Lewis & Clark’s student art center, the Platteau, is located in Platt-Howard Hall and is home to a plethora of art supplies, a ceramics studio, music practice rooms and more. Like everything else this year, the Platteau has had to reorganize in order to accommodate LC’s COVID-19 restrictions on room capacities.
The student managers of the Platteau this year are Nico Flores ’22, Sam Flores ’23 and Millie Robson ’21. Throughout the week, each manager holds office hours, which can be found on their Google Calendar, during which students can come in to work on art or schoolwork, use specific resources or just hang out.
Last fall, the student managers worked on revamping the Platteau’s presence on social media, especially Instagram, and cleaning up the space.
“There were definitely some messes in there, a lot of junk,” Robson said. “I think things just find their way to the Platteau, and we were like alright, let’s start working on this space, put up signs, bring it up to date a bit.”
In previous years, the Platteau has been free to residents of Platt Hall living in the Visual and Performing Arts Living Learning Community. Students living in other dorms could pay $10 for swipe access to the Platteau, and this fee went towards paying for materials. This year, access to the Platteau is free to all students. They now receive funding from SAAB, which goes toward supplies and allows access to the space to be free.
“We decided we want to be free, especially now, and open for anyone who wants to come in,” Robson said. “But we also really care about COVID guidelines so we were like, let’s have it only be open when the managers are in the space, so we can hold people accountable to cleaning up, wearing masks.”
So far this year, the Platteau has partnered with Gagged, LC’s student-run drag group, to put on a virtual drag show, and with the Feminist Student Union to provide sanitary products in the space. In addition, they have created a form where students can submit feedback or suggestions for ways the Platteau could use their budget. This form can be found in the Platteau’s Linktree.
“Something that I love about the Platteau is that we have an ability through our budget to access mediums that are harder to access on your own,” Nico Flores said. “I want people to know that we have a lot of flexibility in the things that we can do in this space, and if you have an idea that you want to see and you reach out to us, we can easily make things happen.”
Nico Flores is hoping to introduce jewelry making and leather working to the Platteau in the future. In addition, they hope to continue to collaborate with other student organizations on campus, in order to host virtual events that are inclusive of the entire LC community and that support artists who are part of marginalized groups. Sam Flores described the Platteau as “both an organization and a space.”
The managers emphasized that the Platteau is an open, welcoming place for all members of the LC community, regardless of artistic ability.
“If you like art, this is your space,” Sam Flores said. “If you don’t like art, come learn about it and we’ll make you excited about it.”
You can find the Platteau on Instagram, @theplatteau, learn more at their Linktree, linktr.ee/Platteau_Art_Center and contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.