Call for Artists at Behavioral Health Resource Center | 1st Floor Common Wall

Interpretation services available, email info@racc.org

Servicio de interpretación disponible   |  Предоставляются услуги переводчика   |   Có dịch vụ thông dịch   |   通訳サービスあり

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is seeking artists/artist teams living in Oregon and southern Washington to create a site-specific digital design for a 2-dimensional interior artwork for the common wall on the first floor of Multnomah County’s newly constructed Behavioral Health Resource Center. The budget available for the commissions comes from Multnomah County’s Percent for Art Program and is approximately from $15,000 – $20,000.

Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Division is renovating a building at the corner of SW Oak & SW Park Ave in downtown Portland. This will be the site for a new comprehensive behavioral health resource center that will offer immediate basic services for people experiencing houselessness, substance use and/or mental health challenges.  The artwork will be scaled as a 2-dimensional artwork on the common wall in the first floor’s Day Center. This active space will be open to visitors who will have access to showers, laundry, peer counseling, housing, meal service and additional services. The artwork on the commons wall will be visible to visitors in the front lobby/common area as well as street and pedestrian traffic on SW Park Ave due to the large storefront windows.

Read the full details about this call and the center’s design goals, artist eligibility, and application materials.

Submissions Due: 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Rendering of the 1st Floor Common Wall

Who can apply?

Artists or artist teams living in Oregon and southern Washington are eligible to apply. If applying as a team, at least one member must meet the residence eligibility requirement. RACC is committed to engaging new communities of artists and expanding the range of artistic and cultural expression represented in the City’s public art collection. Artists who have experiences with houselessness, substance and/or mental health challenges will be prioritized.

Apply online in the RACC Opportunity Portal. (For first-time users of the portal, view a brief video learning how to register here.)

Learn more at two upcoming information sessions for artists:

  • Instagram Live – noon, Thursday, March 31
  • Zoom –  Wednesday, April 6 (RSVP here)

Follow Regional Arts & Culture Council on Facebook or @regionalarts on Instagram to stay informed of this and other upcoming opportunities.

Attendance is encouraged, but not required to apply for the project.

We’re Here to Help!


Contact project manager Salvador Mayoral IV with questions or to set up a time for a phone call: smayoral@racc.org


The Regional Arts & Culture Council supports an Equitable Arts Education for All


A Response to School Districts across our Region

Portland, Ore. – The impacts of the global pandemic have had profound effects on our entire society. As families and communities look to recover, heal, and move forward, we also must confront the barriers that existed prior to the pandemic lockdown of March 2020. The inequities across our K-12 school system have been exposed more than ever before.

As our school districts look to their budgets, reorganize, and prioritize, we know that teachers’ jobs are in danger. When public education loses teachers, we lose educational opportunities for all of our students. This in turn affects our entire region.

We support arts education programs in our K-12 schools. We know it is critical to include arts education programs in our K-12 schools, which will solidify a well- rounded STEAM education. We know that art engagement provides a skill set that is critical in our creative economy, and helps us heal, connect, and build relationships. Art has the power to help move us forward out of trauma. We know that having a robust well-rounded education that includes the arts keeps kids in school, exposes us to diverse cultures, teaches empathy and compassion, encourages us to think critically, to be civically engaged, and, most importantly, brings us joy. We know that the arts create a pathway forward, providing hope, and giving voice to the community.

We envision an arts education that is rooted in equity, access, and inclusion. RACC advocates for a core curriculum for all K-12 students that includes visual arts, music, dance, theatre, and media arts. We support arts educators and school districts by providing resources, professional development, and opportunities to convene. We collaborate with arts/culture partner organizations and local, state, and national art leaders. We promote equity and inclusion, and work to reduce and eliminate barriers.


An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships. For more information visit racc.org


Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations,  ctatch@racc.org

Chanda Evans, Arts Education Program, cevans@racc.org

January – March Edition Newsletter 2022

As 2022 begins, I know we have been working hard to connect and build community in our schools, districts, families, and friend groups. From Comprehensive Distance Learning to hybrid to in-person instruction, these months have been challenging, yet we have found strength and joy together and have been present in moments of sadness. There is no guidebook; however, we have learned to adapt.

We know that having arts and culture in our lives makes us better humans, more compassionate people, and enables empathy. As an arts educator, you have brought out the kid who was quiet, supported the youth who thought they could not succeed, and given the soon-to-be college-bound freshman the courage to take risks and challenge themselves. We applaud you.

Please feel free to share our newsletter with your school community, families, and students. If you have an idea for a story or want to highlight something that is going on in your district or community, please reach out. It is about joy!

Chanda Evans (she/her), Arts Education Program Specialist

Features & Highlights


Vincente, Rose Waterfall, logo design 2021

The Arts Education and Access Income Tax is due April 15 

Your yearly payment of $35 helps to support arts education in our six school districts – Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Riverdale. In 2012, this measure was passed by voters in the City of Portland to fund one arts educator for every 500 students. The Arts Education and Access Income Tax Fund (AEAF) also supports our community arts nonprofits through grants administered by RACC. For more information on the AEAF click here.

The AEAF Oversight Committee is charged with ensuring compliance with the 2012 measure. Their meetings are open to the public. For more information click here.

Remind your neighbors, friends, and family to make their yearly $35 online payment here.




Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR, District 1)

Arts Education for All Act (H.R 5581).

On Oct. 15, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR, District 1), Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services; Chellie Pingree (D-ME); and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced comprehensive legislation to increase access to arts education. Bonamici hosted a virtual rollout and reception for her Arts Education for All Act (H.R.5581), which addresses equity gaps in access to arts education for K-12 students as well as youth and adults in the justice system. To learn more click here. To advocate for H.R 5581 and to endorse it, click here.  To watch our November 5th interview with the Congresswoman, click here.






