“Aspirations for Justice”: public mural created by Multnomah County youth

This summer, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and with swift momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement, many rallied together to protest racial injustice across the nation and here in our own city. Throughout the resistance in Portland, the recently completed Multnomah County Central Courthouse on Southwest First Avenue in downtown Portland became a frequent gathering place for protestors. In response, temporary walls were constructed around the glass courthouse building, intended to protect the new structure from damage. But to Multnomah County Circuit Judge Melvin Oden-Orr, those imposing plywood walls represented an opportunity to break down an entirely different set of barriers by amplifying the voices of young artists.

Inspired by art popping up around the city in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Judge Oden-Orr called for a mural centered on racial justice to fill some of the space on the temporary walls outside the courthouse. Judge Oden-Orr said he feels strongly that, in all moments but particularly this one, it is the responsibility of the court to educate youth on their civil rights and to encourage engagement and activism. So, in fall of 2020 he began hosting conversations with youth from organizations across the Portland metro area. 

Judge Oden-Orr discussed with the youth the judicial system, racism and injustice, citizens’ roles in democracy, and how to actively engage in resisting and dismantling systems of oppression. As part of these conversations, Judge Oden-Orr invited the youth to create art reflecting their feelings, experiences, and hopes for the future. Multnomah County and the Summer Works program provided stipends to the youth as compensation for their work and time. The goal, Judge Oden-Orr said, was “to engage the youth of Multnomah County, celebrate the opening of the new Central Courthouse, and create a visual representation of the aspirations for the court system, from the perspective of our young people.”

In a unique partnership, Multnomah County Circuit Court, Judge Oden-Orr, Multnomah County, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council commissioned muralist Jose Solís to create the final piece of art for the exterior courthouse space. Considering all of the work created by the youth, Solís wove each idea and image into a comprehensive, dynamic work of art. The commission was supported by Multnomah County Percent for Art funds.

Because of the temporary nature of the barrier walls, the mural was painted by Solís in his studio and then photographed and digitally produced to be printed onto aluminum panels. The panels are fixed to the wall with screws, allowing the mural to be moved and repurposed whenever the barrier comes down.

For now, the mural rises up along the sidewalk on Southwest First Avenue as an incredibly powerful demonstration of unity, justice, and hope for the future. The youth artists expressed excitement and pride in having their art represented publicly downtown. In February, Judge Oden-Orr invited the youth who contributed designs and ideas to join him, along with muralist Jose Solís and Chief Justice Cheryl A. Albrecht, to view the finished piece outside the courthouse—a poignant meeting of multi-generational artists, leaders, and change-makers honoring our collective aspirations for justice.

“Aspirations for Justice: Youth Mural Project” Youth Artists and community connections

Court Team: Grace Marcelle, Cate Marshall, Erykah Campbell, Alonzo Campbell, Jr., Jeremiah Campbell, Fatima Brotherson-Erriche

Contractor Team: Amaya Aldridge, D’andrew Jackson, Mia Jordan, Sydnee Jordan, Tamia Thirdgill, Kehinde Timothy, Tye Timothy, Jordan Wallace, Mikaela Woodard, Yasmin Woodard

Native American Youth & Family Center: Forrest Clark, Leya Descombes, Xochitl Nuño

Multnomah Youth Commission: Meron Semere, Naviya Venkitesh

Classroom Law Project: Aggie Roelofs, Maha Ballerstedt

Northwest Family Services: Trinity N., Moises N.

Support Beam Artist Reflection: Mami Takahashi

Mami Takahashi is an artist with SUPPORT BEAM, a new RACC grant program supporting artists’ long term creative practice and livelihood. 

These works are part of my “Seeing You/Seeing Me” project. “Seeing You/Seeing Me,” (previously titled “Hiding and Observing”) is an ongoing project in which I use mirrored domes to hide my body or face during random social interactions with strangers. The domes camouflage and obscure my physicality as an immigrant, and serve as a metaphor for the invisibility/visibility of an immigrant experience, being a foreigner struggling for US citizenship. In 2021-2022, I will be expanding this project into a participatory community project happening in multiple U.S. locations historically connected to the problematic immigration of this country, including Portland, OR; Rabun Gap, GA; North Adams, MA; Chicago, IL; Santa Fe, NM; and elsewhere.


During my recent artist residency at Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Science, Rabun Gap, GA, I met 8 artists from the east coast and southern U.S. It was my first time in the southern part of the U.S. I was kind of excited to meet other artists there right after the legendary GA election of 2020, while a bit nervous to be in a historically conservative state. After a few days of adjustment for me and for them with my accent, I reached out to two Atlanta-based artists to camouflage themselves inside personal domes, which I constructed at the residency. Within each mirrored dome, we were all visually obscured from the outside but still recognizable as human forms.

While in the individual domes, we talked about our thoughts on current and past immigrations including forced, unconscious immigration such as human trafficking, slavery, and Dreamers. The talk was recorded as source material for future sound art. The photographs, video, and recorded conversations from this residency will combine with other documentation from the upcoming performances in 2021-2022.

Within the country’s present political turmoil, immigrants’ subjective struggles have been quietly buried deep in the bustle of daily life, their accented voices casually brushed aside in loud public forums. This combination of audio recordings and other documentation allows for the full scope of the project to breathe – the full breadth of the complexity of immigrants in the U.S..

-Mami Takahashi

Images made during a recent residency in Camp Colton, OR. Photographer: Adian McBride. Artist support at Camp Colton funded by Stelo Art (previously known as c3:initiative).

