RACC Blog

Regional Arts & Culture Council urges Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley to support Arts & Culture funding in Congress

Join Us! SIGN BY FRIDAY, NOV. 25, 2022

The final FY23 Interior Appropriations budget, which includes annual funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be negotiated by current members of both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Currently the House version sets allocations at an all-time high of $207 million each for the NEA and NEH, whereas the Senate Appropriations Committee (chaired by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley) has allocated only $195 million each. 

RACC, the City of Portland, and Oregon arts and cultural organizations ask you to join us in respectfully urging Senator Jeff Merkley, Chair of the Interior Appropriations Committee, to accept the House-approved level of $207 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

View the letter, written by Americans for the Arts here.

Add your organization’s signature here. Please share with others and be sure to sign up by November 25th for the impact to be felt in Washington, DC.

As part of the arts and cultural sector, we know that investment strengthens our economy and the social fabric of our communities. Please join in advocating your support of this measure to Senator Jeff Merkley for increased funding!

Thank you! 


RACC shares update on the Thompson Elk restoration plan from the Portland Parks Foundation

Released to media on 10/3/22 from the Portland Parks Foundation

CONTACT: Randy Gragg,

503-799-2655; rgragg@portlandpf.org

Thompson Elk Fountain Restoration Feasibility Study Update

Portland Parks Foundation’s team completes study and preliminary cost estimate

The Portland Parks Foundation has completed its feasibility study and preliminary cost estimates for the restoration and reinstallation of the Thompson Elk Fountain. PPF and its consultants, Architectural Resources Group (ARG) and the landscape/urban design firm MIG have submitted its restoration plan to the Portland’s Office of Management and Finance (OMF). In turn, OMF has submitted it to the Bureau of Development Services for an anticipated November “Design Advice Request” with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission. That hearing, in which the team will get feedback from the Landmarks Commissioners, is open to the public for listening and testimony. For updates on the hearing, go to portland.gov/bds/landmarks.

“We are honored to present to the city this restoration design, which restores and returns the elk and fountain to their original location,” said Randy Gragg, executive director of PPF. “We’ve also developed potential street improvements to make the fountain a safer, universally accessible, and more welcoming place to visit.”

The study determined that 18 of the fountain’s 50 pieces will have to be remade. They include some of the most complex. All four of the fountain’s five-foot-long troughs and some of the most intricately carved ornaments will have to be refabricated. “But the good news,” according to ARG project lead Maya Foty, “stone from the original stone quarry is still available.”

The study also incorporates seismic stabilization and a recirculating pump for the fountain. The team developed preferred street upgrades that would create better access and a “viewing area” for the statue and fountain. Building on PBOT’s recently implemented separation of bikes and motorists around the fountain area on Southwest Main Street, ARG and MIG’s design provides two wheelchair accessible access points to a viewing area protected from passing traffic by elegant granite domed bollards.

“The design provides a refuge for people and it better protects the fountain from vehicles,” said Rachel Edmonds of MIG, “and also creates a sense of place around the fountain using historically compatible materials.” Based on 30-percent schematic design, the cost for the fountain restoration, new pump mechanism and reinstallation is estimated to be $1.2- $1.3 million. The street improvements would add approximately $670,000.

“We anxiously await what the city’s insurance settlement will yield and what the City Council determines the city can afford,” said Gragg. “We at PPF believe there is wide community support to pitch in if the final gap is not too large.”

PPF continues to accept contributions to restore the Thompson Elk Fountain. Donate here.

The Thompson Elk Fountain was badly damaged during the civil unrest of summer, 2020 that followed the murder of George Floyd. The city quickly moved the elk and the fountain pieces into storage. PPF’s study was overseen by a seven-member Project Advisory Committee of preservation and street design experts and informed by a technical advisory committee of city bureau representatives with oversight of the parks, street, and infrastructure, along with the Regional Arts & Culture Council who oversees the bronze elk.

