Engaging The Muse: A Panel Discussion

We are honored and excited to have the following artists on our panel for our February PPF Presentation

Andrea Hollander - Poet

Andrea Hollander moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2011, after many years in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, where she ran a bed & breakfast for 15 years and served as the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College for 22. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals, college textbooks, and anthologies, including most recently, The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy, edited by John Brehm, and containing the work of such classic writers as Shakespeare, Basho, and Neruda, alongside contemporary poets.

Hollander's 5th individual full-length poetry collection will be released by Autumn House in September 2018. Her 4th was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her 1st won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Among her many other honors are the 2017 Vern Rutsala Award, a 2013 Oregon Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts. 

Laura Valenti - Photographer

Laura Valenti is the founder of Light Atlas Creative. Light Atlas exists to help photographers transform their vision and lead vibrant, skillful, wholehearted creative lives. She teaches richly interactive online courses, works with emerging photographers in her creative mentoring program, presents lectures to photo groups, and curates exhibitions for galleries and festivals around the world.  

Her teaching centers on clearing creative blocks and cultivating the insight and confidence necessary to make deeply authentic personal work. She is passionate about helping photographers become visionary artists.  Laura has spent twenty years in the art world as a photographer, curator, arts director, and educator. Recent curatorial projects include shows at PhotoPlace Gallery, LightBox Photographic, Center for Fine-Art Photography, Photographic Resource Center, RayKo Photo Center, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Lishui International Photography Festival (China).

Fred Swan - Painter

Artist, author, editor in chief of AIR Gallery Ezine, father, really long-time married man who died a few years ago and after forty minutes of CPR came back with some changed ideas about loving, living, and ways of shredding the doubts and fears that keep us from becoming the creative and confident individuals we were born to be. Fred spends his days working as an artist. 

Educationally he has a Master's degree in Social Work and studied art and design during his undergraduate years.  While his career focused on the field of child welfare - specifically the issues of child abuse and neglect and the treatment of loss and grief issues - he has pursued, over the course of his life, his interests as an artist and a writer.  Fred is a founder and curator of AIR Gallery, an on-line gallery.

Ray Bidegain - Panel Moderator

After a long commercial career working as a black and white photographer, Ray discovered the beauty of the platinum print and began to teach himself this art over 10 years ago. He was drawn to the older alternative photo processes because of the hand made nature of the work and its inherent beauty. 

"I find peace in my photographs, and mostly photograph things that present themselves voluntarily into my life." The images serve as visual reminders of moments and feelings he has experienced, signifying both the passage of time and the reverberation of consistency in all of our lives. 

Ray began teaching platinum printing workshops 13 years ago and enjoys the personal interaction with his students. He now teaches workshops on a variety of other photographic topics and he has been a influential board member and past president of the Portland Photographers Forum.