More from the artist: mamitakahashi.art and on Instagram.

Mami Takahashi is an artist from Tokyo, currently based in Portland, Oregon. Using photography, performance, installation and urban intervention, her practice explores the complexities of being Japanese and a woman living in the US. The photographic works from the early development of the ongoing project, “Seeing you/Seeing Me”, are currently on exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, Oregon in an exhibition entitled The Unknown Artist, curated by Lucy Cotter. 

For more updates and ongoing stories from Support Beam artists, follow along on Instagram at #RACCSupportBeam.

Annual Report Complete list of grants Awarded

Complete list of grants Awarded to Artists, Arts Organizations, and Artistic Projects in FY2018-19

Further details about awarded grants are available on our Awarded Grants page here.

Grantee Grantee Type Grant Type Award Amount
45th Parallel Organization Project $5,000
Abreu, Manuel Individual Project $7,000
Adams-Santos, Stephanie Individual Professional Development $1,370
Advance Gender Equity in the Arts Organization Project $3,680
Ake, Jody Individual Professional Development $900
Akins, Crystal Individual Project $6,950
Alford, Jea Individual Professional Development $1,800
Algoso, Luann Individual Project $6,640
Allotey, Nii Ardey Individual Project $6,120
Alvarado, Amaya Individual Project $5,880
Amadeus Chamber Orchestra Organization Project $5,000
Aman, Steve Individual Project $5,600
Amorin, DB Individual Project $6,000
Anderson, Karl Individual Project $6,000
Anuntarungsun, May Individual Project $3,750
APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) Organization Project $7,000
Architecture Foundation of Oregon Organization Project $5,250
Artback Organization Project $4,500
Artists Repertory Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Artists Repertory Theatre Organization Equity Investments $25,000
Artists Repertory Theatre Organization General Support $69,500
Atwood, Evan Individual Project $6,300
August Wilson Red Door Project Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
August Wilson Red Door Project Organization General Support $12,000
August Wilson Red Door Project Organization Equity Investments $25,000
Awbrey, Olivia Individual Project $6,260
Bach Cantata Choir Organization Project $5,480
Bacior Emanuelson, Robin Individual Professional Development $1,428
Bag & Baggage Productions Organization General Support $10,000
Barrera, Claire Individual Project $6,510
Beaverton Civic Theatre Organization Project $6,260
Bedrock Theatre Organization Project $1,500
Bienestar Organization Project $5,950
Binns, Heather Individual Professional Development $900
Bleckinger, Sundance Individual Professional Development $1,213
Blue Sky Gallery Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Blue Sky Gallery Organization General Support $11,700
BodyVox Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
BodyVox Organization General Support $31,600
Boom Arts Organization Professional Development $1,000
Boom Arts Organization General Support $10,500
Bracker, Rachel Individual Project $6,920
Brahim, Sarah Individual Professional Development $1,650
Brandt, David Individual Project $6,300
Brinkman, Lisa Individual Professional Development $1,080
Broadway Rose Theatre Company Organization General Support $23,000
Brooks, RaShaunda Individual Project $6,300
Brown, Emma Individual Project $5,000
Brown, Sage Individual Professional Development $900
Buchner, Eric Individual Professional Development $1,500
Butler-Denman, Lyra Individual Project $5,440
Byrne-Seres, Spencer Individual Project $5,250
c3:initiative Organization Project $6,300
Campbell-Balkits, Maura Individual Professional Development $1,219
Cappella Romana Organization General Support $13,800
Cappella Romana Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Carpenter, Allynn Individual Project $5,740
Cascadia Composers Organization Project $5,530
Central City Concern Organization Project $6,000
Chamber Music Northwest Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Chamber Music Northwest Organization General Support $39,600
Chang, Lisa Individual Professional Development $1,700
Chang, Wei-Chun Individual Project $6,300
Children’s Healing Art Project Organization General Support $13,400
Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Chipman, Pamela Individual Professional Development $900
Choi, Yoonhee Individual Professional Development $1,200
Clark, Merideth Individual Project $5,780
Clarren, Rebecca Individual Project $5,410
Classical Up Close Organization Project $4,870
CoHo Productions Organization General Support $12,800
CoHo Productions Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Colligan, George Individual Project $3,000
Collins, Max Individual Project $4,300
Community Vision Organization Project $2,250
Compton, Amy Individual Project $6,300
Connelly, Brittney Individual Project $6,140
Corrib Theatre Organization Project $7,000
Couch Film Collective Organization Project $3,390
Crenshaw, Jana Individual Project $7,000
Curington, Susan Individual Project $5,530
CymaSpace Organization Professional Development $2,000
CymaSpace Organization Project $7,000
Czyzewicz, Alexandra Individual Professional Development $900
Dahl, Dicky Individual Project $5,880
Dahwen Wu, Roland Individual Professional Development $1,800
Dance Wire Organization Professional Development $1,800
Darnell, Tiara Individual Project $5,790
Davee, Edward Individual Project $6,860
de Bastion, Myles Individual Project $5,950
Del Individual Project $6,360
Desautels, Jeffrey Individual Project $2,080
Design Museum Portland Organization Project $5,600
Díaz, Sophia Individual Project $5,210
Disability Art and Culture Project Organization Capacity Building $10,000
Disability Art and Culture Project Organization Capacity Building $15,000
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center Organization General Support $13,900
Division Midway Alliance Organization Project $4,800
dodd, jayy Individual Project $1,800
Doran, Sean Individual Project $5,610
Doughton, Steven Individual Project $7,000
Eao, Emmeline Individual Project $6,850
Echo Theater Company Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Echo Theater Company Organization General Support $15,300
Edwards Center, Inc. Organization Project $5,950
Egan, Catherine Individual Professional Development $1,998
Egan, Catherine Individual Project $2,490
Emanuelson, Erik Individual Professional Development $1,586
en Taiko Organization Project $7,000
Estacada Area Arts Commission Organization Project $6,300
Ethos Inc. Organization Equity Investments $22,000
Ethos Inc. Organization General Support $29,600
Ethos Music Center Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Ewell, Derek Individual Project $6,640
Experience Theatre Project Organization Project $3,400
Fear No Music Organization Project $6,400
Ferm, Mia Individual Professional Development $1,000
Flint, Joshua Individual Professional Development $1,767
Fogel, Stephanie Individual Project $6,300
Fonograf Editions Organization Project $6,280
Friends of Chamber Music Organization General Support $19,000
Fuemmeler, Anthony Individual Project $6,970
Fuller Rosen Gallery Organization Project $1,850
Fuse Theatre Ensemble Organization Project $6,230
Galen, Michael Individual Professional Development $1,950
García Marrufo, Rubén Individual Project $7,000
Gaskill, Dora Individual Project $3,640
Gilbert , Benjamin Individual Professional Development $600
Gilley, Damien Individual Professional Development $545
Girls Inc of the Pacific NW Organization Project $5,250
Gonzalez, Brisa Individual Professional Development $1,800
Gooden, Justus Tyrone Individual Project $6,650
Grant, Darrell Individual Professional Development $1,920
Green, Cheryl Individual Project $5,850