Besides looking comprehensively at the restoration and streetscape, PPF hired two historians, Keith Eggener, a professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Milo Reed, a freelance historian who works with Oregon Black Pioneers and Vanport Mosaic and currently chairs the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. They researched both the history of the elk fountain’s making and the social history of the fountain and its surrounding parks since its installation in 1900.

Former Mayor David P. Thompson commissioned the sculpture to honor the Humane Society which he cofounded. In the decades since, the historians found, the elk has stood at the center of protests over such perennial issues as free speech, workers’ rights, deportation of immigrants, and police shootings.

“For 120 years, people have gathered at the fountain to enjoy it as a thing of beauty and a symbol of nature, but also to give voice to their convictions,” noted Gragg. “Our goal is to renew it, reinstall it, and make it a safer, more inviting public space.”

PPF will release the full feasibility study and the findings of its historians in advance of the Design Advice Request hearing.

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Regional Arts & Culture Council endorses the CREATIVE Act (Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere) Introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31 2022

Regional Arts & Culture Council endorses the CREATIVE Act

(Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere) Introduced by

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)

Portland, Oregon

We join arts and culture organizations and businesses across the nation, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Americans for the Arts (AFTA), Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), Grantmakers in the Arts, Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon, and many others who believe that arts and culture are a vital part of what makes us human and enables us to thrive, share stories, connect, learn, and innovate. This act will support our arts organizations and grow our creative economy here in Oregon and the rest of the nation. The Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere (CREATIVE) Act will be instrumental as arts organizations strive to recover from the pandemic. It will provide additional funds through grants to build or upgrade current facilities, produce art, reach underserved communities, and hire new staff.

“The arts are an integral part of our economy, help us better understand the world around us, and fuel authentic and meaningful community-building,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Arts organizations were hit hard by the pandemic and many are still struggling to rebuild. The CREATIVE Act will provide the funding these important organizations need to restore their programming and create jobs in the creative sector.”

The CREATIVE Act builds on the NEA’s critical support for local arts agencies organizations by expanding their grantmaking capacity. Specifically, the CREATIVE Act would:

Expand Access to Capital for Facilities: The grants can be used to improve or upgrade facilities, hire new staff, and produce art;

Seek Community Input: Applicants must include how their community will benefit from these resources and how they plan to sustain their programs;

Reach Underserved Communities: Eligible applicants must focus on access to the arts, including arts education in underrepresented communities;

Create Strong Guardrails: The grants will involve reporting requirements and a procedure for returning unused or misspent funds;

Make Rural Outreach a Priority: At least 20% of total grant funds will be reserved for rural communities.

Last year, The Arts Education for All Act was introduced to address the gap in access to arts education, which has the potential to improve the lifelong health and achievement of both children and adults. RACC joined hundreds of other organizations across the country in the endorsement of this act. Once again, Oregon is a leader in advocating, promoting, and encouraging creative work to be part of the artscape in our communities through these legislative acts.

Carol Tatch, RACC’s Chief of External Operations, said “As we look to creating the future that our artists and creatives deserve, RACC sees this as another tool for our continuing recovery from recent health and environmental impacts and an essential building block for access, equity, and engagement in our shared communities. Please support this effort with full hearts and open minds. Let’s KEEP creating the world we want to live in.

A one-page summary of the CREATIVE Act can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here.                                                                                                 

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides grants for artists and nonprofit organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; and provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance. RACC advocates for equity, inclusion and access, working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations, RACC

ctatch@racc.org

 

Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy and Engagement, RACC

mmesquita@racc.org


The Installation Space’s Inaugural Exhibit: KSMoCA’s Present Days

The Installation Space’s inaugural art exhibition in the newly renovated Portland Building includes a selection of ephemera from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Museum of Art (KSMoCA), an art museum within an elementary school in Northeast Portland. This display includes a selection of previous artworks and comments by Lomarion, a fifth-grader at the school on the Student Curatorial Committee, and a selection of new pieces from the KSMoCA Mentorship Program.

