Porter College’s Annual EnCore Festival Highlights the Fine Art of Learning

January 17, 2024

Student reads a handmade art book at the 2023 Porter College EnCore Festival

On December 7, 2023, the EnCore festival marked the culmination of the Core Course for Porter first-year students. The exhibition featured hundreds of student art and book projects, created through Creative Commons, an art studio associated with Porter 1. 

“In Porter 1 students learn to think with their hands as well as their minds and the EnCore festival is a glorious exhibition of that,” said Porter College Provost Dr. Sean Keilen. “The books students make are a tribute to their courage in learning new skills and their deepening experience as readers.”

This year, more than 450 handmade art books illustrated how students interpreted the readings and questions in Porter 1 and were created with a vibrant range of media including painting, collage, photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and graphic design.

Displayed on tables and walls throughout the Porter Dining Hall, the annual festival is one of the largest exhibitions of student art at UC Santa Cruz. 

Porter College celebrated students' distinguished work in an award ceremony during the exhibition, featuring $7,000 in prizes and the presentation of the James B. Hall Prize for Outstanding Creative Project.

Erin Brynes' book "The Spiral" was selected by University Archivist Kelsey Knox for the Special Collections Prize and will be added to the Special Collections' permanent artist book collection. 


“‘The Spiral’ immediately grabbed my attention,” said Knox. “I was struck by Erin's use of different mediums and three-dimensionality to tell a compelling story.” 

Additional student books were selected to be included in a small forthcoming exhibition at McHenry Library, which will feature selections of artists' book collections from the university’s special collections alongside students’ work. 

Through Porter College’s Creative Common workshops and culminating in EnCore, students are able to reflect on and celebrate their work, and share it with the entire UC Santa Cruz community.