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How do we—as artists and as people—experience and respond to nature? Join us for a series of seminars that take an interdisciplinary approach to three special exhibitions on view this fall: Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection; Force of Nature: Emmet Gowin in the American West; and Paradise: Fallen Fruit. We’ll hold a community writing workshop with Write Around Portland, a conversation on social movements and the environment with David Osborn, and a discussion of hallucination and the science of perception with Jeff Leake and Bill Griesar. Sign up for one, two, or all three seminars.

Participants are asked to spend time in the exhibitions before the seminars begin and to complete short readings distributed in advance for the second and third seminars.

The series is cosponsored by PSU University Studies and Portland Art Museum Education and Public Programs.

$10 per seminar general admission. Students and educators use discount code: EDUCATION.

Sundays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Space is limited. Registration required.


October 18: Write Around Portland: Words, Images, Nature

Stevens Room, Main Building

Explore writing as a way of interacting with art, nature, and one another. Write Around Portland will facilitate writing in the galleries with pieces in the current exhibitions serving as inspiration. Journals, pencils, and all materials will be provided.

Since 1999, Write Around Portland has held thousands of creative writing workshops. Because everyone has a story to tell we hold our workshops for everyone. We offer community writing workshops at Powell’s Books as well as workshops in hospitals, schools, prisons, shelters, and senior centers.

Register now

October 25: David Osborn: Artists, Social Movements, and the Creation of Nature

Trustee Room, Mark Building

This seminar will consider how environmental social movements, the creation of nature, and the ecological crisis relate to the exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum. We will explore different constructions of a mythic or ideal nature, its impact on social change, and specifically how these processes shape efforts to address climate change. We will also examine the affinity between artists and revolutionaries in creating new realities from their visions as well as our participation in this creative process.

David Osborn is a faculty member at Portland State University and has been involved in a wide variety of social movements. His current interests include movement ecology, the impact of cosmology on social change, and emotional and spiritual relationships to the climate crisis.

Register now

November 8: Bill Griesar and Jeff Leake: Art, Drugs, and the Nature of Seeing

Trustee Room, Mark Building

Certain drugs provoke compelling visual distortions and hallucinations, increase the intensity and salience of what you perceive, depress areas of the brain that let you introspect, and experience a personal sense of self, and make the ordinary stand out powerfully as never before. Artists have intuitively manipulated these same systems to communicate emotional states and visual phenomena since first putting pigment on a cave wall. This session will bring together landscape art, hallucination, and the science of perception.

A graduate of OHSU’s Behavioral Neuroscience program, Bill Griesar, PhD, teaches neuroscience at Portland State University and WSU Vancouver. Jeff Leake holds an MA in Fine Arts from UC Davis and a BA in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Bill and Jeff currently coteach an Art and the Brain course at WSU Vancouver and at PSU, providing reference to visual arts and phenomena in relation to neuroscience. They also founded the volunteer art and neuroscience outreach program, NW Noggin, and routinely bring college students and brains to K-12 classrooms in Portland and Vancouver Public Schools.

Register now

In Dialogue is a recurring series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based seminars that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.