Best known for giving space to small business owners and artists to sell or display their work, Our Campus, Our Canvas (OCOC) is an event focused on uplifting marginalized communities at UP.
On Oct. 7, during the overlap between Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) and LGBT History Month (October), UP will be holding its second annual OCOC event.
“The whole reason we even started this was just to promote intersectionality and to support QTBIPOC artists,” August Stone, president of Gender and Sexuality Partnership, said. “That is the most important thing about this event: supporting those students, faculty and alumni. It's called Our Campus, Our Canvas, because it's supposed to be our campus.”
The event was hosted by Gender and Sexuality Partnership (GSP) and Latinx Student Union (LSU) last year. This year, the event has expanded to include four more cultural clubs: Filipino American Student Association (FASA), Japanese Student Association (JSA), Native American Alliance (NAA) and Vietnamese Student Association (VSA). The event is also supported by Diversity and Inclusion Programs (DIP).
“All these clubs have contributed so much of their time and their energy,” Chivon Ou, director of diversity and inclusion for GSP, said. “I just love seeing the community come together for something that is entirely about centering the student voices that are often not represented and giving them that chance to share something that they cherish about their identity.”
OCOC is returning to UP with a new pool of sellers and artists from our community hoping to gain support and awareness for their craft.
The message behind OCOC
OCOC’s focus on intersectionality is one of the defining features of the event.
“This market represents the intersectionality between queer communities, communities of color and minority communities,” Ou said. “Many students here on campus don't identify with just one of these clubs.”
With such a large collaboration of clubs involved, OCOC has made tremendous efforts in outreach this year to continue expanding and giving student sellers a voice on campus.
“I'm just very excited to see it grow more compared to last year,” Karla Rivas, president of LSU, said. “You know, because we put so much effort; there's so many details behind events that people would never think about. Also, just seeing people being willing to participate and collaborate with you. I think that's like the most rewarding part of it.”
Preparing for the event has been a lot of fun for all involved. Ou is coordinating the event this year, working with student leaders to find vendors and plan the event.
OCOC is accepting vendors up to Sept. 30, through their Artist/Vendor Submission Form.
Some of the vendors this year include Mai PNW Prints, August Tannouri and Jordan Ducree.
Mai PNW Prints
Created by UP students Tammy Nguyen, Jessica Trinh and Steven Tran, Mai PNW Prints is a sticker business born out of boredom during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As individual artists, Nguyen, Trinh and Tran found a way to express themselves and harness their collective passion into Mai PNW Prints.
“Most of the history of art has been dominated by the white community,” Nguyen said. “And so with this event, I think it's special because it focuses on art from the marginalized. I feel like in the Asian community, art is kind of looked down upon. This event helps showcase how special art is and how anyone can do it.”
In honor of the Vietnamese mai flower and their Pacific Northwest home, their business name incorporates their roots in both locations.
Their sticker designs are influenced by pop culture, trends and Vietnamese culture.
“It's really special to see students walking around with our tote bags or with our stickers on their laptops or water bottles,” said Trinh. “That's like my favorite thing to see. It's really cool.”
UP alum, August Tannouri, is another vendor participating in OCOC for his second year in a row.
Inspired by everything crochet, Tannouri is excited to present his crochet animals, hats and more.
“I'm going to make mostly plushies since I realized last time around that a lot of people out there enjoyed them,” said Tannouri. “Last year I made bees and they had stripes of the different pride flags and like everyone seemed to enjoy that a lot. So I was thinking about doing something sort of similar but maybe a little bit more Halloween themed.”
Aware of the financial issues small businesses face today, Tannouri is grateful for the opportunity to be a vendor this year.
“From the standpoint of marginalized communities, it's really hard to set up a business and make a website,” Tannouri said. “So I think for UP to be able to do it, especially for its students - I think that's wonderful.”
You can check out Tannouri’s crochet creations on his instagram page @king.of.the.crafts.
Miniaturist and sculptor Jordan Ducree’s art expression of choice at the OCOC event is miniature food and space-themed jewelry.
Specializing in stylized handmade earrings, Ducree’s work is both unique and wearable.
“I've always been a person that really likes statement pieces,” Ducree said. “So I got to combine my love of the statement piece and my love of miniatures with the wearable sculpture thing.”
Ducree’s passion for art also extends beyond crafting.
“Something that I'm really passionate about is making the arts more equitable and accessible for both marginalized communities to participate in and access,” Ducree said. “There's a lot of voices that are really unique and people doing really cool stuff that just doesn't get exposed to a lot of people.”
Ducree’s art has garnered its own aesthetic that lives within her fantasy-artist persona.
“I create art under an art persona: Queen Jordan of Jupiter,” said Ducree. “I had this persona of being exiled from Jupiter to come down to earth and make art to pass the time until I can go back. And so that kind of also influences my fantastical space aesthetic. That’s just what I've been excited about. It's just food and aliens and stars and planets. So that's just what I'm gonna sell. I love it.”
You can find Jordan’s pieces listed on her depop while availability lasts.
Find these sellers and more at OCOC Oct. 7 on the Pilot House Plaza from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Chiara Profenna is the DEI editor of The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.