SPSCC Artist and Lecture Series presents new line-up of of speakers

The SPSCC Artist and Lecture Series will welcome poet, author, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie to the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Main Stage on Nov. 13.

Alexie has been a driving force in the slam-poetry scene for well over two decades, focusing on the hardships of the Native-American experience and drawing heavily from his observations growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Among his many achievements, Alexie wrote the screenplay for “Smoke Signals,” which was the first film ever to feature an all Native-American cast. The film was largely an amalgamation of events drawn from his body of work, mostly from his short story collection “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” upon which the screenplay was based.

Alexie will be speaking from his book,“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,” a semi-autobiographical young adult novel about an aspiring 14-year-old cartoonist growing up on the reservation.

Last month, the new year of the Artist and Lecture series kicked off with author, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki, who spoke from her book “A Tale for the Time Being,” a novel powerfully told in shifting narrative between a troubled 16-year-old girl in Tokyo and the writer who finds her diary on the shores of a small Canadian island.

According to Kelly Braseth, the Dean of College Telations at SPSCC, the Series was restarted when current SPSCC President Dr. Stokes was hired.

“The 2013-2014 school year, we relaunched it,” said Braseth, “Due to the important civil rights anniversaries, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in August and the 60th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education, we decided that that year’s series would be focused on diversity.”

When asked about the goal of The Artist and Lecture series, Braseth said, “It’s about making connections and building relations with members of the community and making them know they can feel welcome here.”

Last year, the Series was able to bring in notable figures including poet and activist Nikki Giovani and the Ailey II dance company to our campus. Several of the events sold out, attracting students and community members alike.

Alexie’s lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. Though it is also sold out, tickets may become available at the door. Copies of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” are now available at the campus bookstore.

All Artist and Lecture Series events are free to SPSCC students, faculty and staff. Tickets for the Series can be bought online at olytix.org or through phone by calling The Washington Center for the Performing Arts at 360-753-8586.

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