Meet Carol Tatch (she/her), RACC’s Director of External Operations and Director of Philanthropic Innovation.
She shares with us a few of her many passions around the arts.


What is an early memory you have relating to the arts? Does a particular teacher come to mind?

Well, in the case of literary arts, I started reading very early and my mother ensured that we had excellent books to engage our imaginations. When I was in 4th grade I played the flutophone, and that began my engagement with this musical art form. I now play the flute, oboe, viola, clarinet, and my new instrument friend, Lucinda, who is my cello. I have enjoyed the width and breadth of arts and creativity in a gazillion forms: seeing Rodin’s incredible sculpture at his museum in Paris, chasing original Renoirs to gaze at them (he did incredible work with countenances and light) — well, everything, including needle and culinary arts. If I was influenced by any one teacher the most it was my 6th grade band instructor, who saw greater potential for me musically and moved me from the flute to the oboe, a more challenging instrument.

What brought you to philanthropy? What drives innovation?

A happy circumstance brought me into being a philanthropy professional. My first engagements with service happened with my mother, who was always volunteering and bringing her kids along…and we helped. We grew up caring for others and giving back. I was a volunteer and club leader during high school. Being in service has always been a value of mine. While in college, I started working for an international

Pictured with her is Mimicita, who came with the house!

 undergraduate, graduate, and professional research organization that has field stations in Central America, South America, and South Africa, as I was in a very different academic study practicum. By the time I finished with college, I was a convert from the sciences to being a philanthropic leader. I remain fully taken by how philanthropy, the love of our fellow humans, is a key component of our lives as humans. Innovation is always driven by the need for change and for things to “get better” in our communities. It is fueled by creativity and thinking outside the box—beyond what we know to what we need. It is amazing and humbling to combine the drives of both to create joy, love, understanding, and support.

What brings you joy when you think about arts/culture education?

What brings me joy are the “little things” that have become pivotal in my journey as I sought my own identity. My first instrument was a flutophone in 4rd grade for our school-wide music program. In 5th grade, every student received a recorder. So, by the time I was in 6th grade, I had decided to play the flute in band (my mother played the clarinet in school—hence my own seeking of clarinet proficiency as an adult). It was a natural progression. My band teacher immediately moved me to an oboe, because he needed an oboist and that was that. I was put in a classroom by myself with the double reed, my first, a cup of water to soak it although he said that the mouth was best, and told to practice blowing through it. As an asthmatic, I learned a new way to breathe. It was fantastic. I still remember the first time I blew a true note with no squeaks. He and I were both excited.  I painted, drew, etc. in school. I was fortunate to have full-on engagement with art from kindergarten until I graduated. I am pained that arts education is now a point of negotiation. I want to lean into how this can be relevant here, now. There can be so much joy from arts and cultural engagement. We each have this within ourselves to be so much more.



Arts Education Resources 

A comprehensive curated resource list from RACC’s Arts Education Program is available for download. Click here.

Bruce Orr, The Scrap Mural, 2019

Professional Development: Trauma Informed Care Workshop Series

The Regional Arts & Culture Council in partnership with Trauma Informed Oregon present a series of workshops for arts educators. Please join us for our third workshop this winter. This free event will be held in March and April remotely, as we continue to center health and safety for all. Look for our Eventbrite invitation in your inbox.

“At a time when students are recovering from the trauma and anxiety of not only the pandemic but the breakdown and failing of many of our institutions, the social and emotional benefits of arts education are more important than ever.” (Art for Life, 2021 Report by the Academy of Arts & Sciences)



RACC will be conducting a spring survey for all K-12 Arts Educators in our six AEAF school districts.  The survey will help inform and shape our professional development opportunities which we offer free of charge.




The Beat: Interviews from the Field



Kelda Van Patten, a Visual Arts Educator
The da Vinci Arts Middle School, Portland Public School District


What inspires you when you teach arts education to your MS students? What makes MS unique in arts education?

Middle School students are definitely unique, in the most wonderful ways! They have a special sense of humor that is infectious. I laugh every day with them. They are energetic, emotional (in a very real way), and lively. As such, I try to keep my curriculum fun and engaging. My class is a time for my students to explore techniques and mediums, while developing their ideas and artistic voice. Adolescents go through so many critical changes as they come in from elementary school, and then, poof, before we know it they are eighth graders getting ready for high school! But really, it’s not “poof.” A lot happens during those three yearseducational, artistic, and creative growth, but also social, physical, and emotional changes. It’s a period of intense growth and hormonal changes for many of them, which is just one reason why arts education is so important during these three years. In addition, art is a vehicle to teach so many different subjects in life, and especially a place where students learn that making art is a form of thinking. Art gives my students an outlet, a safe place to express their emotions, ideas, and thoughts. And they have so much to say!

Kelda Van Patten

What have you learned from your students? What do you want them to take away from you?

I learn from my students every day. There are fun facts, like which students would rather be a unicorn or a dragon and why (the why is always very interesting). Over time, I have also learned how important it is to listen to them, and what it really means to listen. There are stereotypes about middle school kids, but really, they are all so unique and different, just like adults. So many of them are mature, responsible, respectful humans, who are very serious about art and learning. However, they are still kids; silly, fun, mischievous, and with so much bubbling energy.

I hope my students remember art in middle school as a place where they could explore a lot of different mediums and techniques; a place where they could freely try out different subject matters that interest them and explore different styles in search of their artistic voice. I want them to think of middle school art as a time where they learned it is okay to fail, and that failure means you tried. I want them to remember how important it is to take creative risks, and what it really means to be mindful and respectful of other people. Even if they take away just one of those concepts, that is big.

What brings you joy when you teach? 

