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Week Two at PICA!

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Hey guys!

This week I was able to branch out a bit more in my work projects. I’m still working on the spreadsheet of faculty contacts for PICA. This week I focused on branching out to California schools like UC Berkeley and Mills and appending addresses to the faculties. Pretty much every school has a different way of managing postage. Some campuses are small enough that you can address it to the main address. Other schools require that you add department or office. The project has proved pretty challenging in this way. The list is getting pretty comprehensive at this point with 169 contacts, all including focuses, email addresses, departments, and schools.

This week I also got to help sort out merchandise! PICA ran a kickstarter recently and sold tshirts, tote bags and hoodies as part of it. We realized pretty recently that we had run out of tote bags so it was a good time to check what we had left. Jamie the graphic designer, Noelle the marketing and communications manager and I pulled out all of the shirts, hoodies and tote bags from the supply closet and counted them all. I got a pretty interesting history of PICA merchandise in the process and a little bit of retail experience. Oh and I scored a PICA hoodie out of the deal.

Funny enough, we found two recent tote bags in the process of reorganizing and cataloging. Later that day a man came in with a tote bag coupon. He got the choice of a solid black pica bag and a beige pica bag with larger lettering. After consulting his wife he ran with the black bag. Lots of smiles all around.

After digging through multiple databases (JSTOR, EBSCOHOST, and this one cool site full of New York Times scans) I finished the artist visa project with enough print sources! Thank you to PSU for library access. The foreign artists are going to be incredible for TBA this year.

I’m also working my way into the graphic design part of PICA! I opened up Adobe InDesign CS5 for the first time at work to make some well formatted labels for press archives. The routine was pretty straightforward but I got to use the official PICA fonts and practice their style.

Later in the week Jamie showed me the PICA redesign style guide. The whole thing is contained in a gorgeous 30+ page pdf including detailed descriptions of logo usage and reasoning and process to changes from the old style. Seeing design so well thought out was incredibly inspiring. If you’re interested in new PICA look you should totally check out the website. Definitely a high point in my week.

I missed Friday of this week to fly out to Space X and TieCon but I made it up on Sunday.

Today (Sunday) I got to help put together a Field Guide event. Field guide is an exploration of performance work from an insider view. Instead of simply viewing a performance then leaving, in a Field Guide event participants engage with the artist, the work and each other. In this case, I got to FLOCK, a dance space in the same building as Disjecta and helped set up then participated in CONTEMPORARY CHOREOGRAPHY & CREATIVE PROCESS Tonya Lockyer on Tahni Holt.

I got to FLOCK around 6 and helped Roya lay out chairs, tables and helped sign people in for the event. As a Field Guide group we discussed what dance could be, what lenses we bring to dance and examined the medium as a whole. We then developed our own dances based off a series of images, similar to the work of Tahni Holt, and performed them in different spaces around the building for one another. Afterwards we watched pieces from Tahni’s work in progress, then engaged in a Q/A session. Afterwards we all ate together and talked about the work and made other chat. As someone who doesn’t use dance as a medium the whole experience was an eye opener to process and the culture of dance.


Hmm ... food art! Nice! Just

Hmm ... food art! Nice! Just kidding - although it does look delicious. Looks like you're doing some great work and using lots of your various skills, Thomas. Nice!

It's awesome that this

It's awesome that this project is taking you all around town, Thomas. I live really close to Disjecta - it's pretty far north!

Friends of the Refuge

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 Working at the refuge has been an inspiring and life changing opportunity. I've met the kindest people who are not only dedicate to helping nature, but also to other volunteers and visitors. Everyday I am greated by a rotation of people, and none are lost in the numbers. They call me by name, and I them, eager to find out how I'm fairing at this new job. Of course, everything is wonderful. My coworkers and mentor are as caring as family and everyday I strive to work as hard as possible for them. Usually I'll be laminating, despite the worry from others that this job bores me. It certainly doesn't as the laminaters are prissy princesses and require a diligent finess to mange. As I work the hot machines, I'll also cut pages and order them nicely, while keeping an eye on the window for interesting birds of course.