Greenwood-Rioseco, Anne Individual Project $6,200
Gugenheim Kedem, Shoshana Individual Project $6,290
Hamilton, Jo Individual Professional Development $1,656
Hamilton, Jo Individual Project $6,520
Hand2Mouth Organization General Support $8,000
Hand2Mouth Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Hand2Mouth Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Hankins, Allie Individual Project $5,470
Haque, Sabina Zeba Individual Project $7,000
Hare, Lauren Individual Professional Development $900
Hasan, Elijah Individual Project $5,600
Hayes, Marlana Individual Professional Development $1,500
Hearn, Dot Individual Project $7,000
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest Organization Project $5,910
Henniger, Michael Individual Project $3,870
Hocking, Justin Individual Project $6,300
Holley, Kennard Individual Project $6,300
Hollywood Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Hollywood Theatre Organization General Support $38,300
Hough, Kurtis Individual Project $5,870
Imago Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Imago Theatre Organization General Support $15,500
Independent Publishing Resource Center Organization General Support $10,600
Independent Publishing Resource Center Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Independent Publishing Resource Center Organization Equity Investments $31,050
India Cultural Association Organization Project $5,000
Irving, Apricot Individual Professional Development $1,501
Jacobs, Diane Individual Project $6,300
JANE a theater company Organization Project $5,950
Jarrett, Lisa Individual Project $7,000
Johnstone, Eve Individual Project $4,600
Jones Redstone, Dawn Individual Project $6,990
Kataoka, Ayako Individual Professional Development $1,237
Kawano, Yukiyo Individual Professional Development $2,000
Keller, Zoe Individual Professional Development $485
Kim, Una Individual Project $6,970
Klauder, Caleb Individual Project $5,250
Koff, David Individual Project $2,780
Kolosowsky, Natalya Individual Project $6,780
Kowalska, Melinda Individual Project $4,560
Kristin, Wil Individual Project $6,490
Kuttab, Amy Individual Project $5,410
Lakewood Center for the Arts Organization General Support $21,000
Larson, Kendra Individual Project $2,650
Latino Network Organization Project $4,970
Leeb, Jordana Individual Project $3,100
Lesperance, Ellen Individual Professional Development $960
Letra Chueca Press Organization Project $5,130
Li, Yuan-Chen Individual Professional Development $800
LineStorm Playwrights Organization Project $4,180
Lippert, Sophie Individual Project $6,170
Literary Arts Organization General Support $45,000
Literary Arts Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Little, Willie Individual Project $6,250
Live On Stage Organization Project $6,950
Live Wire! Radio Organization General Support $15,200
Live Wire! Radio Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Long, Eric Individual Project $4,010
Long, Taylor Individual Professional Development $1,787
Longstreth, Katherine Individual Project $6,050
Lowe, Janie Individual Project $6,930
Martin, Barbara Individual Professional Development $766
Martin, Sommer Individual Project $6,970
Matheson, William Individual Project $2,260
Matlow, Cambria Individual Professional Development $1,227
Matlow, Cambria Individual Project $5,600
McGeorge , Megan Individual Project $5,060
McKinley, Melinda Individual Professional Development $1,300
McNamara, Jason Individual Project $4,950
MediaRites Organization Capacity Building $10,000
MediaRites Organization Capacity Building $15,000
Mefford, Benjamin Individual Project $2,880
Mehta, Jessica Individual Professional Development $1,750
Mehta, Jessica Individual Project $5,220
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Organization General Support $19,700
Miles, Rhen Individual Project $5,360
Milholland, Lola Individual Project $5,380
Miller, Emily Individual Professional Development $300
Miller, Emily Individual Project $3,580
Miller, Grant Individual Project $5,600
Miller, Kristen Individual Professional Development $2,000
Miracle Theatre Group Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Miracle Theatre Group Organization Equity Investments $16,500
Miracle Theatre Group Organization General Support $21,000
Mitchell, S. Renee Individual Project $6,930
Monroe, Lacey Individual Professional Development $900
Montavilla Jazz Festival Organization Project $3,600
Morris, Elise Individual Project $5,890
Morris-Judd, Nancy Individual Project $7,000
Moscoso, Jose Individual Project $6,290
Moss, Eva Individual Project $6,300
Moulton, Suzanne Individual Project $6,300
Musica Maestrale Organization Project $2,930
My Voice Music Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
My Voice Music Organization General Support $9,800
Myers, Arwen Individual Professional Development $1,820
Nakano, Ryan Individual Project $6,300
Native American Youth and Family Center Organization Project $6,300
New Expressive Works Organization Project $6,300
Ng, Xi Jie Individual Project $4,420
Ngo, Aja Individual Project $5,370
Northwest Children’s Theater & School Organization Equity Investments $10,000
Northwest Children’s Theater & School Organization General Support $52,300
Northwest Children’s Theater & School Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Northwest Classical Theatre Collaborative Organization Project $6,300
Northwest Dance Project Organization General Support $34,200
Northwest Dance Project Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Novarino, Jade Individual Professional Development $1,200
NW Documentary Arts & Media Organization General Support $8,000
NW Documentary Arts & Media Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
One World Chorus Organization Project $6,950
Onstott, Cosper Individual Project $6,300
Opera Theater of Oregon Organization Project $5,400
Opera Theater of Oregon Organization Project $5,950
Oregon ArtsWatch Organization Project $7,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $126,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre Organization General Support $131,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre Organization Equity Investments $20,000
Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras Organization General Support $14,600
Oregon Children’s Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Oregon Children’s Theatre Organization Equity Investments $10,000
Oregon Children’s Theatre Organization General Support $72,900
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Organization Project $6,980
Oregon Symphonic Band Organization Project $2,380
Oregon Symphony Association Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $200,000
Oregon Symphony Association Organization General Support $352,000
O’Rourke, Rachel Individual Project $4,480
Ortega, Rodolfo Individual Professional Development $1,700
Our Bold Voices Organization Project $5,020
Outside the Frame Organization Project $7,000
Pacific Northwest College of Art Organization Project $7,000
Pacific Youth Choir Organization Project $6,530
PassinArt: A Theatre Company Organization Project $5,930
PCC Sylvania Organization Project $6,900
PDX Jazz Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
PDX Jazz Organization General Support $17,200
PDX Pop Now! Organization Project $7,000
Pearl, Cora Individual Professional Development $1,530
Pendulum Aerial Arts Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Performance Works NorthWest Organization Project $5,840
Perini, Julie Individual Professional Development $820
PETE Organization General Support $8,000
PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble) Organization Project $5,950
PHAME Organization Equity Investments $20,000
PHAME Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