Over time I have learned how it is *everything* when I take the time to build relationships. I really strive to be a positive mentor and I would say this is what matters most in teaching, and it is something I have had to not only learn on an intellectual level but how to truly embody it. In the ’70s and ’80s, most of my teachers did not demonstrate this, so I grew up thinking teaching was more about relaying information and knowledge. Of course, I did have a few teachers who took the time to learn my name, and who were happy to see me, even when I was late or made it clear (with sighs and eye rolling) that it was not my favorite class. When I patiently demonstrate what it means to be mindful, and my students in return are patient and kind, THIS brings me so much joy. Of course, I am also so proud of the art they make, and their willingness to take creative risks throughout the creative and artistic process! As an artist who loves working with materials and learning new things, middle school art is so much fun to teach. Do not get me wrong, it is not easy. In fact, teaching middle school is one of the hardest endeavors I have taken on in my life, but it is also rewarding, especially on those days when I seem to ‘get it right.’ I have had to practice what I preach so to speak, and learn that failure is okay, and that the more I fail, the more I learn. This has really played out for me. LOL.


A street mural with whimsical robotic characters in front of a bike rack.

Gary Hirsch, Questions for Humans, 2015

What brings YOU joy?

We would love for you to share your thoughts with this question.



Student Art Showcase


K-5 Buckman Elementary, Portland Public Schools (thank you for sharing!)



More Interviews from the Field

Featured Arts Organization

An interview with Brian Parham (he/him), founder.

Mission statement: Rock Dojo is an award-winning online guitar program for kids. We do not just teach kids about the guitar; we teach kids how to rock out on the guitar! We help students.


When youth participate at Rock Dojo, what do you want them to take away from their experiences? What programs do you offer?

The Rock Dojo is an award-winning online guitar-learning platform for kids. We arose from my passion for sharing guitar with children. I believe in the power of rock inspiration. Our award-winning music education program offers students three paths to a black belt in rock: live online private guitar lessons, live online group guitar lessons, and video-on-demand guitar lessons. In addition, we offer live streaming concerts for school assemblies.

When students participate in the Rock Dojo, the number one skill they walk away with are transferable life skills because learning to play the guitar is challenging. Fortunately, the process of overcoming the challenge of learning to play guitar improves self-esteem and self-discipline, and gives kids transferable skills to last a lifetime. Plus, rocking on a guitar is just plain cool.

How can schools help encourage students to include more music (ROCK!) in the arts?

This past school year left many students isolated from their favorite music activities, but Rock Dojo is here to change that! The discipline that comes with playing the guitar influences positive youth development, engages life skills, and teaches youth the importance of academic resiliency, all of which are proven to help students make academic gains. The Rock Dojo ensures that music education is equitable for all students and those students have access to music education despite the challenges of distance learning. All you need is an internet connection, and students will become rock ninjas in no time!

Brian Parham

To that end, I invite schools to invest in music education for all of their students. Whether it is my arts organization, or any other music program, schools can do a better job of making music education more equitable and accessible to all of their students. They can invest in many ways, including innovative online music programs like Rock Dojo, live performances, and musical instruments for their student body.

When you think of art, what inspires you? (And who are your favorite guitarists?)

I grew up one of five children in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. My father worked in a coal power plant, and a single mother raised me. Suffice to say, I did not have many opportunities for personal development as a child.

Thankfully, learning to play the guitar changed all of that. The learning process taught me how to set goals and put in the work to achieve those goals. After beginning my guitar studies at the age of 29, I applied those same skills to every other area of my life. Since then, I have gone on to publish eight books, compose an album, build an award-winning small business, win a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and so much more!

And that’s what I love about art. Art breaks down barriers. Whether sociological, economic, or cultural barriers, art can overcome any obstacle because creativity is the ultimate superpower. That is why I created the Rock Dojo, and that is why I dedicated the last decade of my life to pass that gift to the next generation of young musicians.

My top three all-time favorite guitarists change all the time, but I would have to say as of right now they are: Albert King, Slash, and Jimi Hendrix.

If any school officials are interested in learning more, they can book a Q&A with me at here.



Public Art & Arts Education: Feature Part 1, Fresh Paint Temporary Mural Project 

By Salvador Mayoral IV, (he/him), RACC Public Art Senior Specialist


Over the past three decades, Portland has seen a proliferation of murals pop up throughout the city. Adding another dimension to the city’s public art landscape, murals provide a number of benefits to this region such as establishing a location’s identity, preventing unwanted tagging, and providing a platform for community expression. For example, last year’s temporary murals that appeared on the boarded-up windows of stores in the wake of pandemic lockdown and protests of George Floyd’s murder were a great example of this kind expression. Murals provide an opportunity to witness, to feel, and sometimes to heal our collective emotions.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Murals Program contributes to the city’s public art ecosystem by providing permits and funding to artists, property owners, businesses and community organizations to create murals. My role as a Public Art Senior Specialist is to oversee this distribution of resources and identify other opportunities so that we can continue to support those interested in growing their mural-making practice.

Maria Rodriguez, Bizar Gomez, and Anke Gladnick, 2019

Molly Mendoza 2017

Munta Mpwo, 2019

One such opportunity that launched in the last few years is Fresh Paint, a professional development initiative aimed at offering emerging artists of color the chance to create a temporary mural. Fresh Paint is a partnership between RACC and Open Signal, a media arts center carrying a vision for community-driven media focused on creativity, technology, and social change. This partnership provides artists the space to explore working in the public art sector and incorporate new approaches and skills in their artistic practice and experience.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, ten artists have painted murals on Open Signal’s west-facing wall along busy Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Many of these artists work in different artistic practices beyond painting, such as graphic design, collage, illustration, and even breakdancing. The imagery these artists chose to present touches upon topics and themes of cultural identity, traditions, family, community, technology, and the empowering of youth. Some of these concepts are lighthearted, others are serious; but all carry a sense of joy and hope.

