in which Magnum photographers work collectively to create a body of work focused on a particular city.  At the KSMoCA exhibit, each participating class of King School students will curate the display for one city from the Postcards project. 

At the same time, a group of photographers will be documenting various aspects of Portland in conjunction with students from PSU’s MFA in Art and Social Practice Program. One of the photographers, Alec Soth, will document King School while he is in Portland. An exhibition of that work is planned for KSMoCA in the future.

“KSMoCA re-imagines the way museums, public schools and universities shape culture by cultivating a space for art within and beyond the classroom,” says PSU professor Lisa Jarrett. “Schools and museums are both public institutions with educational goals, but traditionally they play separate roles within communities. KSMoCA brings the two institutions together, exploring our cultural heritage within a new system of ideas about the accessibility of art and the art museum’s responsibility to people, education and community.” 

After the opening reception, the public is welcome to experience the museum by appointment and during selected open hours. “Postcards from America” will be on view through October 2015.