Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Eight Must-See Museums in San Francisco 

Ally Romanes

The Bay Area is filled with a ton of museums. In fact, there are 55 museums just in San Francisco alone. If you’re like me, that’s an overwhelming number AND you want to see all of them! Not quite sure where to begin? Let me help! Here are eight must-see museums to get you started.  

California Academy of Sciences 

The California Academy of Sciences is one of the most popular museums in San Francisco. With an aquarium, planetarium and a natural history museum, you’ll be able to see and learn all sorts of cool things. The museum will immerse you into a four-story rain forest, a trip to see the penguins, and shows that transport you through our planet.  

Ticket prices vary due to the date you want to visit. The museum does have a student discount, so bring your school ID with you! 

For hours and admission fees, click here for more information. 

de Young Museum 

Home to modern art, contemporary art, American art, African, art and so much more. You will be able to see different kinds of art from all over the world and from different time periods. Also, a very popular Instagram spot, make sure you visit the ninth floor to enjoy a 360 view of the city. 

The best part is that admission for students is only $6! Bring your student ID, your friends, and your camera to enjoy part of your day at the de Young Museum. 

For hours and ticket purchases, visit their website

Exploratorium 

The Exploratorium is an interactive museum with over 600 exhibits to choose from. You’ll be able to learn and experience the world of science, art, and human perception. The Exploratorium also has a great view of the city from Pier 15. 

Ticket prices with student discount cost $24.95. For more information, visit their website

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

With over 33,000 modern and contemporary artworks on display, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses works by artists from all over the world. From Frida Kahlo to Andy Warhol, you will be able to explore the different artwork from different artists. There is also an outdoor sculpture garden for you to stroll through and nice views of the city. 

Tickets for students from ages 19-24 cost $19. Ages 18 and below are free but still needs an admission ticket. To purchase tickets and have more information, visit their website

Legion of Honor 

The Legion of Honor is a beautiful museum built to pay tribute to the soldiers that died in World War 1. The museum features over 4,000 years of ancient and European art. They also have public concerts on Saturday and Sundays with performances playing Bach, Gershwin, and great film scores. 

Ticket prices with student discount are only $6. For hours and information, visit their website

Museum of Ice Cream 

If you haven’t been to the Museum of Ice Cream, you need to book a visit soon! How can you miss out on a museum dedicated to ice cream? Here’s the scoop: you get free ice cream, there are ten interactive rooms with cool photo opportunities and you get to jump into a pool of sprinkles.

Tickets cost $38. To purchase tickets and get more information, visit their website.  

Asian Art Museum 

Capturing the beauty of Asian culture, the Asian Art Museum has collections of historical and contemporary Asian art to showcase. Their exhibitions are interesting and change year-round, so make sure to check their website to know what exhibits are going on when you plan to visit. 

Tickets with student discount cost $10 and $20 if you want to see the special exhibitions. To get more information about the museum, visit their website.  

The Walt Disney Family Museum

If you’re a huge Disney fan, this museum is for you. You will be able to go back into history and learn about the famous Disney stories and about Walt Disney’s life. There are lines of photos, drawings, and props used throughout many years of Disney. They also have film screenings for you to enjoy. 

Tickets with student ID cost $20 and $30 if you want to view the Mickey Mouse Exhibition Combo. To purchase tickets, visit their website

Now get out there and check these museums out! 

 

Meet Your Student Chaplain

Lorenzo Pena is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year and he’s more than happy to help you in any way you need whether it’s praying for you when you’re in need of extra help, chatting with you about your spiritual journey, or just a smiling face around campus. Lorenzo is passionate about God’s love and serving others. Here’s your chance to get to know a little about Lorenzo and next time you see him around campus, say hi! 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

My family has always instilled in me the value of serving God and to share my gifts to be a blessing to those around me. One of the most important things in life is to serve others. I wanted to be able to share the blessings God has given me with PUC in order to bring others closer to God or to walk with them on their own journeys. 

What are you responsible for as a student chaplain? 

 As a student chaplain, my most important task is to be a huge supporter of the spiritual life on campus. This means not only to help plan the big spiritual events on campus, but to also help students in their own ministry whether it be helping students start a bible study or small group, doing devotions with people, or just being a listening ear for someone going through any kind of situation. 