Rob Lewis 2018

Alex Chiu, 2018

Andrea de la Vega and Damien Dawahare, 2018

Limei Lai, 2020

One of our most recent artists, Limei Lai, said of her mural, Together, depicting three generations of women within a family: “The world is extremely beautiful and fun in the kid’s eyes; it is a complex chaos in the woman’s eyes; it is where the loved ones live in grandma’s eyes. The present and the past, the here and there, we are all in this world together, weeping and smiling and hugging, celebrating women’s lives and the world community. We dance with the unknown, changes, and aging, in the dark and in the sun, with the flowers and with the birds.”

For a database of public art in the Portland region, click here.



Workshops • Events • Lectures*  

Sign-up for alerts about lectures, workshops, events, and conferences from local colleges and universities. Here are a few highlights:

Liz Tran, A Heaviness

January-February-March 2022

Serving Portland artists and audiences, the 2022 Fertile Ground Festival, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA), will be held January 27-February 6, 2022. Fertile Ground 2022 will be in a virtual format, and uncurated.

32nd African Film Festival, February 2022 (various venues).

7thAnnual Portland Winter Light Festival, February 4-12 (free). Walking tour of light installations across the city. Click here for more information.


The Kennedy Center, national partnerships convening. February 7-8, 2022, Any Given Child; February 8-9, 2022, Partners in Education Annual Meeting.  VIRTUAL.

2022 Biamp Portland Jazz Festival February 17-26, 2022 (various venues).

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism open at the Portland Art Museum, February 19-June 5, 2022.

Educator Workshop: Look Club at the Portland Art Museum, February 26, 2022. Subsequent dates will be: March 12, April 30, and May 14. 

Free days at the Portland Art Museum March 20th and April 24th ( Heart of Portland with Portland Public Schools).

National Art Education Association National Convention, March 3-5, 2022, virtually and in person in New York City.

45th Portland International Film Festival (PIFF), March 5-14, 2022.


If you know of an event, workshop, lecture, or art exhibition that is coming up please go here to submit an opportunity.

*Please note: Some workshops/events/lectures might have changed due to COVID-19. Please check before you make plans.

The Scoop – Grow your Brain

We are often curious of what research is happening behind the scenes in the space of arts education. Take a look by clicking the images!



Thanks to all of our partners, supporters, and funders supporting arts education.

Log4j Vulnerability: What to know

On December 10, 2021, a serious vulnerability in the commonly used Java-based software called “Log4j” put the cybersecurity community on alert. Although our Information Technology (IT) team has not detected any indication of exploitation of the Log4j vulnerability (also known as Log4Shell) on Regional Arts & Culture Council systems, we are actively monitoring the situation and working with all our vendors to ensure systems are patched and protected. Should we become aware of any unauthorized access to our systems or data, we will the take appropriate actions to address any issues that arise. 

If there are any important updates on this issue, we will update this post and our community accordingly. 

For questions or concerns, please contact us. We appreciate your continued support of the arts and culture community – donate here today!

September – December Edition Newsletter 2021

Welcome to the first edition of our new K-12 Arts Educators newsletter, #newsforyourheart. As we work to reconnect and engage with this brave new world, we know it will take time, it will be painful, it will be hard, but we will also find joy, hope, and love. I hope that this newsletter will illuminate some of the work we are doing at RACC, direct you to opportunities, professional development and resources. You’ll find features about our district arts educators and arts partners. With your help we can showcase student work from our six districts. Spread some joy! Please share #newsforyourheart with your colleagues and students!

Chanda Evans (she/her), Arts Education Program Specialist

Features & Highlights


Arts Education and Access Fund New Logo

Vincente, Rose Waterfall, logo design 2021

During the Spring of 2021, RACC and the Arts Education and Access Fund (AEAF) Oversight Committee unveiled our new student re-designed AEAF Logo. We encourage you to help guide the process of having your school proudly display this on their websites. As we work to reframe the narrative around arts funding in schools, we know that this is a small step in letting our neighbors, family, and friends know their yearly $35 payment is worth it. It goes to arts education! We thank you. To learn more about how funds from the Arts Education and Access Fund are used to support students and increase access to arts and culture in our community, click here.

All of the AEAF Oversight Committee meetings are open to the public. For more information click here.





Two Questions for AEAF Oversight
Committee Chair,
 Laura Streib (she/her).

What is your favorite memory around the arts? My favorite elementary arts memory is in my 3rd-grade class. Our teacher had us do a project where we dipped yarn into various palettes of tempera paint, and then we curled them onto a large piece of black construction paper and then fling/pull it back to create these amazing abstract painted flowers. Now, my adult self is blown away that she had a class of 30 nine-year-olds flinging yarn with paint on it around her classroom! But it was very memorable and fun!

Laura Strieb smiles at the camera. She is wearing a long necklace and blue blouse.

Laura Streib

What made you choose the arts as a career? Growing up within a public school system that was so supportive of the arts and music helped guide me into a career in the arts. By the time I was in high school, half of my school day was filled with arts-focused classes from symphonic band and concert choir to photography. This is why I was motivated daily to go to school, where I developed community, connected, and built life-long friendships. I founded an arts education nonprofit in Portland to help support educators and ensure that kids have an opportunity and access to build a community and have a creative space to flourish. Until our Portland Metro schools have that opportunity for kids to have continuous K-12 arts pathways – that is where I will continue to pour my efforts. Kids deserve to have a robust arts education as part of their K-12 educational experience.

Laura is at aeafpdx@gmail.com





Since 2010, RACC has had a unique partnership and relationship with the Kennedy Center, which brings several programs into the fold of Arts Education: Any Given Child and the Partnership for Education. In 2018 RACC was one of nine sites across the United States selected to participate in a 3-year pilot program to launch artlook®. Through this relationship with the Kennedy Center and Chicago-based developer Ingenuity, artlook® provides communities with an arts-based interactive mapping database platform. This allows school districts to understand their local arts and culture landscape and create more equitable and accessible arts and culture education opportunities for all students. School districts, educators, families, and the community can navigate arts and culture education opportunities in their region. One of RACC’s goals in arts education is to expand to other school districts and create robust arts and cultural partnerships across Oregon as they join the artlook® platform.




