Puget Sound English Department

September 7, 2010

Tacoma: Destination for the Arts

Part of Tacoma’s ongoing renaissance involves a strong commitment to the arts–especially efforts to promote and attract independent artists of all kinds to this area. Tacoma’s affordable rents, vibrant youth culture, and a city government that actively endorses arts endeavors, all add up to a city increasingly noteworthy for its growing art scene. To name only a very few bright spots among many, we have the third Thursday Artwalk with free museum admission and open galleries, the recent Spaceworks exhibits, which make use of empty storefronts, TAM’s outstanding programming, and small independent art and letterpresses like Beautiful Angle and Anagram Press.

Many of our faculty are leaders in local arts culture, including Professor and former Tacoma Poet Laureate Bill Kupinse, who send us this update about his not-for-profit literary press, Exquisite Disarray Publishing, created in 2009.

Professor Kupinse writes,

Initially created to publish In Tahoma’s Shadow, an anthology of Tacoma-area poets, Exquisite Disarray is in the process of judging the entries for its first-book contest. (Sorry poets: our reading period for the contest is now closed, though we do hope to run it again next year). Supported by a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, the first book contest will allow a previously unpublished Washington State poet to see his or her first book in print. We’ll host a book launch Monday November 15, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the downtown branch of the Tacoma Public library, which will feature a reading and book signing by the winning poet; there will also be an award given for “best Tacoma poem” and some free book giveaways. For more details about Exquisite Disarray, check out our website (www.exquisitedisarray.org) or join our Facebook group.

We’re eager to see the results of this contest, and wish Exquisite Disarray and long and productive existence. And if we’ve inadvertently overlooked your favorite Tacoma arts organization, larger or small, feel free to email us an update for inclusion here!

March 19, 2010

Patrons of the Arts

We deviate from our usual bias toward the verbal arts to draw your attention to an extraordinary exhibition at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum through May 31. Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: A History explores the life-changing artwork produced by Tim Rollins, an artist and special-education teacher, and a group of students in the South Bronx–kids whose lives encompassed such poverty and misery that they define themselves as “Kids of Survival” (hence the K.O.S.). Rollins was 26 in 1981 when he was asked to create some hands-on art education for a group of “at risk” students in a dilapidated school in the ghetto. The results are astounding, and their works have been featured or exhibited in the Whitney, the Guggenheim, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Venice Biennale, and purchased by museums and private collectors.

You can find more information about the organization, which has branched out from its origins in the public schools and now operates programs in New York, Memphis, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, and its “Prometheus Bound” project here. KUOW’s “Weekday” program with Steve Scher featured a conversation with founder Tim Rollins and Angel Abreu this morning.

The Frye Art Museum is located at 704 Terry Ave., Seattle, in First Hill. Phone is (206) 622-9250. The Museum is closed Mondays; hours are as follows: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10 – 5; Thu 10 – 8; Sun 12 – 5. Best of all, the Museum offers FREE admission and free parking in the Museum lot.

At a time when budgets for education are imperiled, it’s well worth a visit to see the astounding capabilities of those students who are so often forgotten or written off. And what would be possible if every child had a teacher like Tim Rollins, and the opportunity for artistic self-expression?

October 29, 2009

National Gallery of Writing

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) opened its online National Gallery of Writing on October 20, 2009.  The gallery features writing in a wide variety of genres.  Writers who are 13 years old and above may submit their work, and they may also open a “local” gallery on the site.  For more information, please follow the link:


September 15, 2009

Teacher, Teacher, I Declare . . .

As a poster in the English Department’s corridor explains, “Suffer For Beauty: A Revealing Look At Women’s History Through Undergarments” is an exhibit that has been in place since August 12th at the White River Valley Museum in Auburn, Washington.  It will be there through November 8.

The guest curators for the exhibit are Dr. Michelle Marshman and Patricia Cosgrove. The Washington Women’s History Consortium helped to sponor the exhibit.  For more information, you may call 253-288-7433 and visit the Web site, http//:www.wrvmuseum.org.

July 28, 2009

Exhibit On Women’s Suffrage

The Washington State Historical Museum in Tacoma is featuring an exhibit about women’s suffrage, “Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes.” The exhibit runs through September 27, and here is a link to more information:


June 25, 2009

NEWSWEEK Prognosticates Exhibits of Art

the-whitney-museum(The Whitney Museum, New York)

The June 15, 2009, issue of Newsweek--with guest-editor Stephen Colbert–features an articled by Cathleen McGuigan on the famous and infamous “Elgin” marbles (sculpture) which were taken from Greece and are now housed in the British Museum. As one might imagine, Greece wants the marbles back, and the very name, “Elgin marbles,” is contested.

Meanwhile, as that issue unfolds slowly over the decades, the unnamed “Prognosticator” at the end of the article takes note of the following art-exhibits-to-come:

–An exhibit of Georgia O’Keefe’s abstract painting–not the famous flowers and skulls, as the Prog notes, but “undulating, sunset-hued” abstracts. When? In about 3 months. Where? The Whitney in New York.

–An exhibit called “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire,” featuring “newly excavated material.”  The exhibit will help celebrate Mexico’s bicentennial. When? In about a year. Where? The Getty Villa in Malibu.

–An exhibit of portraits of Elvis Presley–“from the sublime (Warhol) to the saccharine (Cowan).”  When? In about 6 months, to coincide roughly with Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday, thank-you-very-much. Where? National Portrait Gallery, D.C.

The article and prognostications appear on pages 62-63 in Newsweek.