PHAME Organization General Support $13,700
Phillips, Mo Individual Project $4,010
PlayWrite Organization General Support $10,100
PlayWrite, Inc. Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Polaris Dance Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Polaris Dance Theatre Organization General Support $12,300
Politzer, Kerry Individual Project $6,870
Portland Art Museum/Northwest Film Center Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $200,000
Portland Art Museum/Northwest Film Center Organization General Support $427,000
Portland Baroque Orchestra Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Portland Baroque Orchestra Organization General Support $28,700
Portland Center Stage Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $126,000
Portland Center Stage Organization General Support $225,000
Portland Center Stage Organization Equity Investments $52,500
Portland Chamber Music Organization Project $1,500
Portland Columbia Symphony Organization General Support $13,200
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) Organization Project $5,950
Portland Festival Symphony Organization Project $5,180
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Organization Equity Investments $9,000
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Organization General Support $14,700
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Organization Equity Investments $40,000
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Organization General Support $41,900
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Portland Japanese Garden Organization Project $5,600
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Organization Professional Development $1,500
Portland Latin American Film Festival Organization Project $7,000
Portland Meet Portland Organization Project $5,600
Portland Opera Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $126,000
Portland Opera Organization General Support $214,000
Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival Organization Project $7,000
Portland Piano International Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Portland Piano International Organization General Support $20,000
Portland Playhouse Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Portland Playhouse Organization General Support $23,000
Portland Playhouse Organization Equity Investments $40,000
Portland SummerFest Organization Project $5,600
Portland Taiko Organization Project $3,920
Portland Tango Association Inc Organization Project $5,600
Portland Youth Philharmonic Association Organization General Support $23,800
Portland Youth Philharmonic Association Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Portland Youth Philharmonic Association Organization Equity Investments $12,000
Profile Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Profile Theatre Organization General Support $17,100
Profile Theatre Organization Equity Investments $50,000
Provax, Alyson Individual Project $5,790
Psaltis, Reid Individual Professional Development $1,387
Public Annex Organization Project $6,500
Purvis, Charles Individual Professional Development $630
push/FOLD Organization Project $5,250
Q Center Organization Project $5,360
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival Organization Project $7,000
Rafter, Kate Individual Professional Development $1,800
Ratner, Bonnie Individual Professional Development $1,500
Rengill, Elilai Individual Project $4,980
Resonance Ensemble Organization Project $6,350
Rier, Erika Individual Project $1,240
Ripper, Karina Individual Project $7,000
Risk/Reward Organization Project $7,000
Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls Organization General Support $10,500
Roushan, Raziah Individual Project $6,570
Sanchez, Michael Individual Professional Development $810
Shambry, Vin Individual Project $5,850
Shine Children’s Chorus Organization Project $5,860
Signal Fire Organization Project $6,870
Simonds, Jake Individual Professional Development $1,750
Singh, Anupam Individual Project $5,850
Sinner, Lauren Individual Professional Development $900
Slavic Community Center of NW Organization Project $6,260
Solunaya, Reina Individual Project $6,300
Steele, Jenelle Individual Professional Development $1,740
Stevens, Melanie Individual Project $3,800
Stewart, Aremy Individual Professional Development $900
Stigant, Mandy Individual Project $4,930
StockLynn, Jack Individual Project $6,620
Strand, Julie Individual Project $7,000
Street Books Organization Professional Development $1,800
Street Roots Organization Project $6,650
Swanson, Jennifer Individual Professional Development $995
Syharath, Samson Individual Project $4,500
Takohachi Organization Project $6,240
Taylor Blakemore, Kim Individual Professional Development $1,700
The Circus Project Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
The Circus Project Organization General Support $12,800
The Giving Tree NW Organization Project $3,730
The Portland Ballet Organization General Support $24,100
The Portland Ballet Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $42,000
Theatre Vertigo Organization Project $3,870
Third Angle New Music Ensemble Organization General Support $8,000
Third Angle New Music Ensemble Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $14,000
Third Rail Repertory Theatre Organization General Support $29,100
Third Rail Repertory Theatre Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $33,000
Thomas, Alison Individual Professional Development $1,000
Tiedemann, Sarah Individual Project $4,930
Tillman, Kai Individual Project $6,950
tomasello, taryn Individual Professional Development $1,500
Torres, Ikaika Individual Project $6,870
Tran, Minh Individual Project $7,000
Trask, Kirista Individual Project $4,490
Triangle Productions Organization General Support $13,000
Triangle Productions Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Trotter, Stephanie Individual Project $3,510
Trujillo, Juan Individual Project $5,600
Turner, Sarah Individual Project $5,250
Urban Art Network Organization Professional Development $2,000
Vanport Mosaic Organization Capacity Building $10,000
Vanport Mosaic Organization Capacity Building $15,000
Vazquez Gomez, Patricia Individual Project $6,500
Vigeant, Leslie Individual Project $2,210
Viva La Free<Kenton Action Plan Organization Project $7,000
Vivas, Maya Individual Professional Development $2,000
Vivian, Chanel Individual Project $5,560
Vo, Anna Individual Project $6,650
Vos, Mike Individual Project $3,220
Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) Organization Project $5,970
Water in the Desert Organization Project $7,000
Westside Youth Choir Organization Project $1,910
White Bird Organization General Support $42,100
White Bird Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Whitworth, Joni Individual Project $5,600
Wilcke, Lisa Individual Project $2,200
Willamette Writers Organization Project $6,590
Wilson, Dan Individual Project $5,260
Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council Organization Project $2,700
Wolf, Cameron Individual Project $6,590
WolfBird Dance Organization Project $6,210
World Arts Foundation, Inc. Organization Project $7,000
World Stage Theatre Organization Project $5,820
Write Around Portland Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $18,500
Write Around Portland Organization General Support $13,400
Wu, Chliu-Mie Individual Professional Development $1,930
XRAY.FM Organization Project $5,000
Yamamoto, Takahiro Individual Project $5,850
Yanke, Erin Individual Project $5,500
Yarbrough, Xavier Individual Project $6,280
Yoshikawa, Ken Individual Professional Development $683
Young Audiences of Oregon Organization General Support $46,100
Young Audiences of Oregon Organization Special Allocation of AEAF Funds $64,500
Zingsheim, Crystal Individual Professional Development $1,500