Arts Education Resources 

A comprehensive curated resource list from RACC’s Arts Education Program is available for download. Click here 

Back-to-school resources on social emotional learning and trauma can be found here. This information is from Trauma Informed Oregon.

Colorful textile art with day of the dead imagery.

Orquidia Violeta, Árbol de la Vida, 2020


Professional Development: Trauma Informed Care Workshop Series
In partnership with Trauma Informed Oregon, RACC presents a series of workshops for arts educators. Please join us for our second workshop October 8. This free event will be held remotely, as we continue to center health and safety for all. Look for our Eventbrite invitation in your inbox coming soon.




The Beat: Interviews from the Field


Jessica Juday (she/her), Music Educator from West Powellhurst Elementary School, David Douglas School District

What inspires you when you teach arts education to your students?

I believe that children are inherently joyful. When I see them have fun, I am always inspired to find new ways to teach. They love experiencing new things and they are so easily swayed by excitement. Teaching music at the elementary level is so much more than reading rhythm and singing songs…. It’s about creating a love of music and sharing joy with those around you. Every day I get to watch children discover new things, and they do it with such thought and care… it’s hard to not be inspired!

Jessica Juday looks directly at the camera. She has long, curling brown hair and wears a black hat.

Jessica Juday

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned that there is something out there for everyone! Some students may never truly love singing, but they excel at the recorder. Other students who struggle at playing the marimba end up being incredible at rhythm dictations. I even have students who say music isn’t their thing…but they are SO excited to help design the set for our musicals. Working with students from all over the world has taught me that music is just ONE beautiful part of what makes us human! I teach music to teach the whole child, not just the musical parts!

What brings you joy when you teach? 

The children! Being able to watch a student go from struggling to understanding is an incredible thing. I love watching a student develop their skills from just reading rhythm all the way to composing their own song. Every tough part of my job is worth it when I see how proud students are of themselves when they learn a new skill or get better at an old skill. They are always so excited! One of my favorite times during the year is showing Kindergartners the moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy opens the door, and the film goes from black and white to color… They gasp with wonder, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.




Mrs. Langston (she/her), Music Educator from Prescott Elementary School, Parkrose School District

What inspires you when you teach arts education to your students?

Inspiration comes from many sources. The students themselves are the most inspiring part of teaching music in schools. Their enthusiasm, engagement, and inquiry for all things musical lifts and carries me through the years. Other inspiration comes from the music I teach…is it of the highest quality? Does it nurture the musical mind? Does it connect us and help us better understand ourselves and the world we live in? Does it endure? High-quality professional development is another source of inspiration. I relish the times when World Music Drumming and Hot Marimba are in town! I also keep an ear to the airwaves and find inspiration in current music-making by all types of artists. Knowing who I teach is yet another way I find inspiration. Who are these people? What are their backgrounds (culture, class, race)? What impedes their access to education? What supports them? What do they want to learn? Ideally, I use all this information to develop tuneful, beautiful, artful humans.

What have you learned from your students?

Bright blue eyes shine out of the smiling face of Mrs. Langston

Mrs. Langston

Flexibility. Let me state that again…FLEXIBILITY. Gone are the days of a meticulously planned lesson with no time or space for anyone or anything that was not anticipated in advance. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan! I plan and prep and practice and plan some more. Then, children enter the room and things shift really shift. What I have learned is to grab onto those shifts and use them to accomplish the same goal. Let the kids drive! My role is to facilitate and guide; going deeper is better than going wider. What’s the rush? Let’s explore together!

What brings you joy when you teach?

Time with students is most joyful for me. When I watch and listen to students who are genuinely struggling to master a skill or concept and then…they get it. I love seeing/hearing others as they break through and gain a level. When there is a room full of 8-year-olds playing drums, and marimbas and we’ve been working on sticking the ending and then…we achieve a perfect cutoff. I love seeing the effect of community and non-verbal communication on young musicians. When we’ve slogged through a particularly difficult piece of music for far too long and then…a child asks “why are we working so hard?” I love helping develop critical thinking in children. When we are invited to perform on our high school stage and these adorably small people are freaking out because they are now “big time” and then…they sing and play so well they get a true standing ovation. I love helping children achieve performance success. Every day I get to work with children, I am filled with joy!


A street mural with whimsical robotic characters in front of a bike rack.

Gary Hirsch, Questions for Humans, 2015

What brings YOU joy?

We would love for you to share your thoughts with this question.



A collage made from newspaper pieces show a group of people holding signs of protest

Hampton Rodriguez, Protests in Portland, 2020

Student Art Showcase

Call for student work to be featured in our Winter edition. Student work will be chosen randomly by district submission.

Please submit student artwork to cevans@racc.org by Dec. 1 for consideration.



 More Interviews from the Field

Featured Arts Organization

 The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) The mission of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is to provide affordable access to space, tools, and resources for creating independently published media and artwork, and to build community and identity through the creation of written and visual art.

An interview with Alley Pezanoski-Browne (she/they), Executive Director of IPRC. 

When youth participate at IPRC, what do you want them to take away from their experiences?

A group of young art students hold up their colorful prints.

Photo courtesy of IPRC

We want youth to know the history of printmaking and zines as tools for sharing community stories and highlighting historically excluded voices. We also want them to learn that art making & writing are about experimentation, problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. Most of all, we take them seriously as artists, so we give them opportunities to teach what they’ve learned from others (most often their peers or their parents) as well as make art with their instructors and fellow students. We teach them the tools, but we want them to bring their own ideas and originality to making art that will mean something special to each of them. We hope that they will develop a life-long interest in art making and for experiential learning.

