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Art for Social Change Awards

Last weekend was the awards reception of the Art for Social Change exhibition! Doctor Carmen Lugo-Lugo and Executive Director Allen Sutton both provided opening addresses on the importance of art and remembrance. For anyone who didn’t follow the night’s events on Twitter, here were the highlights:


The MLK: Revitalizing the Dream Award went to Alison Poteracke for “I Can Dream,” her musical submission from the Real People Jazz Suite. Her inspiration, she says, was not about dreaming for a better future but about reminding people action is necessary in realizing dreams. Most of her music is based in social activism.

The Social Justice in Action Award went to Rachel Tveit for her video “Spare Change.” Dolls and stop-motion were used to tell the story of a homeless man who dreams he is given a magic wand that can fix all the environmental and economical problems surrounding him. She was inspired partly by her internship in Portland, where she witnessed the magnitude of the homeless community there and its toll on individuals without homes she saw every day.

Hannah Levy

The Community Building at WSU Award went to Hannah Levy for her dance documentary “Unguarded,” which wove the interviews of eight different student athletes into her musical score. These athletes spoke on their experiences with mental health struggles, and the obstacles of bias they faced seeking help. The purpose of Levy’s dance was to communicate these struggles and their inherent vulnerability.

The Community Outreach Award went to the students and staff of Sunnyside Elementary, who submitted a mobile of paper clouds to illustrate the dreams of each student. Our department would like to extend our thanks to them for their participation in the event from outside of WSU, and for sharing so many dreams with us.

The Fine Arts Choice Award went to Sovann Robinson’s wearable submission, “97 Years.” The news clippings and headlines collaged together on the piece represent a commentary on the evolution of white supremacy, Robinson says. His concern behind creating the work was subliminal white supremacist mentality in Pullman and Whitman county, where there is an underwhelming diversity in local leaders.

Allyson Pang

The Civic Poet Award went to Allyson Pang, who entered multiple poetry submissions to the event. She read from her two companion pieces “this is for you” and “this is for [me] you,” which were written in reflection on Thanksgiving and the ending of 2019. Both championed the importance of individual love and its relation to global love, and were both submitted alongside video entries.

A Certificate of Recognition also went to James Asare for his poem “Statue or Statute?” Though Asare was not present at the event, his poetry was featured in the exhibit as an exploration of relics and justice. His work compares the two on a basis of intangibility.

A Certificate of Recognition also went to Sarina Sharpe for her painted submission, “Stop Killing Us,” which is a statement on the frequency of violence against black transgender individuals. According to Sharpe, the image of the woman depicted came into her head full-formed, and she tried to express the image as best she could.

Our thanks go to all who submitted to the Art for Social Change exhibit, and for the messages they shared with us. We hope that their art will continue to touch others in the future.

Spring 2020 Lecture Series


Last week was part of the School of Language, Culture, and Race’s 2020 spring lecture series, featuring doctors Mary Bloodsowrth-Lugo and Patricia Glazebrook at the CUE speaking on pandemics. The theme of Bloodsworth-Lugo’s presentation was “Mediated Fears about Pandemics and the American Imagination,” while Glazebrook’s was “Pandemics: Lessons from the Global South.” Subjects raised in these lectures involved coronavirus, bioweapons, and anthropology. Stay up to date and join us for the next one!

Audience at lecture

Art for Social Change

Art for Social Change Feb. 17-28 Fine Arts Gallery 3

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the multi-media pieces we’ll be featuring in Art for Social Change! Expect many more, including poetry readings and musical submissions. Additional information can be found here.

Lunar New Year Celebration with Chinese Club

Chinese Club with Paper Rat Cut-Outs
Happy New Year!

On February third, the Chinese Club celebrated this Lunar New Year in the Bundy Reading Room. Festivities were led primarily by faculty member Doctor Xinmin Liu, who teaches courses on Chinese culture, language, and film. Since the Chinese Zodiac designates this year the Year of the Rat, Lili Zhang also showed participants how to make paper cut-outs resembling rats. The club read poems, made dumplings, and enjoyed plenty of food.

More pictures can be found here!


“A Nadie le Importa el Cielo Nocturno” by Maria Adare


"A Nadie le Importa el Cielo Nocturno" cover“Cuando una persona decide poner fin a una amistad, muchas veces es una decisión unilateral. La otra persona puede quedarse confundida y sin ninguna idea de lo que pasó para que termine la relación. Así fue para mí.”

“When a person decides to put an end to a friendship, it is often a one-sided decision. The other person can be left confused and without any idea what they did to dissolve the relationship. And so it was for me.”