Mentors and mentees participating in this exhibit include: Claire Melli & Tasha, Leo Crum & Emily, Laura Glazer & Reed, Gillian Rappaport with 5th-grade students, Mo Geiger & Becca Kauffman with the 5th-grade Safety Patrol, Lyberty Udochu, Omar Arras, and Sean Bascom with JAGz (Justin, Amir, Gabriel, Melia, & Chris). Present Days was coordinated by Diana Marcela Cuartas and Lillyanne Phạm, current MFA students in Portland State University’s Art + Social Practice program.

On view: July 1, 2022 – November 11, 2022

at the Portland Building — Installation Space, 2nd Floor
(1120 SW 5th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97204)

 

Photo by Gilian Rappaport and Bex Copper. Currently on view within the exhibition.

A Message from KSMoCA:

KSMoCA: Present Days Featuring Lomarion’s Favorite Works from 2015-2022 / Mentorship Program Spring 2022 

Welcome to an exhibit/extension of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA), Present Days! We, the Student Curatorial Committee, restarted in January 2022 with a new crew and students after a year of hibernation during COVID-19.

Coming back to in-person life, we have spent the last few months getting to know the school staff and building relationships with its community, creating pathways for families to engage with KSMoCA, and taking part in the mentorship program with fifth-grader Lomarion.

Our names are Diana Marcela Cuartas and Lillyanne Phạm. We are current MFA students in Portland State University’s Art + Social Practice program. We were allowed to update a previous exhibit started at this space in 2019 by Roz Crews and six fifth-graders, now middle schoolers. What you see here reflects the current days of KSMoCA. After an intense time shift, we are back and filled with creatively generative mentorship relationships and critical topics relevant to our everyday lives.

Lomarian, Curator and 5th grader, Student Curatorial Committee.

Interview with fifth-grader Lomarion

Lillyanne: What is KSMoCA?

Lomarion: KSMoCA is an art place where people go to create art. My favorite part about KSMoCA is the different types of stuff that we can do. The room is like a jungle with a lot of cords. And my good awesome friend Lilly. We hangout Wednesdays and Thursdays. We are hosting a basketball game on June 4th too!

Lillyanne: Yes! A basketball game as a collaborative art project for PSU’s annual Art + Social Practice conference, Assembly 2022.

Diana: The jungle is the museum. Do you like having a museum at the school?

Lomarion: I like having a museum because it has a lot of different types of animals like lions because I’m always lyin’. It makes me want to go to an art museum and help with the art.

Diana: Why does art need museums?

Lomarion: Art needs museums so people across the whole world can see every piece of art created by a famous person or a person with creativity.

Lillyanne: Do you like museums better in schools or downtown?

Lomarion: Yes! I haven’t been to the one downtown. It’s about to be math time for me.

Lillyanne: Let’s get you back to class.

Lomarion’s Favorite Works from 2015-2022

We, Lomarion and Lillyanne, started our student-mentor relationship in the spring of 2022. We talked about life near and in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and the contemporary art museum, KSMoCA. Lomarion shared his experience both as a student and as the school’s neighbor; he also has an older sister who attended the school. Unofficially, he is known as the school’s mayor, as health/PE teacher Mr. Monty said. Lomarion’s expertise led him to curate this show. He gave his advice on the best works to pay attention to at the school along with his favorite works from peer submissions. He said curating is “picking things you like and sharing it with people.” He suggests that being a curator takes “50% smarts, 50% imagination, great thinking, good ideas (good as in nice), being prepared, having a cute face but a cuter voice.”

 

About KSMoCA 

KSMoCA, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Museum of Contemporary Art, is a contemporary art museum inside an elementary school. The project reimagines how museums, public schools, and universities shape people, culture, and perspectives by creating radical intersections and sharing resources across organizations. Internationally renowned artists collaborate with students and school staff on site-specific projects, exhibitions, and workshops, cultivating space for art to educate within and beyond the classroom through mutual exchange. Students learn through experience about museum practice and careers in the arts by participating as curators, preparators, artists, gallerists, writers, and docents.