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

My biggest challenge as a student chaplain is I am not always able to reach people on this campus in a way that fits in with their spiritual walk, but that is perfectly fine. A person’s journey with God is unique and the ways people like to worship are different, but this is why it is important for me to be a supporter for those who are trying to fill a need or gap that they see in the spiritual life on campus. It is my job to help everyone to be able to find or access whatever it may be that enables them to grow with Christ. 

What would you like to do to strengthen spiritual life on campus? 

I would like to strengthen the spiritual community here on campus not only with the students but also with the faculty and staff. I want to have PUC be known as a safe place where anyone can feel completely comfortable sharing their life experiences and testimonies with others. Everyone deserves to have a safe place to be able to open up to others and be met with open arms. 

What advice do you have for someone that is struggling with their spiritual life? 

I have had many struggles in my spiritual life and I still have struggles in my life now, but the best thing I have found is I cannot do anything alone. It is important to know God is always with me, but even more than that, He surrounds me with so many wonderful people, including my friends, family, teachers, and a church family that are there to support me and care greatly about me. I used to think I could do everything on my own and that is just not the case. I need to be able to lean on those around me whenever I am feeling lost or alone and I need to be there for someone else to lean on whenever they need it. God puts people in our lives for a reason. 

What do you love about PUC? 

I love that PUC has so many wonderful students that are so passionate about loving God and serving others. I see this not only in the faculty, staff, and student leaders, but in all the students I see finding ways to get involved in ministry, hanging out with their friends, helping other students with studies, and so many other things. We have great people here at PUC and I am proud to be one of them. 

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley? 

My favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley is Giugnis Deli. 

What shows are you watching right now? 

The shows I am watching right now are 911, Hawaii 5-0, and Chicago Fire/Med/PD. 

What is your favorite class that you have taken at PUC? 

My favorite class I have taken at PUC was History of Western Art. 

What is your favorite weekend activity? 

My favorite weekend activity is taking a trip down to Napa and go to Target, Home Depot, and Taco Bell.

 

Faces of PUC: Nephtali Marin

Nephtali Marin has been at PUC for the past four years seeking a BFA in film and tends to leave a lasting impression on everyone he meets. While forgetting him is not likely to happen, he wanted to make sure he didn’t slip your mind while he spends the year serving as a student missionary in Brazil. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but just in case you’re starting to forget our friend Nephta, or haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him just yet, we asked him a couple of questions to help everyone get to know him better. And since he’s busy acclimating to life in a different country, try not to judge him for his short answers (even though we might just a little🤣). 

What is your dream job?

DoP (Director of Photography) for narrative films. But honestly, I’m still figuring this out …

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?

Well, I wanted to be a doctor so I’d say it’s pretty different. I probably won’t be saving lives, but hey you never know! 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

We are all equal. Whether you are a 4th year, 1st year, or faculty, I’ve never felt like there is a hierarchy. We all experience similar ups and downs which help us become close.  

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My Abuelitas house on thanksgiving. 

What show are you binge-watching right now?

My Hero Academia 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Making people laugh.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

Dolores Park in San Francisco. 

 

What I Should Be Doing: An Interview with Music Alumnus Brennan Stokes

By Becky St. Clair

Brennan Stokes graduated from Pacific Union College in 2013 with a degree in piano performance. Having discovered a love for composition while studying with Professor Asher Raboy in the department of music, Stokes chose to continue his education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2019 with a Master’s of Music in composition. Today he maintains a teaching studio in San Francisco’s Sunset District, passing on his love of music to the next generation of pianists. 

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How did you discover your love for music?

My parents are both musically inclined; they both sang in the church choir, Mom took piano lessons as a kid, and Dad plays the trumpet. They started me in piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, but there was always music in our house. I just took it and ran with it.

How did you settle on the piano?

It was the first instrument I learned, and it was a match from the start. I really liked it, and according to my teachers, I showed some promise for it, so I kept playing. Piano just made sense to me. 

How did composing become part of your musical life?

