Portland State is well known for its diversity and ever expanding student population and demographics. It is reasonable then to see how the Multicultural Center was conceived and the principals used for its foundation.
The concept for the MCC came from a group of students in 1991, and since 1992 it has developed in to various forms. However, as of now it is located in the Smith building 228. It is an ideal center for events not only for educational purposes but also for cultural and social events as well. The room itself is large, with a strong and distinct feel to it. Most of us as students have trotted back and forth between buildings, rooms, and hallways. And some of us have actually gotten a peek of the MCC from across the hallway to its entrance. One can clearly see the huge space, yet it is only until one actually steps into the MCC that we are immersed into a room full of character.
Japanese art decorates the walls next to the receptionist’s desk, flags from around the wall hang with pride in the larger area inside, and posters of the civil movement with the determined faces of people wanting change bring them to life. One step back and a turn towards the podium and white board brings us in front of an enormous piece of art work. This art, this mural may in fact resonate the strongest vibe of culture and history. The Virgin Mary, Emilaino Zapata, the Aztec calendar and numerous Chicano and Mexican icons are depicted in full color.
However, recently the MCC has gone under remodeling, and all the artwork, flags, and symbols of culture and diversity have all disappeared. All that remains is the large space and the windows one can look into the streets and see the diverse student population. One has to wonder and question what has happened to all the art, will it come back? And if not will there be new art to once more bring the image of the MCC to what it once was?
The large Chicano mural has been present for years, maybe it should return and stay, or maybe a new large piece of art should take its place. This is a University of diversity and culture, and with the newly opened Casa Latina it may be unnecessary to have the large Chicano mural. Sometimes change is good, but sometimes when the change is drastic and sudden, things that are unforeseen can happen.
I am curious, and I’m sure other students are as well, if the art committee for the MCC is planning to bring back or put up new art to reestablish the character and mystique of the room. Without any symbols, images and art of the various cultures and peoples of the world, the MCC is nothing more than another dull room that students happen to pass by.