Hank Willis Thomas and Intisar Abioto featured in a new public art project, In—Between

A new temporary public art project is being installed along the median strip on NE Holladay Street between the Oregon Convention Center and the new Hyatt Hotel and parking structure. As part of a new series called In—Between, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invited Portland-based artist Intisar Abioto and Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas to create ten banners, each 10 feet tall, featuring the artists’ words and images. The banners will appear on five posts along NE Holladay Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 1st Avenue through May 31.

Funding comes from the city’s Percent-for-Art ordinance, which sets aside 2% of the construction costs for Prosper Portland’s new parking garage to create public art. An artist selection panel was composed of community members, artists and representatives from Prosper Portland, the Oregon Convention Center, 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.”

With this pilot exhibition, the panel seized on an opportunity to feature internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist Hank William Thomas, whose work is currently featured in an exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, and pairing him with a local multi-disciplinary artist in Intisar Abioto.

Please note: There has been a delay in installing the banners. Stay tuned; more information about this project will be posted on racc.org after December 10.


but you already knew that

by Maya Vivas

As an artist, community member, and co-director of a small non-profit arts organization (Ori Gallery),  I’ve not only experienced what it’s like to navigate the Portland arts scene as a person holding multiple marginalized identities, but I am also a witness to what is prioritized, what is celebrated, and what is neglected. 

For nearly two years I’ve worked as an arts organizer at Ori Gallery, a collaborative project between myself, Leila Haile, and the Portland Community. We aim to uplift the voices of Trans and Queer Creatives of Color via art exhibitions, community organizing, and mobilization through the arts. Located in the heart of a gentrified neighborhood that was previously a Redlined area of town Ori Gallery is first and foremost about the reclamation of space and prioritizing the leadership of those most impacted by white supremacy, transphobia, and ableism. Our location here is significant because Mississippi/Albina area is historically black neighborhood and was once teeming with culture of black and brown Portlanders. As it stands right now, out of the 80+ that dwell on Mississippi Ave. the only black-owned spaces are Ori Gallery and the St Joseph Grand Lodge (founded in 1940). Ori Gallery has become an act of radical reclamation and a landmark in a city where working-class creatives of color struggle to make space for themselves.