KSMoCA’s program includes rotating exhibitions with visiting artists, a classroom adoption program with local arts institutions, a 1-on-1 mentorship program with local artists, a public artist lecture series, site-specific commissions, community and neighborhood events, and more. The public is welcome to experience the museum by appointment and during selected open hours.

For more information, visit our website: www.ksmoca.com.

Also check out @ksmoca on Instagram for the latest updates.

About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School is a pre-K – 5th grade public school located in the King neighborhood of NE Portland, OR. In 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our legacy and our name change, a student-led initiative directed by middle school students who worked with district administration to change the school’s name just days after the death of Dr. King. At Dr. MLK Jr. Elementary School, we believe in the unlimited potential of everyone in our diverse community. We believe that a caring, well-balanced student will be motivated to become a global citizen who is inspired to take action.

The Mentorship Program

The KSMoCA Artist Mentorship Program pairs working artists and arts professionals in the Portland area with K – 5th grade students at Dr. MLK Jr. Elementary School in a long-term mentorship. Volunteer mentors spend 40 minutes with their mentee each week in student-directed, flexible time designed to foster the development of each student’s individual creative practice and encourage mutual exchange.

Students at Dr. MLK Jr. Elementary School hold a diverse set of intersectional identities. It is important to us that the KSMoCA Artist Mentorship Program supports and reflects our students’ experiences, and that we cultivate an environment of culturally responsive learning.

Since 2019, the KSMoCA Mentorship Program has been paused due to COVID-19 safety procedures. To continue relationship-building, Lisa Jarrett and Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. taught three PSU courses entitled KSMoCA Museum and Community for art and non-art majors alike during 2021 and 2022. PSU students worked at Dr. MLK Jr. Elementary School to collaborate with Dr. MLK Jr. students and develop mentor/mentee relationships.

Mentors and mentees participating in this exhibit: Claire Melli & Tasha, Leo Crum & Emily, Laura Glazer & Reed, Sean Bascom & Gabriel, Gillian Rappaport with 5th grade students, Mo Geiger & Becca Kauffman with the 5th grade Safety Patrol, and Lyberty Udochu, Omar Arras, & Sean Bascom with JAGz (Justin, Amir, Gabriel, Melia, & Chris).

 

About Installation Space

The Installation Space is an art gallery with an almost 30-year legacy located on the second floor of the Portland Building. The gallery is managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council and its mission is to present conceptually rigorous, site-specific and experimental media installations.

The Portland Building houses numerous municipal offices including Parks & Recreation, Transportation, and the Water Bureau. The building is a controversial anomaly of postmodern architecture, designed by Michael Graves in 1982.

The Installation Space gallery program began in 1994 and was on hold for years due to the building’s extensive, multi-year renovation and pandemic closures. This exhibition marks the relaunch of the art program. Stay tuned to learn more about exhibition opportunities and future programming.

Questions? Contact Morgan Ritter, RACC Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Specialist, at mritter@racc.org.


Black Portland Matters Art & Placemaking Initiative launches two new projects featuring local photographer Richard Brown and writer Renée Watson

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has teamed up with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to support local Black-led art projects around the city.

Along the median strip on NE Holladay Street, between the Oregon Convention Center and the Hyatt Hotel and parking structure, the temporary public art project that began in 2019, In—Between returns. Author Renée Watson has responded with poetry to the photographs of Richard Brown. Eight unique ten-foot banners displayed along the Max tracks convey Black children’s dreams of their possible futures.

Richard Brown is a photographer and a Black Portlander who has spent decades working to bridge the divide between the police and the Black community. Through his art and activism, Brown has been an advocate for Portland’s Black communities for over 40 years.

“Being an activist can often feel like walking through a dark tunnel with no end in sight. But I have learned something over the years: you can make your own light. And you’ll need to. I’ve made my own light by taking pictures.” – Richard Brown.

A sample of the banners that will be displayed along the Max tracks. Designed by Danielle McCoy of Amen Amen Studio.

Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist, and her writing centers around the experiences of Black girls and women, exploring themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Many of Renée’s books are inspired by her childhood growing up in Portland.  Her book series, A Ryan Hart Story, takes place in the Northeast Portland neighborhood and the main character attends Vernon Elementary school.

The artist and author share common ground, both in their work and in their personal histories. Having grown up in Northeast Portland, Watson now calls Harlem home. Born in Harlem, Brown now calls Northeast Portland home. The students featured on the banners attended Vernon Elementary School, which Watson attended and continues to write about. This pairing of text and image, curated by and featuring the work of intergenerational Black artists and activists, asserts dreaming into becoming.

The banners will appear on four posts along NE Holladay Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 1st Avenue through June 30, 2023.

“I am the song of my ancestors. In me an ocean of melodies sing.” – Renée Watson

Continuing up NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Richard Brown’s series of photographs “Keepers Of OurStory will be on view beginning in late September on the exterior of the Walnut Park Complex at Multnomah County Northeast Health Center (5329 NE MLK Jr Blvd, Portland, Oregon). Made in 1988, these studio and environmental portraits of Black Portland elders were created to encourage the community to value the Black elders in their lives. “Keepers Of OurStory” sits alongside the 1998 mural work of celebrated Portland artist Adriene Cruz, who coincidentally was also born in Harlem.

Intisar Abioto, whose photographs were previously displayed at this same site alongside Hank Willis Thomas’s work, has curated these projects. A Memphis native, Abioto moved to Portland twelve years ago with her mother and sisters, and has since gained recognition for her photography and her blog, The Black Portlanders. Moving from the visionary and embodied root of Black girl Southern cross-temporal, cross-modal storytelling ways, her works refer to the living breath/breadth of people of African descent against the expanse of their storied, geographic, and imaginative landscapes.

Another Black-led Public Art project in Northeast Portland is from artist Sharita Towne. Named Black Reverie, the project is a collaborative project to create publicly accessible, exterior site-based activations that act as artistic expressions of love for Black Portland in neighborhoods of significance. One component of the project consisted of Sharita working with a variety of collaborators to create screen-based activations focusing on Black Portlanders telling their migration stories through the use of video excerpts, soundscapes, projection mapping, programmed LED lights as well as a refurbished telephone interactively capturing stories. This occurred on Juneteenth in 2021. In the fall of 2021, the second aspect of the project was completed which resulted in a mural that includes LED lights and installed lettering of the words “still here”.

For opportunities to apply for future installations, artists can follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to receive public art opportunities in their inbox at racc.org/public-art/public-art-email-list/.


City of Portland Urgency/Stability ARPA Grants Awarded

The Regional Arts & Culture Council has awarded $450,000 to 196 artists through the City of Portland’s Urgency/Stability Support for Artists grant program, a part of the American Rescue Plan: Investing in Portland initiative.

The Urgency/Stability program was designed to support artists and other creatives working in the arts who identify as under-served or under-represented, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander and People of Color; LGBTQIA+ artists; and artists with disabilities.

Grants between $500-$5,000 were made to support artists and other creatives working in the arts who live in the City of Portland, had lost income or opportunities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and had an ongoing practice creating work and sharing it with the community.

Submitted by a grant recipient:

“Thank you for supporting my artistic practice through the City of Portland Urgency/Stability Grant! As we continue to experience collective crises, we need art to help us reflect, reframe, and reimagine our world together. Your funding creates that crucial access for so many.”

Program funds came from Federal grant funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA); the process was administered by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.


RACC Creative Spotlight: Artist James Enos

Artist James Enos, Make | Learn | Build grant recipient

Introducing the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Artist and Organization Creative Spotlight, where each quarter we will feature one artist and one organization in consecutive months that have been impacted by the support of programming, training, grants, or other services through RACC, and/or have been nominated for their impact on our community.

