The Daily Evergreen

Time travel to the ’40s

BY ADDY FORTE | Evergreen fine arts reporter

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“Heart Mountain”: a CUB Gallery exhibit a student could live in.

SEB’s second Sketch Wednesday of the semester will include mocktails, a live disc jockey, artists working in the gallery space, and a recreated 1940s WSU residence hall room. Local artists will be in the CUB Gallery for Sketch Wednesday from noon until 2 p.m. The event is free, although patrons can buy artists work after the event, and all sales go directly to the artist.

The corresponding exhibit is a carefully arranged collection of WSU memorabilia from Japanese-American students who attended the then-college shortly after internment. Kyla Lakin, CUB Gallery curator, said they worked with WSU Manuscripts Archives and Special Collections (MASC) as well as the WSU drama department to recreate a typical WSU student’s residence hall room. A student could probably live in there, Lakin said.

“I have heard of artists at large museums that have lived in a gallery space as a performance art,” she said. “So I assume it could be done.”

Steve Bingo, processing archivist at WSU MASC, said Lakin did a marvelous job taking all the precautions needed when handling artifacts.

Bingo said a student might think it’s funny to run around saying, ‘“Hey, look at me, I’m wearing a Coug sweater from 1946,’” but they’re actually all very delicate antique pieces.

A sweater and pennant belonging to Tom Hide, a Japanese-American student from the time, will be on display, Bingo said. Internees were assigned family numbers when they entered the camps, Bingo said, and those are present on some of the WSC students’ bags and luggage. He said the photography equipment of Frank Hirahara, another internee and WSC student, will also be on display.

Trevor Bond, head of MASC, said the department typically keeps documents and photographs, and only a handful of WSC and WSU artifacts are kept.

“The Hirahara collection is somewhat unusual in that the donor gave us both the photographs but then also the camera equipment,” Bond said. “So it’s not something we generally collect, but in this case the collection was so important that the artifacts kind of informed the other items.”

Lakin said “Heart Mountain” was challenging in coordinating all of the different departments and donations involved in the exhibit.

“One of the things that I love about pennants in this context is when you look at a lot of the Hirahara photos of the interior of the barracks,” Bingo said, “there’s pennants in a lot of the barracks. They were just used as common decoration.”

Although Bingo said he can’t confirm it, he but he likes to think the pennant was once hung in Tom Hide’s barracks. Only artifacts in the best condition were considered for the exhibit, Bingo said. Tom Hide’s sweat-stained track pants will not be displayed.

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Time travel to the ’40s