Within the context of Oregon and Portland specifically, I see an extreme lack of representation by artists who depict the racial, gender and sexual diversity that exists here. Divestment, gentrification, and disenfranchisement have crippled our communities and within that, the cultural production that comes from that very struggle is often co-opted without due credit or compensation. This manifests in the continued struggle for studio space, the closing of smaller artist-run galleries, lack of opportunities and financial support. Most efforts to rectify the need for space feel as though it’s a little too late. The inertia of gentrification has already taken hold and the result is the continued prioritization of business over people. People who create culture. This leads to closures of DIY spaces that deserve just as much attention as any museum. If we seek to view Portland as a cultural hub there must be support for artist-run spaces that lend a platform to those most marginalized. I fear that if we continue down this path, we fail to support the next generation of creatives.

Support for artists means more than commissioning a mural in a gentrified area. Support means giving much-needed resources for the most marginalized artists to explore and develop their own practice. Those in positions of power must be careful to not repeat paternalistic practices and trust that artists know what they need and that they will, by nature, be the creators of culture. When speaking to my community I hear cries for more accessible ways to apply for and receive grants and other means of financial support. When support is given, often times this comes along with a deluge of bureaucracy. Which, for smaller organizations whose members often work multiple jobs to sustain themselves, gets in the way of doing the work or deters one from asking for help altogether. I hear calls for institutions to take the time to talk to people on an individual level and get to know the work up close and personal. For the organizations that do grant financial awards, there is much opportunity to strengthen community via serving as a bridge between grantees. Connecting them to create a cohort that can collaborate and mutually support one another. And to offer more assistance in navigating things such as taxes, accounting, and city bureaucracy. 

But we know this already. 

When asked to assess something so nebulous as the state of the arts in Portland it is really difficult for me to not come from a place of cynicism. It feels as though our repetitive, calls for resources and support, from the very institutions that claim to be civil servants, are being ignored. So we, as we have done since time and memorial, create our own spaces. Spaces where there is no need for an explanatory comma. I want to be hopeful. I want to live in a reality where my community feels celebrated and valued. This is why we do the work.



As part of RACC’s 2018 State of the Arts report to Portland City Council, three local creatives shared their experiences as artists and arts administrators in Portland. (You can watch their 2018 testimonies here.) This article was written as a current reflection to the “state of the arts” in Portland. What is their experience now? What makes them anxious? What makes them hopeful? What issues do they and/or their communities face as the city continues to change? What is their vision for the future? 

Other essays from this report can be read here 

Maya Vivas is a ceramic sculptor and performance artist based in Portland Oregon and co-founder of Ori Gallery. Whose mission is to redefine “the white cube” through amplifying the voices of Queer and Trans Artists of color, community organizing and mobilization through the arts.

The Unity Project: Unlocking Exploration in Our Foster Youth

by Taryn Sauer

When we invest in the creativity of our youth, we open doors to fundamental facets of learning and self-discovery. This is exactly what Color Outside the Lines has been involved in for almost a decade: harnessing creative expression in foster children and opportunity youth* as a way of connecting with themselves and their community. For Color Outside the Lines’ latest RACC-funded program, the Unity Project, they paired 24 youths with 24 Portland artists to create original works of art that will adorn the Burnside Rocket Building at 1111 E Burnside St.

Youth in artist’s studio for the Unity Project.

Sitting five stories high, this structure will be refreshed with hand-painted 4×6 panels showcasing unique images and stories from each collaborative pair’s creation. From a shared love of dragons and psychedelic colors to an iconic bison representing a foster youth’s Native American heritage, this large scale mural is as diverse as the partnerships who composed them. All of this was by design.  Color Outside the Lines Founder and Creative Director Anna Barlow, alongside Development Director Crystal Ramberg, interviewed dozens of local artists. They sought to connect each foster youth with an artist whose style matched their interests. As Barlow explained:

“When we found out a little boy was into heavy metal and skateboarding or a young girl who loved everything whimsical, we knew who to pair them with. We wanted these relationships to go beyond a teaching experience and see these partnerships grow.”

What began as a summer apprenticeship between local artists and foster youths blossomed into a mentorship between two creatives. Studio time became bonding time. As each pair’s paintings grew, so did their shared vision and strong sense of camaraderie. This could not be more true for nine-year-old D and her artist partner, Jennifer Gillia Cutshall whose joint mural panel is emblematic of the bonds formed through their creative expression. It was said their connection was instant. “D’s artistic spirit matched mine and we worked together well, allowing inspiration to flow freely between us,” Cutshall remembers. “We made decisions together and altered the initial design to mirror the symbolism that matched us as a team.”

Entitled “Lady Justice is the High Rise of Unity,” their painting combines Cutshall’s fascination of powerful empresses with D’s love of nature and animals. Peaceful doves became city pigeons, those often overlooked yet resilient birds. And as D danced around the studio and sang her favorite song, “Blackbirds” by the Beatles, she and Cutshall thought black birds should also grace their painting. “We used pigeons and blackbirds because people don’t usually notice them,” D noted. “The pigeons are the underdogs and the blackbirds symbolize freedom from oppression.”

D and artist Jennifer Gillia Cutshall painting the final touches on their piece.

