PNCA Alum Gives TED Talk


Roxanne McGovern '06 delivers a TED Talk about the healing potential of art.

In a little less than ten days, TED comes to Portland. The day-long lecture program, TEDxConcordiaUPortland is an independently organized and licensed TED event with a focus on local voices with an “Idea Worth Spreading.” Over the past handful of years, dozens of TEDx events have been organized around the world, bringing strong ideas and inspirational figures to local communities. In 18-minutes or less inspiring speakers give “talks of a lifetime” on topics as diverse as art, music, economics, religion, construction, and the environment. The event hosts 650 attendees from the Portland area (and offers discounted tickets for students and community members in the art, education, and non-profit sectors!).



“Legacy” and “Eench Besses” by Roxanne McGovern

At this year’s conference, PNCA Alumni Roxanne McGovern ’06 (Printmaking) is one of the featured speakers. She is a Portland-based printmaker whose artwork focuses on her family and Armenian heritage. Other featured speakers include author Cheryl Strayed, artist Mark Powers, and musician Stephen Kellogg.

McGovern works as the executive director at Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) and will talk about the healing power that art can bring to child and families in crisis. Often, these families never imagined their lives would take the direction they’ve gone. CHAP’s goal is to ease their displacement with programs that strengthen, encourage and inspire.

“A driving force in my life are the kids and families I work with,” McGovern says in an interview on the TEDxConcordia blog. “I get to channel my 5-year-old self every day and have learned from them to love my day-to-day life a little more.”

A little later in the blog post she says, “I have learned so much from working with terminally and chronically ill children and disabled kids. My perspective on life has changed drastically. The most important message I have gotten from these amazing kids is to really value day-to-day life and find joy in the little things.”

For McGovern, the connection between art and healing isn’t abstract. It hits very close to home:

“My grandfather was a survivor of the Armenian genocide,” McGovern explains on her website, “and for as long as I can remember, I have been hearing first hand the stories of his experiences. At the age of 97 he passed away, but my grandfather continues to inspire me daily to tell not only his story but also the stories of my family and my ancestors.”

She continues, “The artwork I make is my way of ensuring that my family and ancestors history and legacy is never forgotten.”

PNCA faculty Crystal Schenk was a featured speaker at the 2012 TEDx ConcordiaUPortland conference. Read more about McGovern on the Tedx blog and view more of her artwork on her website,


“Legacy,” by Roxanne McGovern.

by Killeen Hanson, MFA ACD '12.

— Posted on 03/15 at 05:33 PM

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