Conversation Series

Pollyanne Birge

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Pollyanne has a long and remarkable history with the Center, as a volunteer, Board member, Board Chairperson, Development and Community Resource Coordinator, Managing Director, and, beginning mid-2014, as the Director.

Ms. Birge holds a Master’s Degree in Non Profit Management from Portland State University. Previous to IPRC, she worked for five years as the Arts and Culture Outreach and Policy Coordinator for Commissioner, then Mayor, Sam Adams. In that role she helped initiate the Creative Advocacy Network, RACC’s Art Spark outreach program and the RACC Public Murals process and several other policy related initiatives. Another major component to her work was curating and managing monthly art shows and seasonal music concerts at City Hall. These events were unique and completely community driven, and acted as both a place to highlight the regional art community, as well as educate on matters of local government and public policy. An avid supporter of Oregon’s nonprofit creative community, she also serves on the board of Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Know Your City, and has formerly served for Stumptown Comics, Inc., and the PDX Bridge Festival.

Judy Bluehorse Skelton

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Judy Bluehorse Skelton has worked with federal and state Indian Education programs throughout the Northwest for 18 years, creating cultural activities focusing on traditional and contemporary uses of native plants for food, medicine, ceremony, and healthy lifeways. Judy is author of six collections of essays for teachers, including Native America: A Sustainable Culture (1999), and Lewis & Clark Through Native American Eyes (2003); she wrote and recorded 24 segments on Health & Healing and Sacred Landscapes for Wisdom of the Elders radio programs, airing on Public Broadcasting and AIROS (American Indian Radio on Satellite). As Senior Instructor, Judy is full-time faculty in Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University, teaching Intro to Native American Studies, Environmental Sustainability – Indigenous Practices, Indigenous Gardens & Food Justice, and Indigenous Women Leaders. She received the Oregon Indian Education Association’s award for Outstanding Indian Educator in 2006 and serves on the boards of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland Parks, and the Native American Community Advisory Council. Judy received an MA in Educational Leadership and Policy’s, Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning program at Portland State University. Collaborative work includes the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) and Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., integrating permaculture principles with traditional ecological knowledge to address Food Sovereignty/Justice and reclaim the urban forest.

Kris Cohen

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Kris Cohen is trained as a media theorist and an art historian. These two fields come together in his work on the technological mediation of social life. His first large scale research project, now complete, takes up this history near the end, with the advent of electronic networks and the building of new collective forms in networked environments. Future projects will extend this history back in time as a way to better understand the present. One will consider the relationship between art practices and changes to the intellectual property laws that govern creative labor and the commons. Another seeks to write a history for the bitmap as a mid-century screen technology that significantly transformed techniques of visual representation. Kris’ PhD is in Art History from the University of Chicago (2010). He has written for the journals Afterall, New Media and Society, Continuum, caareviews, and a number of exhibition catalogues. He has also recently been involved in starting a new online journal, Open-Set. At Reed, he’s taught “Video, Media, Politics (1968-Present),” “Figuring Relation,” “The Art of Capitalism,” “Theories of Forms,” and Humanities 110.

Janet Owen Driggs

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Janet Owen Driggs is a writer, artist and curator who, along with Matthew Owen Driggs, frequently participates in the collective identity “Owen Driggs.” Her interests focus on those physical sites where one meets the other, which may be a public street, a garden that buffers public sidewalk and private interior, or the skin that holds ‘me’ in and mediates between ‘us.’

Janet’s work has been exhibited internationally, including in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, and Brazil. She has curated exhibitions and screening programs in the United Kingdom, United States, People’s Republic of China and Mexico. As part of Owen Driggs (with Matthew Driggs), she curated Performing Public Space at Tijuana’s Casa del Tunel (February 2010), and generated “Mapping Biointimacy,” a series of workshops, conversations, and a combined mobile ‘phone app/guided walk at Montalvo Art Center and the ZERO 1 Garage (2013)

Atsu Nagayama

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Atsu started working for Campus Rec in July 2008. As the Associate Director of Business Services, she enjoys having the opportunity to work with students and a supportive team of coworkers. After living in New York, Chicago, and Tokyo, she is enjoying the great expanse of the West. She has started a long-delayed outdoor pursuit in hiking, camping, and rock climbing, while keeping up with her lifetime passion of yoga.

Rex Burkholder

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Trained as a biologist, Rex Burkholder worked as a science teacher and in the Northwestern forests. He started the bicycling revolution in Portland, Oregon as a founder and policy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. An early leader in sustainability and equity, Burkholder also co-founded the Coalition for a Livable Future, bringing together over 100 diverse NGOs in the greater Portland region.

He was elected to the Metro Council in 2000, serving 12 years, where he led efforts to reform regional transportation policy and to integrate climate change into the decisions of all levels of government in Oregon. He has served on key task forces as well as national boards including Rail~volution and the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. Recipient of numerous local awards, his work has been recognized internationally as well, being invited to speak in countries throughout Latin America on sustainable transportation and climate change. He was honored in 2010 as a Global Ambassador forCiclovia, an international movement to reclaim cities from the automobile.

Robert Bellows

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Robert Bellows is an artist engaged in creating a sculptural park that symbolizes the journey every soldier must take the return to civilian life. The park, a gathering space and a field of expression for both civilians and veterans will be called the Warrior Storyfield.

Inspired by the idea that collaborative art projects can move culture, Robert is inviting a number of veterans and civilians to bring in their own creative process into the building of this project. As a founder of Focus 12 Inc, Robert has a business background in public relations, product development, marketing and distribution.