Alumni Profile: Hunter Franks BA ’08
Hunter Franks BA ’08
Majors: Communications and art
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
What drew you to attend Lewis & Clark?
I wanted to attend a smaller school that would provide an intimate educational experience while also allowing me the opportunity to engage with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles.
How did your coursework inspire you to focus on making participatory art?
I have always been captivated by strong juxtaposition and messaging in art. Those types of works are often found in street art, as artists who possess a strong desire to convey a meaningful message disrupt public space and demand the attention of passersby.
My communications courses focused heavily on messaging and gave me a deeper understanding of how to create powerful meaning in my artwork. My studio art courses helped me translate meaning into visually powerful work. This combination of courses gave me the necessary tools to look at any challenge with a multidisciplinary approach.
Participatory art is as much a study of human behavior and social interaction as it a creative process, and having an understanding of both of those fields helps me create impactful projects.
How did your time at Lewis & Clark help instill your passion for building community and cultivate your leadership qualities?
Being surrounded by peers from all over the world gave me the opportunity to be part of a unique community. I was also able to curate events and media that worked to bring the community together. I was the manager of the Platteau, the student-run arts center, and was editor in chief of the Pioneer Log. These positions gave me a reason to interact with all of Lewis & Clark, and work to build a more connected and engaged community. Additionally, the potential to be a leader in various activities showed me that passion and hard work yield amazing results.
How has your Lewis & Clark education contributed to you seeing yourself as a citizen of a global community?
Once I graduated, I absolutely saw myself as part of a larger global network of Pioneers. Hearing stories and reading about fellow classmates and alumni doing amazing work around the world shows me that I am a citizen of a global community.
What would people who know you now be surprised to know about you when you were a student?
I think people would be surprised to learn that I played baseball when I first came to Lewis & Clark. Baseball was a huge part of my high school life, and Lewis & Clark provided me the opportunity to continue playing. I ultimately decided to pursue other activities, but to this day I am a huge supporter of Pioneer athletics.
Is there anything you’d like to say to future Lewis & Clark students?
Lewis & Clark is one of the most unique social and learning experiences you will ever have. Take advantage of it. Everyone will tell you that you have to do everything right, but you don’t. Make mistakes. Learn, and try again. Make more mistakes. Take a pottery class and an economics class. Learn a new language. Go to a football game in the afternoon, then a dance show at night. Say hi to a stranger. Make a new friend. Go to breakfast in Sellwood and dinner on Northwest 23rd. Constantly explore the landscape—the community, the academics, the activities. You won’t regret it.