James Enos was a Make|Learn|Build grant recipient in June 2021. RACC’s Make|Learn|Build Grant Program was designed to address the ways the arts community in the tri-county region needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists, creatives, organizations, and businesses were awarded either $1,500 or $3,000 to make work, gain skills, or build up their arts business.

With RACC’s grant award, Booklyn, Inc. represented James Enos at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair. The Outsider Art Fair is a world renowned art fair that provides a stage for self-taught artists, art brut, and Outsider Art and takes place biannually in New York City and Paris.

James Enos works at North Pole Studio, a Portland-based progressive art studio for artists with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities. With James’ consent, this Q&A was answered collaboratively with North Pole Studio staff and his mother, Beth Enos.


Would you share your journey as an artist with us? When did you begin; how did you begin?

James is an entirely self-taught author and illustrator. James began drawing in high school, and was encouraged to expand his drawings with the encouragement of an early teacher. His deep creativity quickly emerged, as he transitioned away from life drawing to more fanciful subjects. It was years before he started making the books that he is now known for, and the catalyst for this shift is still unknown.

James designs and executes each book from scratch. His extraordinary process includes binding, researching, writing, and hand-drawing illustrations— many of which fold-out and can extend upwards of 275 cm. His stories weave together to form a collection inspired by his life experiences, picture books adapted from major motion pictures, and pop-culture of the late 80s and early 90s, among others.

James began by hand-writing his books with penmanship that is a work of art in itself. James’ early books alternate line for line with a slightly different shade of the same color (i.e. light blue, dark blue; pink, red). Over the past two years, James has transitioned to writing on a type-writer. His illustrations have evolved but adhere to a consistent style.

James created art at the Portland Art and Learning Studio (PALS) until it closed in 2020. During his time at PALS, James was discovered by Marshall Weber at Booklyn, Inc. in NYC who began representing him and selling his books nationally. In 2021, James joined North Pole Studio, where he works to date. 

In a very short period of time, James went from being an unknown artist to boasting an impressive resume which includes being collected by major universities including Bainbridge Island Museum of the Arts; University of California, Los Angeles, Special Collections Library; University of Central Florida, Special Collections Library; University of Delaware, Special Collections Library; Yale University, Haas Family Fine Arts Library.

How would your community of peers (family, friends, other creatives/artists) describe you?

James is incredibly focused and has an admirable art practice, working continuously from 10am – 3pm and pausing only for a lunch break. When James is in the writing phase, his typewriter starts buzzing the moment he walks into the studio, and doesn’t stop until he leaves. It has become a beloved soundtrack of North Pole Studio. 

Because of the seriousness James approaches both his art practice and the world with, many don’t know what an incredible sense of humor he has. He is a prankster at heart and has a sharp and sophisticated sense of humor which is best captured in his books. 

James’ artistic genius and extensive knowledge of pop culture, familiar kids’ stories (such as Mulan, Tarzan, and the Chronicles of Narnia) is admired by his peers.

Thinking back to your artistic journey, bridging to where you are at now, how would you summarize your artwork currently? Where are you now with your work?

James continues to hone his craft; his evolution from hand-writing his books to his typewriter has marked a distinctive shift in his process. James’ illustrational style and syntax are consistent across his stories, but he continues to refine both with each book. 

James experimentation with various methods and materials for binding his large-scale, multimedia books is evident over time. James books are often up to 6” thick and well over 5lbs when complete, with fold-out illustrations strategically folded to fit into a structure that can be read cover to cover.

James’ latest books are tighter, both visually and structurally with consideration to decisions around materials and paper size. Additionally, many of his recent works are written in chapters, and can be read as isolated stories or as a collection.

Based on the award/grant you received from RACC how have you continued your direction in your project/artwork/process?

In 2021, James was invited to exhibit his books in a solo booth at the Outsider Art Fair in New York City. The Outsider Art Fair is a world renown art fair, and provides a huge opportunity for lesser known self-taught artists’ work to be viewed by major art collectors alongside the greats. With the support of his team, James applied for a Make | Learn | Build grant to cover the cost of the booth fee. With RACC’s grant award, Bookyln, Inc. represented James Enos at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair in spring of 2022.

