The fifth annual MENSCH Festival promises to be the largest and most diverse platform of art displays since its beginning. The festival is confirmed to include artwork from at least two major artistic organizations from Portland, three Pacific students and psychology professor Dawn Salgado, as well as various submissions from the community of Forest Grove.

“The variety of artwork this year is really exciting. We’ve got weaved baskets and metal work from Portland as well as paintings, sketches and so much more. We really made an effort to advertise to Portland artists and groups this year in hopes of expanding the festival to where it has never gone before,” said co-project coordinator Kiersten Lwai.

Funded by the Center for Gender Equity, the MENSCH Festival is designed to promote gender equity and will be awarding cash prizes to the three pieces that best embody the “Gendered Art” theme, although including that theme in submitted artwork is not mandatory to be featured in the festival. Student Project coordinators Lwai and Katrina Lungren also wanted to make sure the night will be a light and fun way to kick off the more serious events CGE will put on in the future.

Since its founding five years ago, the MENSCH Festival has grown exponentially and has expanded from a minutely student body event to a bridge to the surrounding communities as well.

“Three years ago, the festival was held in the U.C. and only students could go. Now both the Forest Grove and Portland communities are included. I think that’s really important because we want the people in Forest Grove to feel connected to this school because so many of the things we do are exclusively for Pacific students and this helps build that connection,” said Lungren.

The festival will begin at 5 p.m. when people attending will get a chance to view the artwork, speak with the artists, and enjoy a DJ and food. At 5:30, Lwai will give an introduction to CGE, announce the art contest and introduce the first band. Three bands will be featured in the festival, including Alma Desnuda for the second consecutive year. In between each performance, a speaker from CGE will speak to the audience about gender equity and some of the services CGE provides. Featured artists will also take the platform throughout the night to speak about their artwork personally. Finally, at the conclusion of the festival the audience will vote on their top choices of pieces that embody the theme and a winner will be chosen.

“Our goal for the night is to raise awareness and to have a lot of fun. There will be free food, dancing and ice cream for the whole community to come out and enjoy,” said Lwai.

The festival will be held on the East Lawn from 5 to 10 p.m. and admission is free of charge, although it is suggested that attendees bring one unused toiletry item to donate to the Council for Prostitution Alternatives.

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