PNCA Press Center

Author Rebecca Solnit to Deliver 2013 Alfred Edelman Lecture at PNCA

Release date: 03/12/13

March 12, 2013

Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971 255 5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971 255 5511

Author Rebecca Solnit to Deliver 2013 Alfred Edelman Lecture at PNCA

PORTLAND, OR – March 12, 2013 – Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in collaboration with Oregon Humanities is honored to welcome celebrated author, activist, and cultural historian Rebecca Solnit who will deliver the 2013 Alfred Edelman Lecture on Wednesday, April 3, 6:30 pm.

Solnit will deliver a lecture entitled On Getting Lost and What you Find There: Uses of the Unknown for Artists and Explorers, drawing from ideas in several of her recent books: A Paradise Built in Hell, which addressed the way individuals rally for good in the face of disasters, and Field Guide to Getting Lost, on wandering, being lost, and the generative qualities of the unknown.

“If you tell people that they can’t change anything, then it’s safe for them to go home and watch sitcoms,” Solnit has said. “But if you tell people they’re responsible for what the world is like, they have to do something.” The something Solnit has chosen to do, a kind of writing that is as beautiful as it is fierce, has resulted in 13 books that cover a broad terrain that has included art, politics, walking, our relationship to landscape, and hope. She made the above statement regarding Hope in the Dark, her response to the bombing of Iraq.

The annual Edelman lecture is one of PNCA’s four Cornerstone Lectures which also include the College’s Convocation Address at the start of the academic year, the Homecoming Lecture during Alumni weekend, and the Commencement Address given at graduation in May. For the Edelman lecture, PNCA annually welcomes a speaker from outside the world of visual arts to leaven conversation and inspire new thinking.

“I have realized that the purpose of activism and art, or at least of mine, is to make a world in which people are producers of meaning, not consumers.” Solnit says. “And that is connected to the politics of hope.”

About Rebecca Solnit
San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit is the author of thirteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. They include Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, a book of 22 maps and nearly 30 collaborators; last year’s A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, and many others, including Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender and Art; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). She has worked with climate change, Native American land rights, antinuclear, human rights, antiwar and other issues as an activist and journalist. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper’s and frequent contributor to the political site and has made her living as an independent writer since 1988.

About The Alfred Edelman Lecture

When the late Portland architect and photographer, Alfred Edelman, taught three-dimensional design at PNCA he challenged his students to consider the principles of engineering, kinetics, physics and other subjects seemingly dissimilar to art. In doing so he brought the outside world into his classroom. Founded by Carol Edelman, the Alfred Edelman Lecture was created to enhance the student’s understanding of the visual world by presenting timeless and/or unique ways to examine and manipulate three-dimensional space; and to be a catalyst for lively discussions in the classroom at PNCA.

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
As Oregon’s flagship college of art and design since 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape Oregon’s visual arts landscape for more than a century. PNCA students study with award-winning faculty in small classes. In the last seven years, PNCA has doubled both the student body and full-time faculty, quadrupled its endowment, and added innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. PNCA is now embarking on its boldest venture yet by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Focusing on the transformative power of creativity, the capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, was launched in June 2012 with a lead gift from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million. PNCA’s new home will be a bustling hub for creativity and entrepreneurship, reflecting the influential role of art and design in our 21st century economy – both in Portland and beyond. For more information, visit

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