Response: Stuart Emmons

For the spring 2018 primary election, RACC distributed a questionnaire to all candidates running for Portland City Council; Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County Boards of Commissioners; and Metro Council. Each candidate was asked five questions on March 13 or 14, and given the opportunity to respond by March 30 when this story was first published.  RACC will continue to publish responses from candidates even after the deadline has passed.

Here are the responses provided by Stuart Emmons, running for Portland City Council, Position 3. All responses are reprinted verbatim from what the candidates sent us.



RACC: In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland?

SE: I am an architect, I am an artist. I went to art/architecture colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology School for American Craftsmen (, London College of Furniture, PSU and Pratt. I understand personally and deeply how art is important for our culture and our community. I go to art museums and art galleries frequently, and love public art.

  • Taught wood at OCAC, 1980 – 1981
  • Portland Art Museum development committee, 2007 – 2016
  • PNCA board member, 2002 – 2003
  • PNCA art installation, c2011
  • RACC public art selection committee, c2006
  • Public architectural projects: public art collaborations with Malia Jensen (Fire 27 – and Dana Lynn Louis (Fire 9 –
  • Designed art installation at Interstate Crossing housing project (
  • Commercial office architectural project: art collaboration with Sean Healy (
  • Co-curator Portland Design Festivals, 2003 + 2004 (

please see my website



RACC: Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life. Yet there are a number of pressing needs in Portland that often compete with arts and culture for attention and investment.  How would YOU describe the importance of arts and culture in our community, and what should Portland be doing to support this sector?

SE: Art is essential to our community. It gives us hope, it makes us think, it nourishes our mind and relationships, it gives us ideas, it gives us joy.

Portland should be doing a lot more supporting this sector. Let’s start with a Commissioner who goes to art openings more, helps to teach a few art/architecture classes in our elementary, middle and high schools, goes to art & architecture critiques at UO, PSU, Art Institute, OCAC, PNCA, Reed, PCC and other colleges, reinstates Portland Design Festival, works to increase art events like to former festival at the Jupiter Hotel, and I welcome many other good ideas.

Portland should make it easier to be an artist in Portland by having affordable housing and studios.

I will help build art awareness.

I will be one of the biggest art supporters City Hall has ever seen.


RACC: The region’s affordability is a serious concern for everyone in our community. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable for artists, nonprofit arts organizations and arts-related businesses?

SE: I am a housing expert, and have designed affordable housing projects throughout my career. I have decades of real world, private sector experience actually getting projects built, and not just talking about them. I understand housing economics, construction, and affordability. I am also an innovator, and have worked for the last 7 years in modular/prefab housing and am always looking for solutions that house more people, more economically, more rapidly and with increased design, sustainability and quality. The same goes for studio space, and commercial space for non profit arts organizations, and arts related businesses. I have a wealth of ideas on how to increase affordability, and the passion and skillset to make it happen.  I also am a good listener and look forward to what the arts community wants and recommends.


RACC: The city’s Arts Tax is disliked by some, while 62% of voters approved it. Thanks to the Arts Tax, every K-5 student in the City of Portland now as an art, music or dance teacher, and dozens of nonprofit arts organizations are expanding access to the arts by providing free and low-cost arts experiences for Portland residents. What changes to the Arts Tax, if any, would you want Portland City Council to consider?

SE: I am delighted the Arts Tax has brought art back into many of our schools, and is helping our entire arts community. I would not change the Arts Tax.


RACC: What are some of your other priorities for the City of Portland that would be of interest to artists, arts organizations and arts educators in our community?

SE: End Homelessness (

Every kid has an equal opportunity to have a fulfilling life.

Build community, end racism through art.