As well as my daily work, I'll also help with special tasks, ranging from all-these-forms-have-a-serious-typo-which-makes-them-hilariously-inappropriate-help-oliviaaaaa to oh-god-we-have-75-Kindergarteners-coming-in-last-minute-oliviaaaaaa to prepping for bird fest. Each one has been incredibly fun to help with, and a new experience. I've never before realized how little self preservation small children have when it comes to trying to dive into ponds. I also neve realized that you don't have to know much about pond life to teach kids about it. There's really a threshold age where kids are capable of taking in serious information. With the Kindergarteners, we went from talking about the specifics of the life cycle of each small water bug, to asking what they can find in the tub of pond water. They were much more interested in a hands on experience with only big picture info. 'This is a tadpole', 'this is a salamander tadpole', 'how are the different?', 'good, you can tell because of their feathery antenna, which are actually lungs'.

Everyday I come home exhausted with sore feet, but I'm always ever to come back the next day. I work weekends so I'm unable to see friends anymore, but I don't miss them because I found so many more in the new job. Everyday is an adventure with fun, caring people who are just as educated and excited. 


hey olivia- looks like you're

hey olivia- looks like you're having a lot of fun and i think it's really cool that you get to be outside working in the environment you're studying. have a good rest of your senior project experience! I'm excited to see your presentation next week(:

Good job

Good job! It is great that you are having fun with this. It sounds difficult, but senior projects are not supposed to be easy.

We demand more posts!

Chris and I plan to share your blogs with C&C, but I realized you've only posted once. What else have you been up to? Your C&C demands more blog posts!

Hey Olivia, I'm so glad you

Hey Olivia,

I'm so glad you are having a good time! Post one more time for last week. What's the coolest bird that you've seen so far?


I'm so happy to hear the wildlife refuge is satisfying work for you, even the laminating. It sounds like you're also out-and-about on the trails and interacting with lots of folks. I want some pictures next week!
P.S. We miss you!

I see the pictures now!

(slow interwebs) ;)

The Progress Continues

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This week the progress has continued with Dusty, Scottie and Truffle. Truffle and Scottie have gotten better in general learning how to lunge on the line. As I said in my last post, I was going to explain more about supplements and daily nutrition for horses. I actually found out that a few horses are on a trial run with some new Chinese herbs. In the wild, horses have access to all kinds of supplements, and they self medicate. But because these horses are domesticated, they sometimes don’t have the right kinds of food they need. There is a prime analogy to humans and horses. If someone has issues with an eating disorder, the way to help them is just offer them a bunch of variety of foods and let them choose. They may go weeks just wanting tuna fish sandwiches, but they subconsciously know what their body needs. Well horses do the same thing. So this lady that works solely with horse nutrition came and did a talk about how if you put a lot of different types of herbs in front of horses they will do a sign of licking and “lip biting” which tells the woman that they needs those more in their diet. One of my mentor’s horses, Jubilee, has a peeing problem. She drinks so much water that she doesn’t stop peeing. My mentor kept thinking that there was a problem with her bladder, but it was later found out through this nutritionist that Jubilee just needs more minerals in her diet and that is why she is over drinking. After a trial period of a week or so with these herbs she now has stopped drinking as much, and seems over all like a much happier horse. But back to Scottie, Dusty and Truffle, because Dusty is 29 years old, he needs a lot more help to function. Just like when humans get older, they start to take more and more medication, horses do the same. The way the feeding schedule works at the barn is, around 6am, Dan, one of the owners, goes around and gives every horse they morning grain, around noon they get their first feeding of grain with they individual supplements, then around 4:30pm they get another set of grain, around 7pm each horses gets another set of grain, and then around 10pm they get their last thing of hay that carries them into the next morning. Dusty currently has 6 big flakes of hay, which weighs about 4 pounds, 2.5 scoops of grain in the morning and then another at night. He also takes 1 scoop of cool cal 2x a day, a half cup of oil both times he has grain. His oil and cool cal helps his skin and joints. He also takes noni, which helps eases, his arthritis. Truffle has 1/8 of senior grain in the morning and night, and takes MSM, which helps with arthritis, and then he also gets ¼ cup of beet pulp, which is just extra filler that helps process of food and it also helps horses gain weight. Scottie gets a handful of senior grain and 1/8 cup of rice twice a day, then vitamin B as a supplement with ¼ cup of beet pulp at night. My barn currently has 72 horses to take care of, which means that is 72 horses they must feed and keep track of. Some people board their horses and feed on their own, and others use the barns food and it’s part of their payment every month. The other option is having the barn feed them, but buy your own food. Dusty’s owner, Karlene, buys Dusty’s own food and it sits by his stall and everyday they just feed him from the bucket. The supplements sit next to his grain bucket and it stays there all the time. However, they do have a grain room where everyday someone goes in there and fills buckets with the name of the horse. They also have a whiteboard to keep track of them with the stall number next to it. Stall numbers label the board, so the feeder can just fill up 10 or so buckets and go down the line of horses and feed them. That is all about the feed that Dusty, Scottie and Truffle use, and a little extra knowledge about feed in general.


