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SOU opens campus to all during fifth SOAR celebration

Drivers passing by the Southern Oregon University campus may wonder what type of educational and artistic exercises are being conducted in those hallowed halls.

On Tuesday, May 15, the public is invited to peek inside 26 departmental labs, workshops and art studios. Here, they can meet faculty and university students, see specialized equipment and learn about recent research results.

The opportunity to explore is part of the fifth annual Southern Oregon Arts & Research celebration.

During the year, these spaces are only accessible to university students, faculty and staff.

But on Tuesday, professor Sean O'Skea and Theater Arts students will offer a tour of a set and backstage spaces in the Scene Shop.

The public is also invited into the Art Ceramics Studio, which houses areas for wheel throwing and hand-building, slip-casting, glazing and kilns, and the Oregon Health & Science University Nursing Simulation Learning Center, a hospital-like space in which nursing students are tested by people acting as patients. There are even simulation mannequins.

More than 600 students will be participating in demonstration projects and presentations.

"We consider SOU to be the living room of the community, and we're inviting everyone inside," says organizer Paul T. Adalian Jr.

Parking is free during the weeklong events, and visitors who check in at the SOAR Headquarters in the Stevenson Union on Tuesday will be given a list of studios and labs that are open between 1 and 3 p.m. and 3 and 5 p.m. (not all the labs are participating in the open house).

Visitors interested in theater can check out the Costume Shop, which has industrial sewing and serging machines, industrial gravity-feed irons and a 30-gallon dye vat.

Those interested in science can enter the Geospatial Computer Lab and see its GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS and mobile mapping equipment, or the Organic Spectroscopy and Analytical Instrumentation Laboratories, which has instrumentation to characterize, separate and quantify chemical species.

The Anthropology Lab has displays and equipment that students use to analyze artifacts they excavated from a 3,000-year-old Native American coastal village and Jacksonville pioneer Peter Britt's home.

The Art Printmaking Studio provides a nontoxic work environment that includes a large preparation room, an etching area, a photo exposure area, and a press room with lithography presses, a small proofing letterpress, and three etching presses.

The Art Sculpture Studio houses a woodshop with tools and equipment that include band and table saws, a radial arm and compound miter saw, planer, jointer, drill presses and sanders. There also is a gallery, a welding shop and an enclosed courtyard that houses a metals furnace.

The Emerging Media & Digital Lab showcases an exhibition of Ashland High School students' digital photography, illustration and photo manipulation.

Jefferson Public Radio will open its three studios and offer a view of its CD library with 25,000 disks. RVTV Multimedia Center shows off its television studio, classroom, digital production gear and editing facilities.

The Hannon Library's Digital Media Gallery has student projects in digital art, video, installation and interactive multimedia.

The library's Special Collections/University Archives contain valuable Shakespeare-related publications, the Ferte Collection of first-edition Northwest Poetry and other materials of historical and research value. And the Distance Education Center develops podcasts and vodcasts.