I always assumed I was going to be on one side of the page. I knew I was going to learn it, research it, analyze it, but I never considered creating it myself. When I found out I had to take a composition class for my degree, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but after our first assignment I realized how magical this process is and I fell in love with it. I continued to take classes with Professor Raboy even after the requirements were done. Creating new music was incredibly exciting for me. 

Tell us about your studio.

I teach 30-35 students a week, all between the ages of 5 and 13. My schedule is very flexible; since most kids are in school, I am relatively free during the day. I start teaching around 3 p.m. three days a week and teach until 8 p.m. I enjoy what I do. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field, teaching young musicians.

When you’re not teaching kids to create music, you create music yourself. Describe your approach to practicing.

Really, it starts slow. Paying attention to fingerings becomes essential; training my hands to do smaller tasks automatically. Then I focus on rhythm, hand by hand, figuring out what each part of the piece sounds like, then I put it all together. A valuable tool Dr. Wheeler gave me is reverse practice. If you only ever start your practice at the beginning of a piece, that’s always going to be the strong part. But if you start at the end, which is often the hardest part, you ensure the end is also strong. Then you feel even more comfortable with the piece. 

What is the difference between hearing a piece and playing it?

It’s a totally different experience to hear a piece than it is to see what the hands have to do to make the piece happen. You may feel like you know a piece after listening to it multiple times, but when you sit down to actually play it, you realize there are little rhythmic or harmonic nuances you didn’t realize were there. For example, the harmonies in some Chopin and Rachmaninoff pieces are super crunchy. It sounds like you’re playing something wrong and you check the notes three times, but that’s really what it is. You learn it, and suddenly it’s not crunchy anymore; it works. 

Aside from providing a way to make a living, how has studying music contributed positively to your life?

The last several years I’ve been getting into poetry and it has turned into a cycle of self-enrichment. I read poetry and feel like it was meant to be an art song, so I create some vocal music to go with the poem. Also, music allows me to meet really incredible people from all over the world. Music is the most universal thing; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, you can bond over music. I love how it brings people together.

Who is your favorite composer to play, and why?

I’d say Chopin and this relatively new 20th century English composer named York Bowen. Chopin changed the game for solo piano. Yes, it’s technical, but once you get it in the fingers, it becomes so fluid and so natural. There’s playfulness, there’s sadness, and the composer’s intentions are really clear. Bowen utilizes really rich harmonies and has a bit of a jazzier feeling. I don’t think he’s well known but he’s written a ton of music; in particular, his preludes and ballads feel really nice to play.

Who is your favorite composer to listen to, and why?

There are two to whom I constantly return: Ravel and Beethoven. I have yet to encounter a piece by Ravel I’m not stunned by. He was a wizard of music and his chamber and orchestra music is stunning. Every instrument’s shape and technique is magic because he thought about more than the obvious ways to use the instrument. He utilizes every aspect of shading to get different tone colors and sounds.

Beethoven takes his time with his surprises. What he did to change musical form is a reminder that if you feel like doing something, you can. He’ll pull a fortissimo out of nowhere or move through his harmonies in an unexpected way. His sonatas are really rich; one movement is fiery and passionate then another is lyrical and serene. It’s incredible to realize you don’t always have to do the same thing all the time. He reminds me to come back to things that are good and innovate. I’m still looking back to these masters and finding ways to influence my music-making process. 

What is something you want to improve about your musicianship, and what are you currently doing to move in that direction?

Right now, rhythms and the finer points of notating what I want, maintaining my ear to get the intricate harmonies I love. I constantly have to work at how I put the complicated pieces together in the way I want them. During my first year of grad school, I took a musicianship class, and it was insane but incredible. Walking out of that class, my ear was so much sharper than it had been walking in. I still use techniques from that class to keep track of what has happened in a piece and what I’m doing next. 

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely my first composition recital in November 2017—the first time I heard one of my pieces performed. I had composed two songs for mezzo soprano, violin, cello, and piano, and I was terrified. I’m so used to being in the driver’s seat, and it was terrifying to be the composer just sitting in the audience watching four other people do my music and having zero control over what happened.

It was an immense learning curve handing my music over to other musicians; what I think works initially may not actually work after a second pair of eyes looks it over, especially when I’m composing for instruments that are not my primary. I also learned that how performers interpret music is also a part of the creative process.