How can schools help encourage students to include media in the arts?

I think that a really unique part of printmaking is that, because it’s meant for easy reproduction, it’s meant to be shared. I think that school can help students to include media in the arts by really emphasizing the social  communications element. It is very common in IPRC classes for youth to trade prints and zines. It helps students to be less perfection-minded and to recognize the value in their voices. They also think about how they communicate their thoughts to the world when they know it is made to be shared.

When you think of art, what inspires you? 

I get really inspired by people who make art together in order to change the world they are living in, which is why I admire projects like the Living School of Art, KSMOCA or SHED.PDX. 




Public Art & Arts Education: Featured Artist, Laura Camila Medina

By Morgan Ritter (she/her), RACC Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator

Image from video shows hands on a blue plate holding a clay figure of a person

Laura Camila Medina, Consuming a Past Self, 2020

What comes to mind when you think of “Public Art”? Maybe a stoic, bronze monument of George Washington or another political figure we may have learned about in U.S. History classes, or a sanctioned street mural. Maybe Public Art for you is a mere landmark that tells you what street to turn on to find your way. Public Art can be so much more than these common perceptionsit can build worlds. It can gesture towards untold histories, bridge communities, and remind individuals of all ages that our imaginations enhance our quality of life.

At RACC, the Public Art Team avidly works to directly support a wide range of artists in the region, including both established and emerging artists. This includes artists who have wildly different approaches to what art can be including artists working in traditional, craft-based practices, or fine art, as well as artists who work experimentally at the nexus of multiple genres.

As the Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator, a crucial part of my job is engaging directly with local artists and helping RACC to imagine new opportunities for their radical creativity to be supported. One of the new initiatives I manage is Support Beam. Support Beam’s intent is to strengthen artists’ long-term creative practices and overall livelihood, by giving them money to continue making their work, without a fixed expectation of art production or media restrictions. At the end of their work periods, one piece of art is acquired from these artists into the collection. This initiative prioritizes Black, Indigenous, artists of color and emerging artists. Artists were funded between $3-$5,000 each.

Laura Camila Medina, Consuming a Past Self, 2020

Laura Camila Medina is one of the phenomenal, emerging artists that we recently funded through Support Beam. Laura’s practice is based around memory and identity as a response to personal, cultural, and historical research. Her work utilizes a unique combination of traditional mediums within digitally constructed spaces to create immersive visual analogies of cultural hybridity. Medina engages in a practice of self-reflection as a means to create a personal mythology. This mythology brings her closer to building her own world, both real and imaginary, where her identity becomes whole.

“Consuming a Past Self” is the piece she made through the Support Beam initiative, and is now part of the Public Art Collection. It is a hybrid video that combines painted collage, stop-motion animation, and performance.

The following writing is included alongside her video:

Consuming my past self is
Accepting my past self
It is processing my past self
It is digesting my past self
In order to nourish my
Future self

Laura explained that when she eats arepas (a food made from ground maize dough, originating from pre-Columbian South America), she has a memory of sitting in her grandmother’s dining room, looking at the reproduction of a painting that had drastically different colors than it did when it was new, with faded pinks. She remembers the flavor of the arepas combined with her grandmother’s milky coffee while looking at this faded painting. In this memory now, she contemplates the truth that everything ages, and aspires to recreate that taste memory.

Click here to view Laura’s video alongside other artists who participated in Support Beam.

Learn more about the other Support Beam artists on Instagram through the virtual posts #raccsupportbeam 

Laura Camila Medina (b. 1995) is an interdisciplinary artist born in Bogotá, Colombia. Her immersive installations and animated collage work have been exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, PLANETA New York, Fuller Rosen Gallery, Wieden+Kennedy, the Portland Art Museum, and with the Nat Turner Project. She was at Open Signal, Artist in Residence at the Living School of Art, IPRC Artists & Writers in Residence Program, ACRE Residency, and most recently the Centrum Emerging Artist Residency. She earned her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is currently based in Portland, OR. Learn more about Laura’s work here: https://lauracamilamedina.com/

For a database of public art in the Portland region, click here.


Workshops • Events • Lectures*  

Sign-up for alerts about lectures, workshops, events, and conferences from local colleges and universities. Here are a few highlights:

Patricia Vázquez Gómez, Untitled 1, 2020

Latinx Heritage Month September/October, celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Teachers guide for Latinx Heritage Month (free).

Portland Latin American Festival, opening at the Hollywood Theatre  in person on the big silver screen. September 22, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Oregon Humanities is offering an online fall course of Humanity in Perspective (HIP), a free college-credit class and learning community for students 18 years or older in Oregon who face barriers to continuing their education. Learn more and apply.

Portland Metro Stem Partnership: Join a new Elementary STEAM Leaders cohort. 15 spots for teachers for the NEW 2021-2022 Cohort.  All partner districts elligible to apply, including: Banks School District, Beaverton School District, Forest Grove School District, Hillsboro School District and Portland Public Schools. Click here for more information.

Portland Open Studios October 9-17 (free).

Portland Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes and Hayrides, for local fall family-friendly activities and events.

Portland Film Festival Oct. 6-Nov. 8 (various venues).

Save the Dates!
The Kennedy Center National Partnerships Convening Feb. 7-8, 2022
Any Given Child Feb. 8-9, 2022 Partners in Education Annual Meeting – VIRTUAL

If you know of an event, workshop, lecture, or art exhibition that is coming up please go here to submit an opportunity.

*Please note: Some workshops/events/lectures might have changed due to COVID-19. Please check before you make plans.

The Scoop – Grow your Brain

We are often curious of what research is happening behind the scene in the space of arts education. Take a look!


Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education 2021 report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Americans for the Arts Logo Americans for the Arts COVID-19 July 2021
NEA - edjustice logo edjustice Click here for valuable resources


Thanks to all of our partners, supporters, and funders supporting arts education.

