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)
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.
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.”
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 email@example.com.