By Cassie Broadwin /// Photo Editor
Arriving in the fall as a freshman, ambitious to discover what lies in every nook of Lewis & Clark, it’s surprising how easy it is for any student to adjust and settle into a comfort zone. One often overlooks aspects of campus, presented briefly on a prospie tour, that lie outside of the usual stomping grounds.
Nestled between Platt and Howard, the Platteau seems to be a forgotten treasure-trove on campus. Equipped with a full ceramics studio, photography lab, screen printing stations, private dance studio, soundproof music space, drafting tables and even a fireplace, this student-run art studio offers an outlet for any creative type.
Sitting down with Platteau General Manager, Neal Rock (‘17), I hoped to better understand the allure of the Platteau and its innerworkings.
Piolog: What makes the Platteau, the Platteau?
Neal Rock: The Platteau is a creative outlet. You don’t have to be an art person to come work here. You don’t need to be registered in an art class. My first semester, I wasn’t connected to the arts at all, but I would come to paint here all the time — it’s very hard to do art in a dorm room, and here, you have your space.
That’s our main goal, to provide that space for students to put as much time as they like into their work, and support them throughout the process. We don’t really know where that situates us between the clubs and organizations on campus — ultimately we’re more of a service.
PioLog: Whats new about the Platteau as of late?
Neal Rock: A year or two ago, the Platteau decided it was due for a revamp. Unfortunately, the idea came about because the space was being misused by members, materials were being mistreated. We tore up all of the old linoleum flooring and literally started from the bottom up. We dropped our membership price from $30.00 to $5.00/semester, introduced new workshop classes taught by students for students, and built a Facebook page as a more effective way of reaching people. We changed our hours, which are now from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. during the week, and until midnight on the weekends. We designed a new logo, hung the old one above our mantel and started anew.
PL: What events do you currently have going on at the Platteau?
NR: Currently, our most popular event is the live drawing session that happens every other week. We alternate male and female models, provide paper, drawing boards, and charcoals, play music, and go through a series of live poses. It’s definitely an intimate event, and I think it’s important for artists to experience this kind of honesty in their work. The next will be held on March 31 at 8:30 p.m.
We’re looking into participating in First Thursday events with the City of Portland as well as hosting our own art show here at LC. On top of that, we’re excited about our upcoming workshops. We update our schedule of events on our Facebook page for everyone to see, and send notices out to members about upcoming events.
PL: What is the next step for the Platteau?
NR: I’d really like to partner with other clubs on campus. We’re a collaborative organization, and mixing with others, well, that’s how you make things happen around here.
The Platteau is something we want everyone to know about and feel welcome to use, to come to the workshops, to understand that we are here to help you explore art and explore yourself, and ultimately just have fun with it in all its different forms. We’re not some kind of exclusive club, but at the same time, the membership is a privilege— one that we’d like to extend to more people. Obviously it’s the members and collaborations that really make the Platteau. We have all the materials, but it takes people to bring it to life.