What Kind of Public Art Do We Want Now?

A conversation with PSU Professor and York historian Darrell Millner, the York artist, and Kristin Calhoun, Director of Public Art, Regional Arts & Culture Council

Three photos of the granit pedestal; one with people touching and reading the plaque, one without the artwork and one with the bronze head of Yorkrtwork atop a granite pedestal surrounded by tall fir trees.

Photo Credits: Mark Graves,
Dave Killen of The Oregonian

Listen to this pre-recorded conversation with the unidentified artist who created York and PSU Professor of History and Black Studies, Darrell Millner. York, a piece of artwork depicting an enslaved man and significant member of Lewis and Clark’s “Corps of Discovery,” was mysteriously installed at Mt. Tabor Park in February. RACC’s Public Art Director, Kristin Calhoun, moderates the conversation. The artist has chosen to remain anonymous.

The podcast runs about 50 minutes and the participants answer many of the questions we’ve been hearing including:  What would it cost to make York permanent? What inspired the artist to make this artwork? Why didn’t we know about York? They consider the benefits and risks of a “permanent” York sculpture and fears that York could continue to be a target of harmful and racist acts.

Public response to York demonstrates the power of art to raise new and hidden narratives, deepen our understanding of issues, and for community healing. 

Listen here:

Join the Conversation!

Learn more about York: link to the article by Professor Darrell Millner https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/black_studies_fac/61/

Transcript: PDF download 

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“It’s About Enduring”: Intisar Abioto Discusses the Lasting Impact of In—Between

Article by Bruce Poinsette (update March 30, 2021)

Images by Intisar Abioto

For many, it might feel as if an eternity has passed since the announcement and installation of the In—Between project. RACC’s press release for the collaboration between Intisar Abioto and Hank Willis Thomas was published on Dec. 16, 2019. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the US and much of the world and Black Lives Matter protests have gained new life, exploding in size and frequency throughout the globe. The protests in particular have created a phenomenon where many now look at works of Black art and wonder, “What does this mean post George Floyd? Post Breonna Taylor?” For Abioto, the names might change, but the situation is, and has long been, the same.

“We’re always pre and post Black death while living it,” she says. “It’s not pre and post for us. It’s about enduring.”

In many respects, In—Between was emblematic of this mission. The installation itself, ten 10-foot-tall banners featuring Abioto and Thomas’s words and images, represents a conversation between not just the two artists, but also legendary photographer Ernest Withers and his photos from the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. Inspired by the iconic “I Am a Man” signs, In—Between connects the artists’ different voices and geographies, as well as struggles, to form a celebration of Black existence.

This is especially important for Memphis native Abioto, who, along with many of her peers, has experienced an increased demand for Black art about Black people, but only in the context of educating white audiences. As opposed to showing off “pretty pictures,” Abioto wants to make art that serves the Black community.

It’s not about us doing something new,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Say something brilliant. Do something brilliant.’ Even in regard to Black artists, it’s like, ‘Say and do brilliant things.’ Yet we’re saying and doing brilliant things whether or not it’s engaging with the history of white supremacy.

In regards to In—Between, the composition and location of the project were key to helping Abioto and Thomas reach a Black Portland audience that is far too often an afterthought in public arts planning. The banners combined the words from Brooklyn-based Thomas’s project that plays with different orientations of “I Am a Man” (A Man I Am, I Be a Man, I Am Many, I Am The Man, etc.) and Abioto’s portraits of Black people in Portland, Pendleton, Berlin, Chicago, New Orleans, Florence, Memphis, Johannesburg and New York.

RACC began the planning process in 2017 by bringing a wide range of stakeholders to the table, including artists and advocates from the Northeast Portland community and representatives from landscape design firm Mayer/Reed, Inc., the Portland Art Museum, and Prosper Portland.

“We tend not to do what I affectionately call ‘plunk art,’” says Teresa Chenney, a senior design associate at Mayer/Reed who was heavily involved in the planning process. “Just (placing) an object for the sake of having an object. (Instead) there’s thought behind it. For the In—Between project, our first committee meeting was the end of 2017. And it just went in this last December (2019).”

Chenney notes that a recurring comment during the planning meetings was, “Who are we, where did we come from, and where are we going?”

For Abioto, the artistic process naturally took her back to her Memphis roots. She looked through Withers and others’ photos from the ‘68 Sanitation Workers’ Strike and decided to track down the man who printed the I AM A MAN signs, Rev. Malcolm Blackburn. The search was ultimately unsuccessful, but led her down a research rabbit hole that included speaking with a representative from the Allied Printing Union over the phone.

Abioto, however, successfully connected with Andrew Withers, Ernest Withers’ son, to discuss their experience during the protests. Andrew, who was 12 at the time, told her about how the arrival of the police turned the event violent and how he and his father ran to their studio on Beale Street to process the photos. 

While speaking with Andrew, Abioto was particularly struck by a photo of a beaten Withers from another protest. It was a reminder of the threats Abioto feels to her own safety as a photographer documenting this current moment in time. 

Specifically, the generational, shared trauma emphasized the need to create art that not just circulates joy, but creates shared memories around it.

“Some of these people will pass. Some have passed. I too will pass,” says Abioto. “Having a shared memory of life is powerful.

The spirit of collaboration was very much a key element in the In—Between planning process. Most notably, participants were excited to facilitate a collaboration between Thomas, an established artist on the national scene, and Abioto, whose work is steadily gaining recognition throughout the country.

“Promoting local artists in a way that allows them to do what they do in a public way and support them in their voice and expression, I think has tremendous value, not only as representation for local people, but as representation of our local community,” says Chenney. “We’re not in a silo. We’re on the West Coast. We have a lot of influence from everywhere, being in the West, versus say, middle America. I think it’s really healthy having that voice that takes you beyond your boundaries but also highlights your own.”

