Panels on Racial Equity and Culture

Eugene Contemporary Art is pleased to present two moderated panel discussions as part of its A Critical Conversation programming on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Co-moderators Beth Robinson-Hartpence and Megan Malone will host panel discussions with selected community members in a conversation that explores questions of racial equity and culture. The panel discussions will be live streamed on the Eugene Contemporary Art YouTube channel. 

Panel #1 on Friday, February 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. 

Panelists include Eric Richardson, Executive Director at Lane County NAACP, along with poet Carter McKenzie and artist Gregory S. Black, both of whom have work included in A Critical Conversation. This panel will examine appropriation in contrast to the possibility of shared meanings, and how the community work and artwork of the panelists supports engaging with questions of racial justice.

Panel #2 on Saturday, February 20, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Panelists include A Critical Conversation’s artist William Rutherford and poet and scholar Ana-Maurine Lara, as well as Javier L. Bonnin, Career Instructor in the Department of Architecture School of Architecture and Environment at the University of Oregon. They will discuss space in relation to ownership and shared spaces, reclaiming space, and healing through art after navigating environments that are often violent and aggressive.

About the Moderators

Beth Robinson-Hartpence

Before finishing a BFA degree from Oregon College of Art and Craft as a Ford Restart Scholar, Beth Robinson-Hartpence was a certified picture framer and paper restorer for 14 years. In 2007, she was awarded an opportunity with the University of Georgia to live and travel through Italy studying the conservation of books and art as a conflict dispute resolution and grief reconciliation tool during the Renaissance. Her artwork on grief had been celebrated in the public view for over ten years in both the United States and Europe. Showing this artwork led to a master’s program at the University of Oregon Law School in Conflict and Dispute Resolution and then working as a private practice mediator, facilitator, and conflict/grief coach. She works with grievers and their companions to find alternate ways of expressing grief and mourning during disputes. Since graduating law school and finishing her training as a grief recovery specialist, she has facilitated over 300 restorative justice groups for youth offenders and their caregivers, Courageous Kids and their caregivers, sexual assault survivors, mediation clients, grief topics for artists and several one-on-one clients. She presented a TedX talk on art, generational grief, and reconciliation. Also, she cares for cultural property as a paper conservator and museum technician for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon, and is continually restoring a Chandler and Price Letterpress machine.

Megan E. Malone (she/her)

What would you like to know about her? Megan holds two master’s, one in conflict and dispute resolution and the other education—she is currently working on getting licensed in social work. Megan currently works at the University of Wisconsin school of medicine and public health as a learning specialist for the medical students. In her previous careers Megan worked as a learning specialist for division I athletes and as a youth care counselor in a therapeutic home. Megan is a transracial adoptee who is working on decolonizing and reclaiming her history and her livelihood.

About the Panelists

Eric Richardson

Richardson has a long history of social activism in Lane County. Growing up in Eugene, his family lived by and practiced the idea of holding African cultural value and dignity. Eric has had a lifelong love of history and community and works to facilitate conversations on identity and cultural inclusion. Richardson’s father worked for KLCC community radio throughout the 1970s and 80s, and also spearheaded the development of a culturally inclusive academic curriculum in Oregon school districts. Eric’s rich cultural background put him and his family in the center of social life for minorities in Lane County. He has built on these relationships and the legacy of his parents’. Richardson now works with the local branch of the NAACP developing a strong cultural presence and spearheading the NAACP’s new engagement with the historic Mims property.

During his 4 years in the Oregon Army National Guard, Richardson married his wife of 30 years Tamara and has helped raise their five children, three of whom are graduates of the University of Oregon. Highlights of Eric’s activities include his work as Multicultural Program Coordinator for Lane Community College student government, Early Board Member/Musician at the Jazz Station, and founder of the Invisible Arts Project. Eric currently serves on the boards of United Way Lane County and the City Club of Eugene and Habitat for Humanity Oregon. Richardson is a leader who articulates unapologetically the cultural needs of Lane’s diverse population. As the new Executive Director of the Eugene/Springfield NAACP, Richardson has seen the branch grow and recently added additional paid positions adding real baseline value to the organization and community.

Gregory S. Black

Gregory S. Black pushes the Black Lives Matter Movement forward using film. All film is propaganda revealing facts and information about the human condition. Artists interpret, absorb and re-emit perspectives outside of the 6-sided box that most live within. As a filmmaker and photographer he connects the past, present and future thru visual mediums and seeks emotional responses about the Black Human Condition. Interviews and documentaries of systematic racism around education, employment and housing are currently being archived within the libraries of Oregon State University, University of Oregon and The Oregon Black Pioneers Museum where they can be researched, understood and never forgotten.

William Rutherford

William Rutherford’s work is his connection with the world outside of the context of his insular life. He has sculpted and drawn as long as he can remember, although he had no role models, no mentors for fine art. Portland, Oregon, where he was born and raised, was a very segregated place. Rutherford is an African American, raised by political activists, who fought the freedom wars, all of their lives. His work has been represented by numerous galleries in both Oregon and California.

Carter McKenzie

Carter McKenzie is the author of the chapbook Naming Departure (Traprock Books, 2004) and two full length books of poetry, Out of Refusal (Airlie Press, 2010) and Stem of Us (Flowstone Press, 2018). From 2015 through the spring of 2020, she co-hosted the Springfield Poetry Series at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon. For the past 15 years, she has taught poetry classes through private sessions, summer literature camps, school residencies, and after-school programs, as well as offered workshops through Oregon Poetry Association conferences. She is an active member of the Springfield-Eugene Chapter of the national organization SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).

Ana-Maurine Lara

Ana-Maurine Lara (PhD) is a national award-winning novelist and poet, and a scholar. She is the author of: Erzulie’s Skirt (RedBone Press, 2006), When the Sun Once Again Sang to the People (KRK Ediciones, 2011), Watermarks and Tree Rings (Tanama Press, 2011)Kohnjehr Woman (RedBone Press, 2017), Cantos (letterpress, limited edition 2015), and Sum of Parts (Tanama Press, 2019). Her academic books include: Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty (SUNY Press, 2020) and Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Lara’s work focuses on questions of black and indigenous people and freedom. She has been published in literary journals (Sable LitMag, Transitions Literary Journal), scholarly journals (Small Axe, Bilingual Revue, Sargasso, Feminist Review) and numerous anthologies, as a scholar and as a creative writer. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Javier L. Bonnin

Javier L. Bonnin is a registered architect, independent curator, writer, art historian, and Career Instructor in the Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Environment at the University of Oregon.