Best known for giving space to small business owners and artists to sell or exhibit their work, Our Campus, Our Canvas (OCOC) is an event focused on building up marginalized communities at UP.
On October 7, during the overlap between Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) and LGBT History Month (October), UP will host its second annual OCOC event.
“The reason we even started this was just to promote intersectionality and support QTBIPOC artists,” said August Stone, president of Gender and Sexuality Partnership. “That’s the most important thing about this event: supporting these students, faculty and alumni. It’s called Our Campus, Our Canvas, because it’s meant to be our campus.
The event was organized by Gender and Sexuality Partnership (GSP) and Latinx Student Union (LSU) last year. This year, the event has expanded to include four other cultural clubs: the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), the Japanese Student Association (JSA), the Native American Alliance (NAA), and the Association of Vietnamese students (VSA). The event is also supported by Diversity and Inclusion Programs (DIP).
“All of these clubs have given so much of their time and energy,” said Chivon Ou, director of diversity and inclusion for GSP. “I love seeing the community come together for something that is all about centering the voices of students who are often unrepresented and giving them that chance to share something they cherish about who they are.”
OCOC returns to UP with a new group of vendors and artists from our community in hopes of gaining support and exposure for their craft.
The message behind OCOC
The COOC’s emphasis on intersectionality is one of the defining characteristics of the event.
“This market represents the intersectionality between queer communities, communities of color and minority communities,” Ou said. “A lot of students here on campus don’t identify with just one of these clubs.”
With such collaboration of clubs involved, OCOC has made tremendous outreach efforts this year to continue to grow and give voice to student sellers on campus.
“I’m just really excited to see it grow more than last year,” said Karla Rivas, president of LSU. “You know, because we put in so much effort; there are so many details behind the events that people would never think about. Plus, it’s enough to see people willing to participate and collaborate with you. I think that’s like the most rewarding part.
Preparing for the event was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Ou is coordinating the event this year, working with student leaders to source vendors and plan the event.
OCOC is accepting vendors until September 30, through their Artist/Vendor Submission Form.
Some of this year’s vendors include Mai PNW Prints, August Tannouri and Jordan Ducree.
May PNW Prints
Created by UP students Tammy Nguyen, Jessica Trinh and Steven Tran, May PNW Prints is a sticker company born out of boredom during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As individual artists, Nguyen, Trinh and Tran have found a way to express themselves and harness their collective passion in Mai PNW Prints.
“Most of art history has been dominated by the white community,” Nguyen said. “And so with this event, I think it’s special because it focuses on the art of the marginalized. I feel like in the Asian community, art is looked down upon a bit. This event helps show how special art is and how anyone can do it.
In honor of the Vietnamese mayflower and their Pacific Northwest home, their trade name incorporates their roots in both places.
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,” Trinh said. “It’s like what I prefer to see. It’s really cool.”
UP alum, August Tannouri, is another vendor participating in OCOC for its second consecutive year.
Inspired by all things crochet, Tannouri is thrilled to showcase her crochet animals, hats and more.
“I’m mostly going to do stuffed animals since I realized last time a lot of people liked them,” Tannouri said. “Last year I made bees and they had stripes of the different pride flags and since everyone seemed to enjoy that a lot. So I was thinking of doing something similar but maybe a bit more themed of Halloween.
Aware of the financial challenges small businesses face today, Tannouri is grateful to have the opportunity to be a salesperson this year.
“From the perspective of marginalized communities, it’s really difficult to start a business and build a website,” Tannouri said. “So I think UP can do that, especially for their students – I think that’s wonderful.”
You can discover Tannouri’s crochet creations on her instagram page @king.of.craftsmanship.
Miniaturist and sculptor Jordan Ducree’s favorite artistic expression at the OCOC event is space-themed miniature food and jewelry.
Specializing in stylized handmade earrings, Ducree’s work is both unique and wearable.
“I’ve always been a person who really loves statement pieces,” Ducree said. “So I was able to combine my love of the centerpiece and my love of miniatures with portable sculpture.”
Ducree’s passion for art also extends beyond craftsmanship.
“Something that I’m really passionate about is making the arts more equitable and accessible for both marginalized communities to participate and access,” Ducree said. “There are a lot of voices that are really unique and people doing really cool things that just aren’t exposed to a lot of people.”
Ducree’s art has acquired its own aesthetic which lives on in his personality as a fantasy artist.
“I create art under an artistic persona: Queen Jordan of Jupiter,” Ducree said. “I had this personality of being exiled from Jupiter to come down to earth and make art to pass the time until I could go back. And so that kind of influences my spatial fantasy aesthetic as well. That’s just what got me excited. It’s just food and aliens and stars and planets. So that’s what I’m going to sell. I love it.”
You can find Jordan’s parts listed on her dust off as long as availability lasts.
Find these vendors and more at OCOC on October 7 in 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 [email protected].