Accessing grant funding is rife with barriers for many artists in the disability community, from awareness of opportunities, through application to the disbursement processes. James’ team values RACC’s recognition of his work through this award, and their collaboration in making this grant funding accessible.

What have been some of the speed bumps you have encountered? Did it change your trajectory or direction?

For a long time, James did not have access to the resources needed to fully develop his creative practice. Being part of a progressive studio community has provided James with access to materials, direct support, and advocacy to both structure and develop his existing practice and promote visibility of the work. Having access to progressive studio programming changed everything, as it provided a platform for James’ work to be seen and acquired. Without this platform, it is unlikely that James’ work would be included in the art collections and conversations it is today.

When the pandemic hit, James’ studio program (PALS) closed, putting a temporary pause on his practice as he no longer had access to materials and space to work. In the spring of 2021, James resumed his practice at North Pole Studio. 

What is next for you?

James is currently working on writing and illustrating and original series based on the Chronicles of Narnia. Both North Pole Studio and Booklyn, who represents James in NYC, will continue to facilitate opportunities for James’ work to contribute to the art and literary world.

Artist James Enos sits among his illustrations.

James Enos working in North Pole Studio. Photo by Kaitlin Green


Uprooted: An Art Exhibition Inspired by Refugee Identity and Resilience

Photo by Maryam Azizpour, “Marwa graduated from preschool and she is celebrating her graduation ceremony.”

Exhibition & Artist Talk
Uprooted: An Art Exhibition Inspired by Refugee Identity and Resilience

Wednesday, September 14
5–8 pm

As part of the City of Portland’s Welcoming Week 2022, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, in partnership with Lutheran Community Services Northwest and the Civic Life Immigrant and Refugee Program, is proud to present works in Uprooted: An Art Exhibition Inspired by Refugee Identity and Resilience by four refugee artists from around the world who have resettled here in the Portland area. Come and meet the artists to hear their stories and learn what inspires them.

The theme of this year’s Welcoming Week, “Where We Belong,” aims to spark reflection on how and why belonging occurs, and on ways we can break barriers to foster belonging for all, including immigrants and refugees.

Exhibition Opening Reception & Artist Talk

RACC is excited to open our doors and welcome community members into our very own office space for this community gathering and in-house art presentation. Uprooted: An Art Exhibition Inspired by Refugee Identity and Resilience opening reception and artist talk will take place on Wednesday, September 14th, from 5 – 8 pm. The exhibition features work by artists Mahshid Erfanfard, Akram Sarraj, Maryam Azizpour, and Luba Gonina, who are all refugees who have resettled in the Pacific Northwest. The exhibition will showcase works of art that give visual representation to the artists’  stories, dreams, and experiences. The artist talk will begin at 6 pm. Light refreshments will be served. We ask that you register for the opening reception.

The exhibition will be on view in the RACC offices through the end of September. Please contact us to make an appointment to view the exhibition after the opening reception at mmesquita@racc.org.

COVID-19 protocol is required: Please note that this will be a masked event. Masks will be available if you are in need of one. Masks will be required at all times while in the offices with the exception of when guests are eating or drinking.

Register today!

 

More on 2022 Welcoming Week

This is the second year the Office of Community & Civic Life’s Immigrant & Refugee Program will lead Portland’s Welcoming Week. Since 2012, Welcoming America has led the national Welcoming Week celebration and campaign to encourage communities to gather neighbors of all backgrounds to build strong connections and affirm the importance of welcoming and inclusive places.

This year’s theme for Welcoming Week is Where We Belong and is taking place September 9-18, 2022. “Where We Belong” aims to spark reflection on how and why belonging occurs, and ways we can break barriers so that places can foster belonging for all, including immigrants and refugees.

Welcoming Week Opening Ceremony will be held at Ventura Park on Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. The event will feature music, dance performances, food, speakers, and informational booths. And RACC will be there! Come say hello.

Welcoming Week 2022 Full Schedule