In addition to emphasizing the message that the collaboration sends to the audience, Chenney also notes that it was essential to be sensitive and respectful to the needs of the artists themselves. Combining historical content from both their lives and their art was not a process to be taken lightly. It also required plenty of deliberation on what might best speak to the location of the installation and the needs of the artistic economy.

“It’s really working with a sensitive understanding and respect for these artists and it’s also finding the right note for this place,” says Chenney. “It’s like supporting our farmers and supporting our small businesses who are trying to make a living here. If you’re only looking for big names to be a draw, then inherently you’re going to lose sight of the value of your own community’s contribution.”

With the In—Between project, Chenney believes the planning team found the sweet spot.

John Goodwin, who serves as the Major Gifts Officer for the Portland Art Museum, and also participated in the planning process, agrees. As someone who is incredibly passionate about engaging underrepresented communities with the arts, he was thrilled with the idea of exposing Abioto’s work with the broad, diverse audience traveling the Orange MAX line and giving a West Coast audience in general the opportunity to interact with Thomas’ art.

“We like to talk about bringing the world to Portland and bringing Portland to the world,” says Goodwin. “And when we say the world, we don’t just mean London, Paris, Milan. We mean Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Vancouver. The world also includes those places that the world doesn’t really think about.”

For Goodwin, the mission of engaging underrepresented communities with the arts is very personal. It began when he moved to Portland over 20 years ago and worked as a docent with the University Club. During that time, he couldn’t help but notice and be concerned by the phenomenon that Black and Latinx students seemed noticeably less comfortable than their white counterparts.

From that point on, he made bridging that gap an integral part of his work.

“Because we don’t have the largest population of African or Latinx residents coming to the museum, we have to come to them,” says Goodwin. “We go where you are. Even if we don’t do banners, we try to do other exhibitions.”

After spending years facilitating community arts partnerships with the University Club and the Portland Trailblazers, he recently joined the Portland Art Museum as a staff member. In his current role, he helps connect major art projects with the funding resources they need.

Chenney believes measures like this provide an opportunity for public art projects that the city wouldn’t have otherwise.

“RACC provides a lending hand,” she says. “Most people on the train might not know anything about the artists, but it might pique their curiosity, or at least bring them a little joy.”

However, for Abioto, it’s not just about how her art makes people feel, it’s about what it catalyzes them to do.

“We’re asked to bring our experiences, but it’s not free,” she says. “If white people find joy in my work, that’s not enough. You need to be giving up things. Stuff that’s not yours, that’s never been yours.”

While discussing the implications of In—Between, Abioto can’t help but reflect on another recent installation she presented at Governor Kate Brown’s office. During her time at the Oregon Capitol Building, she was particularly struck by the murals adorning the walls.

A lot of these institutions are not salvageable. Should I put my mind space towards murals in the capital? Those murals are racist. That’s the white settler colonial state. Those are white men and women and settlers. And people who killed the Indigenous people here.

The combination of the pervasiveness of these kinds of murals and monuments and the lack of public art celebrating Oregon’s communities of color highlights the urgency for more projects like In—Between and, seemingly, plenty of future opportunities for Abioto personally.

However, as a result of these experiences and long before the idea of a “post George Floyd” world, Abioto made the decision to become more careful with her work. She has been taking photos just as prolifically, but not publishing them. She has also been collecting work by local Black artists.

In addition to producing, collecting is also important to her because so much of her work has centered on how Portland’s Black artists have lived and, in many ways, not lived. Abioto specifically name checks Charlotte Lewis, a revered community artist who no longer has any murals standing in the city. 

“I’m aware I can be easily erased,” says Abioto. “She died in 1999 and I got here in 2010, and I didn’t hear about her for years. I want something different and my goals are different.

“I’m going to keep making art around our history. I’m going to keep making art around how our life force shifts and changes and chooses in these time periods. In these dreams we’re passing through. In these memories. That’s going to keep happening no matter who’s seeing it. No matter whether I’m in the paper or winning awards. I’m still doing the work.”

Editor’s Notes:

It is the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s responsibility to commission, care for, and maintain public art. As part of RACC’s role working with the City of Portland, we manage Percent for Art projects,  used to bring public art to locations throughout Portland. RACC assembled an artist selection panel composed of community members, artists, representatives from Prosper Portland, the Oregon Convention Center, and project designers Mayer-Reed Landscape Architecture. The panel agreed that goals for the project should include bold artwork that connects to the area’s communities and reflects the general concepts of movement, change, adaptation – addressing a general statement of “where are we going.” This will be the first of a series of temporary installations. Future installations of In—Between will evolve in focus, but will continue to reflect the overall theme of “where are we going.” To learn about opportunities to apply for future installations, artists can follow racc.org on Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to receive public art opportunities in their inbox. Funding comes from the City’s Percent-for-Art ordinance, which set aside 2% of the construction cost for a new parking garage adjacent to the Hyatt at the Oregon Convention Center to create public art. The project was funded through the Oregon Convention Center Urban Renewal Area (OCC URA) managed by Prosper Portland. The URA funds are required to be spent within in the URA boundaries.


Photo by Intisar Abioto

Bruce Poinsette is a writer, educator, and community organizer based in the Portland Metro Area. A former reporter for the Skanner News Group, his work has also appeared in the Oregonian, Street Roots, Oregon Humanities, and We Out Here Magazine, as well as projects such as the Mercatus Collective and the Urban League of Portland’s State of Black Oregon 2015. Poinsette also contracts with the University of Oregon Equity and Inclusion Office and numerous Oregon nonprofits, as well as teaching journalism and creative nonfiction with Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. He hosts the YouTube series “The Blacktastic Adventure: A Virtual Exploration of Oregon’s Black Diaspora.” In addition to his professional writing work, Poinsette also volunteers with Respond to Racism LO, a grassroots anti-racism organization in his hometown of Lake Oswego, Oregon.