All of this from nine-year-old D who entered into the project overflowing with enthusiasm. She couldn’t wait to get to the studio after school and paint alongside Cutsall. Over paint brushes and acrylics, talks about their days became conversations of inspiration and hope; discovering deeper connections in one another each session. During the process of Cutshall painting spruced up bird nests with soft grays and browns, she looked at D and realized, D is Lady Justice: “She is hope, possibility, and she possesses the triumphant spirit of a brave warrior.”

Cutshall asked D if she would be the model for their empress and D delightedly exclaimed, “Yes!” The apprentice became a muse and together they merged their creative ideas into one. Little by little, their painting revealed progressive nuances in their completed mural. Their Lady Justice, who is traditionally blindfolded, gazes out onto the city with the awareness of youth’s power to overcome and shape a future in equity and unity. The unyielding power in their message is translated in every brushstroke that grew stronger through their time together.

For Cutshall, this partnership was a win-win. When Ramberg tapped her for the Unity Project, she embraced the opportunity. To be able to possibly inspire a young person and witness their growth was all she hoped for, but what she received was far more than she expected.

“There’s a bond that happens when you create something,” Cutshall said with a smile. “It sort of fast paces the friendship or connection to the person. D probably brings that out in everyone. She’s a super great kid to just be around. I’m sure I’m not alone in connecting with her instantly and I’m just grateful to have experienced this with her.”

Once the Unity Project was complete, all artist pairs reunited on October 12th where art lovers and supporters gathered at the Red Ecotrust. The 24 murals were on display for all to enjoy as the young artists reflected upon their time spent together–a summer filled with warm days in a studio that came to feel more like their own; a season they won’t soon forget.

In early November, the Burnside Rocket will be enhanced with these mini murals for the entire city to see. As these young artists grow, memories of a summer spent in self-discovery and creativity will live on for many years to come.

As for the future, the Unity Project seeks to create more opportunities like this and the collaborative artworks are just the beginning. Through community partnerships, the next phase dives deeper into nurturing each participant’s interests by opening up more avenues of expression through dance, digital media, music, sculpture, and more. The possibilities for creativity are boundless. All they need is that first spark of connection.


*opportunity youth: This term seeks to reframe language around the depiction of “at-risk youths.” By developing new words to describe our young people who face unique life challenges, we can reshape the trajectory of their future.

Taryn Sauer is an industrious writer with a copyeditor’s eye and a poet’s hand. Her work has appeared in a variety of newspapers and culinary publications, but what she’s proudest of is the small press zine, Facade, she created with her friends to raise funds for Planned Parenthood. When she’s not writing, you can find her in the kitchen recreating her grandmother’s New Mexican recipes. Check out more of Taryn’s work here.

Introducing Giyen Kim, City Arts Program Manager

The City of Portland has hired Giyen Kim to serve as the new City Arts Program Manager.

With a public service career spanning nearly two decades, Giyen’s diverse background includes work in affordable housing, environmental conservation, policy development, homeless response, marketing and emergency management. She also brings a strong interest in the arts and a commitment to creating access to art in every part of the city.

Photo: Giyen Kim (right) and her daughter, Jaeeun. Jaeeun works at the Office of Arts and Culture in Seattle.

Photo: Giyen Kim (right) and her daughter, Jaeeun. Jaeeun works at the Office of Arts and Culture in Seattle.

Giyen’s passion for serving the community began at Capitol Hill Housing, where she oversaw the day-to-day management of the organization’s $100M affordable housing portfolio and increased access to housing by revising housing eligibility requirements that disproportionately impacted communities of color. In 2009, Giyen transitioned to the environmental sector as the Operations Director for Forterra, a nonprofit organization working to create a more sustainable future for all by securing and protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of urban, rural and wild spaces. There, she co-chaired the organization’s first conversation on diversity and equity, and later as Director of Marketing and Development, oversaw a rebranding effort which pivoted a traditional land conservancy into a regional organization that advocated for smart growth as an impetus for preserving of natural landscapes. She also organized Forterra’s first “Art and the Environment” series, connecting Forterra’s donors and stakeholders with local artists and makers.

Most recently, Giyen worked for the City of Seattle, where she was a Strategic Advisor for Seattle IT and a Business Analyst for Seattle Public Utilities. She also served as part of the Mayor’s homeless response team, where she coordinated interagency outreach and mitigation efforts. We asked Giyen a few questions to help introduce her to the local arts community.


RACC: Welcome to your new position! How are you approaching the role of City Arts Manager?

Giyen: I am approaching this role in the same way as I approach most things in my life—listen and be curious about people and how things work.

You recently moved here from Seattle, but you grew up on the Southern Oregon Coast and have lived in Portland before. Can you tell us a little bit about your observations of Portland, and how it compares to Seattle?

This is the most frequently asked question since I’ve moved here! Portland is a breathtaking city, and my observation of Portlanders is that they are exceedingly nice. People say good morning to strangers on the street—which doesn’t always happen in Seattle—and I enjoy connecting with neighbors this way.  Since it’s only been a few weeks, comparing the two cities is hard. What I will say is that while Portland and Seattle face such similar challenges around issues like affordability, gentrification, and homelessness—the approach to addressing them appears different. Part of it is having so many jurisdictions in one small geographic footprint and part of it is that the DNA of this region is to think outside the box.

How do you define “culture” and “the arts”?