A lot of people came up to me afterward and said it was amazing. It was a moment when all of my fears of not being good enough vanished. To be positively received by an audience was wonderful, but for my music to be positively received by the musicians playing it was even better. It was confirmation I was doing what I should be doing.

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If you could change one thing about society’s perception of classical music, what would it be?

I wish more people understood if you have the context of 20th century music, it will make more sense. The 20th century saw a lot of horrible things happen, and that’s reflected in dissonant 20th century music. It’s not necessarily pretty to listen to, but if you understand what they’re trying to say you don’t necessarily disagree with it. It takes a moment to transcend what you’re hearing and realize what the composer is saying; for example, a minor key with shrieking strings can express how a Polish composer feels about the Holocaust. If you understand what it is they were experiencing or reacting to, it contextualizes their voice and makes the music more accessible. 

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

I read a book on performance anxiety and the author said if you don’t get nervous, if you don’t feel anxious or get a boost in energy (whether positive or negative) before a performance, it’s apathy. You don’t really care. If you’re nervous before you perform, it means you want to do a good job and perform to the best of your ability to make sure what you put out there is wonderful. That really changed my way of thinking. I’ve learned to recognize what happens to me and where my nervousness affects me the most, then find a way to adjust. I try to fully relax my body and tell myself I’m going to give a wonderful performance. I reassure myself I’ve practiced, I’m ready, and I’m a good enough musician to find my way through the performance. This is music and music is fun, and sharing it with others should be enjoyable. That nervous feeling just means I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing something that matters to me. And that’s how it should be. 

 

Fall Fest Fun

This weekend was PUC’s annual Fall Festival where the Pioneers family came together to enjoy food and fun. With booths full of things to buy, things to eat, and causes to support, Fall Fest is one event everyone looks forward to.

Here are just a few of our favorite moments.

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Members of SOL Club pose for a photo before the crowds come! 

 

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These lovely ladies are taking a break by the English table! 📚 

 

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The Biology Club had the cutest succulents for purchase! 🌿  

 

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No explanation is necessary.🤣 Thanks for the laughs, REVO! 

 

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The Mabuhay Filipino Club really wowed everyone with their Tinikling which is a traditional Philippine folk dance! 

Browse through the Fall Fest album on facebook for even more! 

 

A Moment in Time: Artist Davis Perkins Exhibits at PUC

By Becky St. Clair

Always drawing as a kid, Davis Perkins doesn’t remember a time when art wasn’t a part of his life. Perkins attended the University of Oregon, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and he has now made art a career. He has original artwork in a permanent collection at the Smithsonian as well as in the Pentagon and has done one-man shows at the Alaska State Museum and the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.

On Nov. 9, Perkins will host an opening reception and artist talk at 7 p.m. in the Rasmussen Art Gallery right here on campus. His exhibit, Landscapes: A Moment in Time, will be on display through December 8 (the gallery will be closed Nov. 23-Dec. 1 for Thanksgiving break). We caught up with Perkins and asked him a few questions to get to know him and his craft better. 

What first sparked your interest in painting?

I was always drawing as a kid. It was something for which I seemed to get a lot of “praise.” I was raised on a farm in rural Oregon and was always outside. It was during my three-year stint in the Army I really started to draw a lot, and when I got out of the service I attended college, initially studying history, but taking more and more drawing and painting classes. I had great support from my professors and they encouraged me to pursue painting seriously. I switched majors to art and began in earnest. I initially started in oil painting, and it’s what I love most to this day.

How did your career start?

While in college, I was a smokejumper (parachute firefighter), and I worked during the summer fire season. After graduation, I moved down to the Bay Area to paint during the winter, going back to Alaska to spend the summers jumping fires. It was a very seasonal lifestyle! When a professor advised me to start a series of paintings of my experiences as a smokejumper, I began jumping fires with a small sketchbook, documenting my work during the slow times. The series ended up being my senior thesis project. I had a lucky break with that final series; first, the Alaska State Museum gave me a one-man show of the work, and the next year, the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum gave me a one-year solo exhibition of my work. The Smithsonian has three of my paintings in their permanent collection. I also have a painting in the Pentagon with the Air Force Art Collection.

How does your environment play a role in your art-making?