-“A Nadie le Importa el Cielo Nocturno,” Maria Adare (with editor’s translation)

At the end of last year, former alumna Maria Adare released her first collection of all-Spanish poetry, “A Nadie le Importa el Cielo Nocturno.” Graduating in 1979 from the Department of Foreign Language and Culture (known now as the School of Language, Culture, and Race), Adare’s time at WSU and experiences abroad have culminated into a series of simple but haunting reflections on the many quiet ways a soul can transform. 

Maria Adare“WSU was certainly the springboard for my life abroad and my love for languages and cultures. While at WSU, I was a student and then a teaching assistant in Thompson Hall. As a double major in French and Spanish, I was anxious to use my skills by living in countries where those languages are spoken and to immerse myself in those cultures. Having been lucky enough to live for many years in Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Japan, it has truly been a dream come true.

Always working with words, changing languages and writing whenever possible, I suddenly found myself with a cache of letters/poems. With friendly encouragement, I decided to finally do something with them and not just leave them forever in my computer. That is how the book came about. It is a true labor of love in all of its forms, from the ideas, feelings, word selection, verb tenses, and every accent mark, it was a wonderful project to complete. It felt like I was back at WSU using my dictionaries and having project deadlines. Really a fun challenge.

I hope you read the book and can relate to the spirit in which it was written, feelings I think all humans have at one time or another, and appreciate the intent to convey those feelings. Go Cougs!”

Adare’s work is available on Amazon in both digital and paperback format at Amazon here.

Searching for La Belle Dame

French Professor at the Washington State University Vancouver campus, Joan Grenier-Winther,  has made the news at WSU Insider for some recent research on the Clumber Park Chartier. This is an old manuscript containing fifteenth-century poems by Alain Chartier and others. The article published by the WSU Insider elucidates the search Grenier-Winther went on, and what she found. Read all about it here.

Joan Grenier-Winther stands outside the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library near a construction barricade decorated with some of the Library’s holdings—including an image from the Clumber Park Chartier.

MLK 2020 Art for Social Change Competition

photo of flyer for event. Follow the link in the article for all the details

The annual Art for Social Change competition is approaching. Submissions for the contest in various forms including visual artwork, literary artwork, and mixed-media/multimedia will be accepted through January 20th. You may bring your submissions of art that provoke, challenge, and inspire social justice and honor the memory of Martin Luther King and others who have played an integral role in the Civil Rights Movement. There are four categories to enter, and many different ways to express yourself.

Submissions may be turned into our office in 110 Thompson Hall. See the guidelines for submissions and all other information here on our website. Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

Latinx Heritage Month 2019

From September 13th through October 15th, various activities happened at WSU to celebrate Canciones de Harmonia (Songs of Harmony)- the theme of this month. It all kicked off with a soccer match- including a processional to the game against University of Michigan.

photo collage of the processional and soccer game

On the 16th of September, there was a Latinx Heritage Month kick-off celebration on the Terrell Library Plaza for a couple of hours at noon. There was music and dancing. Various groups set up tables- including our own School of Languages, Cultures, and Race. Tom and Sherley were there to represent.


Other activities occurred throughout the month including lectures, movie night- featuring “Mambo Kings,” Spanish board game night. It all culminated in a meet and greet on October 15th with the Chicanx Latinx Faculty Staff Association and Allies(CLFSAA).



WSU Indian Students Association Presents India Night

On the 27th of October, the WSU Indian Students Association hosted approximately 400 people for the annual India Night in the Gladish Cultural and Community Center. It was an evening of entertainment, food, and education on Indian culture and tradition. This evening was special as it happened to coincide with the first night of Diwali– the Hindu Festival of Lights.

The evening began with the National Anthem for both India and the United States. Diya(candles) were lit in a ceremony  by the  ISA faculty advisers, Dr. Susmita Bose and Dr. Amit Bandyopadhyay. Dances- both contemporary and classic were performed, as well as skits and singing throughout the evening.  Dinner consisted of catered food by a restaurant all the way from Kennewick, WA. Vegetarian and non vegetarian appetizers and food like Chana Masala and Tandoori chicken were served. Desert consisted of Kheer(rice pudding) and Gulab Jamun. More performances followed dinner, and then they closed with a raffle drawing for gift cards. What a wonderful night full of culture and joy!

Diya(candle) lighting
Diya Lighting


Performers of the Indian National Anthem
Performers of the Indian National Anthem

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School of Languages, Cultures, and Race Welcomes new Professor

Lili ZhangLili Zhang joined us in late September from the Confuscious Institute in China, where she was a guest teacher. She comes from the College of International Education, Wenzhou University, in Zhejiang Province, China.  Lili is a member of The Paper-cutting Art Professional Committee of China, and a certified Inheritor of paper-cutting of intangible cultural heritage in Wenzhou City. She has taught Chinese Language to international students for more than ten years. Her course of Chinese Folk Customs Art and Practice is the most popular course among students.  She also spent two years working in Thailand, and two years in Mexico.


Examples of Lili's paper cutting