Arts & Lectures

Arts & Lectures

Catlin Gabel’s commitment to the arts is firmly rooted in progressive school philosophy, with a focus on the whole child and developing each student in a well-rounded manner. The arts are essential to a Catlin Gabel education as a foundation for critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
At Catlin Gabel, students of different ages connect with and influence each other, and our Creative Arts Center provides a centralized facility where that confluence can occur. The facility also brings together arts faculty from multiple disciplines, and visiting artists, to foster collaboration and enhance student learning.
The school provides a variety of opportunities for students to experience and respond to visual and literary art:

Art Exhibitions

Exhibitions of student and professional art are presented in the Cabell Center foyer and the Creative Arts Center gallery throughout the school year. Recent shows have included works by local artists, alumni, faculty-staff, and selections from private collections.

Distinguished Writers Series

The Upper School English department hosts presentations by a diverse array of visiting poets and writers through the distinguished writers program. Writers work with students in classes and speak at assemblies. Parents are welcome guests at these assemblies.

Jonske Lecture

The Karl Jonske ’99 Memorial Lectureship was created in 2005 to honor Karl’s love of literature. Guest lecturers speak at an Upper School assembly and spend time in classrooms with students and teachers.

Jonske Lecturers

M.T. Anderson is an American author of picture books, pre-teen books, and young-adult novels. He won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2006 for The Pox Party, volume one of the "Octavian Nothing" books, historical novels set in Revolution-era Boston. Anderson is known for using wit and sarcasm in his stories, as well as advocating that young adults are capable of mature comprehension. He presented at both Middle and Upper School assemblies, and met with students in classes in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.

Artist Michael Schultheis creates paintings consisting of layers of mathematical notations and drawings that describe the form and motion of three-dimensional geometric shapes. The artist talked about how he is inspired by the beauty and elegance in the world of analysis, and how his paintings explore the visual models that communicate this essence of math.

Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins returned to the Catlin Gabel campus as the 2010-11 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. His last visit had been in 1999, the year of Karl Jonske's graduation, as a Jean Vollum Distinguished Writer. Billy Collins made a surprise visit to a freshman English class and enjoyed lunch with students in the creative writing class.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder spoke about his book Mountains Beyond Mountains, which narrates the interactions and conflicts Dr. Paul Farmer faces as he attempts to secure healthcare for the poor in developing countries. Following his lecture, Tracy Kidder had lunch and talked with Upper School students in the creative writing elective.

Photographer and former National Geographic Society photo editor Anne B. Keiser talked about her work documenting Sir Edmund Hillary's humanitarian efforts with the Sherpa people of Nepal. 

Filmmaker Sandy Northrop and author David Lamb led a conversation about the Vietnam War. Sandy Northrop directed a PBS film trilogy about Vietnam. David Lamb, a former LA Times foreign correspondent and eight-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, is the author of Vietnam, Now: A Reporter Returns. 

Ted Kooser was the lecture series' inaugural speaker. He was United States poet laureate consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2006, and also won the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). Ted is also Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


An independent preschool through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |

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