As you will see in the exhibit at the Rasmussen, I consider myself a traditional landscape painter. Much of my life has been spent outdoors, and the wonders of nature are what inspire me, therefore much of my work is plein air. For larger studio pieces I always work outside for reference studies.

What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve created, and why?

Hmm … that’s a tough one! I’d say some of my favorite pieces are the quick studies done on location. They often seem the freshest and most spontaneous. I am constantly attempting to not overwork a piece; I try and limit an outdoor painting session to no more than two hours. By that time, the light has changed significantly. I will often start a painting in the morning and move on to another in the afternoon. If there’s more work that remains, I can return the next day.

Tell us about your studio. What kind of space have you created in order to be comfortable expressing yourself?

I’ve got a great studio! It’s located in downtown San Rafael and is part of a complex called The ArtWorks Downtown. There are about 35 studios in the building and it is a wonderful complex in which I have many good friends. I have a high ceiling studio with a skylight, as well as good artificial lights. I’ve been in ArtWorks Downtown for about 15 years. Come visit anytime!

What’s something you still want to learn about art-making, and what are you doing to acquire that knowledge?

A good question! I am obviously still learning and it is an ongoing ambition, but I’m focusing on the study of color primarily. For the past three years, I have been on the faculty of the annual Plein Air convention. The four-day convention attracts painters from all over the world, and individuals give wonderful lectures and demonstrations. I gain a great deal from attending these lectures and learning from some of the world’s top artists. I also try and take advantage of living in the Bay Area and travel to museums here as often as I can. We are so fortunate to have access to the de Young, the Oakland Museum, and others; they have wonderful collections!

large-Perkins_Doc's PondWhat makes oil painting different from other kinds of painting?

What is delightful about oil painting is the ability to alter your work: You simply wipe it off! Often when I’m painting a cloud, for example, I will decide to start again. During the process of wiping off the paint, a new shape will emerge that I like and will develop. I especially like the ability to glaze over the dried paint with a translucent layer of color. It’s a technique used by oil painters for hundreds of years. As I mentioned, I am constantly exploring and reading about mixing color. It is an ongoing process!

How do you start a new piece? 

A large white canvas staring you in the face can be intimidating. So I always start a painting with a thin wash, usually in an earth color. I then use a little darker, thin paint to start developing the composition. This is really the most fun time to paint; you’re exploring, wiping out, redrawing with thin paint. You can’t screw it up! I then start to develop the basic values–light and dark. When I’m satisfied I’m on to something, I’ll start applying heavier layers of paint. Then it’s, “Fingers crossed!” Ha!

Who is another artist you admire, and why?

I would have to say Richard Schmid is one of my greatest inspirations. He is nothing less than a National Treasure. I have had the pleasure of meeting him, and I own all of his books. He’s been an inspiration to hundreds of young artists.

 

Faces of PUC: Caleb Pudewell

Caleb Pudewell is a senior here at PUC and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the graphic design field. He is already putting his skills to use in the public relations office as one of the student designers. 

We asked Caleb to answer a few questions so we can get better acquainted with him.

What is your dream job?

I would love to work as a graphic designer for a company that allows me to travel the world. Imagine living in Spain for a month, and then maybe a few weeks in Japan, followed by a short stint through the Southwest of the USA. That is my dream job.

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

As a child, I always wanted to work with animals and I was also curious about being a doctor. I still love animals and they serve as an inspiration in my designs. Being a doctor though, no way! I couldn’t deal with all the blood.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

I love how devoted the professors are at PUC. I often go to them for advice on professional matters as well as personal issues. They always offer a listening ear and that’s something I’ve really grown to appreciate.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Wow, what a tough question. I love so many places. I don’t know if I have a favorite but I would really love to go and visit Barcelona again. It’s a beautiful city with a rich culture.

What show are you binge-watching right now?giphy-1

Mindhunter, Brooklyn-99, and Parks & Rec are a few of my favorites.

What is something you’re passionate about?

I love nature and everything about it. Every chance I get, I love to go and explore new places and find off the beaten path activities.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

One of my favorite weekend spots is Bodega Bay. You can visit the beach, find some great food, and pick up some saltwater taffy for the ride home. It’s an amazing place to visit.