I personally define “the arts” in the broadest sense—as vehicle to tell stories and as a means of creative self-expression. This could mean Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D-Minor, as well as Humble by Kendrick Lamar.  I approach the definition of “culture” in the same broad way. Culture articulates a set of values and behaviors that evokes a sense of belonging for a community or subsection of a community. This is where I see art intersect with culture in a very powerful way. I can still remember when I saw the first painting of an Asian depicted in a modern everyday setting, instead of what’s typically displayed in museums. It made me weepy and emotional to see it. Seeing my story represented in a piece of modern art gave me a sense of place, safety and belonging.

That said, as the City Arts Manager, it’s not for me to define what arts and culture is to Portland. It’s my job to help facilitate the conversation and ensure that everyone is at the table to have that discussion.

Is there anything particular that you’re looking forward to doing in Portland?

I am really excited to see some public art. It’s silly, but I have a goal of seeing every piece in the City’s vast art collection!

What can you tell us about the city’s priorities for arts and culture in the next 6-12 months, and how you’ll be spending your first year.

My first year will be focused on developing relationships and understanding the priorities of the arts community and the metro region. I am not going assume strategies that have worked in Seattle, will work in Portland. There will be a period of outreach and getting to know this City’s vibrant arts culture and deepening my understanding of RACC’s vision and strategy.

I take my role as a steward of public dollars very seriously. I want to ensure that the residents of Portland are getting value from their investment and I want to figure out new ways that we can articulate how the City and RACC are supporting a more vibrant, innovative and inclusive arts and culture scene that accessible to all ages.

And of course, making progress on any outstanding audit items is a huge priority.

Many folks in the local arts community are eager to meet you. Where can they find you, how can they get ahold of you?

I am very eager to meet with the local arts community! Now that I’ve settled in, I am really looking forward to immersing myself in this special community and really understanding the opportunities that are out there. The best way to reach me is at giyen.kim@portlandoregon.gov. Let’s meet for coffee or a walk around your neighborhood.


Thank you, Giyen!

A deep dive to review and strengthen RACC

by Madison Cario

Since arriving in Portland nine months ago, my time has been filled with stories. Stories from artists, the community, our partners, our supporters and of course, some of our critics. I have heard an incredible range of anecdotes and ideas, I have listened to feedback, and I have enjoyed conversations around the question of “why”—why art and culture are essential, why RACC exists, and of course, why art and equity matter.

These stories have brought to life the goals and objectives that RACC’s Board of Directors—in alignment with the City of Portland and the community at large—established for me when I was hired. Key priorities were to evaluate RACC’s challenges and opportunities, and to develop a strategic plan ensuring that RACC can fully realize its vision—and responsibility—to support and advance a thriving, equitable and inclusive arts and culture environment throughout the region.

In service to this vision, it has become very clear to me that RACC must engage in a deep internal review, evaluating our own organization from within before we engage the community in establishing new priorities for the future. This work is essential to strengthen RACC’s foundation and to set us up for doing more good work in our community.

I am truly excited to embark on what we are calling a “deep dive.” I came to RACC to lead the organization into a new chapter, implement change, and strengthen our important work. This is exactly what we aim to do and I want us to be as transparent as possible throughout the process. So here is what we plan to do next:

First we will conduct an independent review of our financial structure and systems. Fortunately, we have a great track record of solid accounting practices and controls as verified every year through independent financial audits. At the same time we know that many of our financial systems could be improved for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

  • We have hired a third party to review our budget and analyze the cost of RACC’s projects and programs.
  • This assessment includes a review of financial statements and reporting systems, recommendations for process improvements, an assessment of the capabilities and limitations of our finance and accounting software, and recommendations for staffing and structuring the finance team.
  • I should also note that RACC completed a pay equity study this past summer, which showed balanced and appropriate compensation among our team. We made some minor adjustments in response to the study’s recommendations.

Second, we will transform RACC’s internal culture. It is essential that we lead on issues of equity and inclusion, and ensure that RACC has a vibrant, forward-thinking culture that reflects the thriving communities we serve. To do this work, we will take these steps:

  • This summer, RACC issued an RFP for a partner to work with the staff and board over an 18-month period to build a comprehensive plan for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access—including comprehensive training and mentoring programs. The search committee is in the final phase of reviewing proposals, and we expect this work to begin in November, building on equity-focused workshops that we completed over the past few years.
  • We are also in the final phases of hiring an internal, part-time Equity & Organizational Culture Facilitator who will help guide the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access consultants. RACC also has a strong Staff Equity Workgroup that reorganized this past year, and I am grateful to them for moving much of this work forward.
  • We will retain a third party to review our HR systems, policies and procedures with a particular equity focus on hiring practices, professional development, supervision, retention, attrition, and compliance. A search for that partner is now underway.

These priorities represent the most important next steps in RACC’s strategic planning process. We continue to be guided by questions about our future: What will Portland and its citizenry look like in the years ahead? What needs, opportunities, trends, and personas will arise, and what will be the best role for RACC to play going forward? One thing we know for sure: our region will rely on art, equity and efficiency to succeed, and it is incumbent upon RACC to ensure that our internal systems are strong as we set out to merge these priorities in service to the community.

This work will go deep, and take 3-6 months to complete before we continue into the next, more public phases of strategic planning. These internal reviews will become the foundation for our path forward, reflecting our commitment to equity and our obligation to ensure that everyone in our community has access to culture, creativity and the arts.

I am grateful to RACC’s many stakeholders for their ongoing support, and remain inspired by the region’s strong commitment to arts and culture. We are excited to build an even stronger support system for the future of our arts and culture community, and I welcome your comments and questions at any time. You can reach me at ed@racc.org.