Support Beam artists announced

by Morgan Ritter, Support Beam Project Manager, Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator

Support Beam intends to strengthen artists towards a long-term re-imagination and multi-pronged activation of their work, with no restrictions on media. Participating artists will contribute virtual work-in-progress share-outs which will be released on RACC’s web and social media platforms—follow along! At the conclusion of the artists’ work period, one art piece will be acquired into the Portable Works Public Art Collection.

Support Beam is not structured by simple transaction or purchase; its goal is to support artists’ long-term creative practice and livelihood, outside of a fixed expectation of production. Inspired by the depression-era Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), this program utilizes “Percent for Art” funds from Multnomah County to commission a body of public art without restriction to media or themes, and aspires to sustain as many artists as possible during a precarious economic and political time.

This new opportunity prioritizes Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color for several reasons. Initially this prioritization was made to acknowledge the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on BIPOC communities. With the rise of racial justice movements, and our country’s expansive confrontation and dialogue around privilege, we collectively began to define this disproportionate impact as a direct result of historical and ongoing systemic inequities. In addition, the Public Art Collection is being increasingly diversified. Through these Support Beam additions, and intentional additions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland, the collection begins to more accurately represent the many distinct communities who enliven our region.

The artists were selected by a group of panel members that similarly reflect the artist community Support Beam is intended to uplift and give voice. This panel of artists, arts workers, County staff and writers reviewed almost 200 artist applications and, through hours of conversation and collective decision making, awarded about 10 percent of artists who applied.

Panelists included:

  • Sharita Towne
  • Monique Smiley
  • Jiseon Lee Isbara
  • Matthew Juniper
  • Garrick Imatani

With pleasure, we announce the first round of recipients:

John Akira Harrold

Jessica Mehta

garima thakur

manuel arturo abreu

Donovan Smith

Tabitha Nikolai & deSolid State,

Jonathan Sanders
Alan Page

Lehuauakea Fernandez

Daren Todd
Maya Vivas

Ivan Salcido

rubén garcía marrufo

Terresa White


Patricia Vázquez Gómez

Beck Smith

Mami Takahashi

Eddie Melendrez