This is awesome that you're

This is awesome that you're spending time around one of your passions and you're making some clear connections to human health and physiology. Now, where are the corgi playing with horse photos?

Week One at PICA!

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For my senior project I'm working at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)! It's a non-proft organization based near Powells in downtown Portland. (here!) They run year round exhibitions, have a stellar resource room full of rare art books, and are best known for a festival they run in September: the Time Based Arts Festival (TBA)

I landed at PICA just as things were starting to really heat up for the Time Based Arts Festival. When I got to work on Monday, Beth Hutchins showed me bike parking and I got to sit in on a lengthy meeting regarding prep for the event. Everyone at the meeting placed post it notes of ToDos for the next six months. Each month was more filled than the last in a sea of sticky paper. The meeting ran a couple hours. It was perfect preparation for jumping into the organization.

After the meeting Kristan Kennedy, the visual arts currator, showed me how to set up the current installation at PICA. Right now PICA is exhibiting the priemere installation of Andrea Geyer's "Three Chants Modern": a video piece exploring women's role in institutions for modernist art like MOMA which was founded by a group of women who credited themselves by last name. The ~20 minute video loops throughout the work day and can be heard all around the office. It's very powerful. 

Afterwards, Roya: my off campus mentor and the community engagement manager at PICA, showed me my desk at PICA and introduced me to my first project. 

PICA runs a grant giving system called the Precipice Fund. The Precipice Fund gives money to up and coming artists, art galleries, and collectives. Recipients include 12128 Microresidencies a contemporary exhibition space on a boat docked in Portland, the Experimental Film Festival in Portland, Container Corps, an art publication studio and many many others.

My first project at PICA had me turning Precipice fund updates from grantees into blog posts in Wordpress. I learned quite a bit about navigating Wordpress as a tool and formatting text for blogging. The work should be surfacing over the next few months! 

Since PICA requires a lot of community outreach, my second project had me researching local visual, performance, and liberal arts teachers in the Portland area and compiling their contact information into a spreadsheet. I dug through multiple college sites to find professor focuses and emails to pull together a more complete image.

My third and most recent project has been centered around pooling together evidence for out of country performance visas. To get into the USA and perform you need a specific performance visa. To get such a visa you basically need to be able to prove that you're well enough known nationally to cross the border. The system is fairly old fashioned so internet articles are less convincing than print sources. I've been pooling together articles proving that artists are well known internationally by digging through online databases for articles and googling for reviews.

I also came in at an interesting time because someone had stolen thousands of dollars worth of books from the resource room the week before I got there. The books were taken out and sold to Powells. Powells is now returning the books as they pull them off their shelves. Part of my work has also been helping to clean resources up. That means I've been tallying some expenses and helping to figure out what's around and what's not. 

It's been a very productive week and I'm looking forward to whatever comes up next! 

Thomas Newlands


Grand Theft Art-D'oh!

Incredible… I cannot believe someone would be stupid enough to steal from PICA and sell just down the street to Powells. Come ON people.
Ditto what Chris said. PERFECT spot for you. Will set you up for all kinds of great professional / job / internship opportunities in Chicago and beyond.

Yay Thomas!

Tell Roya that the group you're putting together could become a FB group and then I can join, too!

Very cool

Thomas, would there be any more of a perfect senior project for you? PICA seems like it is a great fit! I am really happy for you and excited to read more in the coming weeks! Bravo.


Neat :D
I'm glad your week was productive!