RACC Blog

Experience East Portland’s Vibrant Culture this June at “Our Space of Possibilities!”

Every Saturday this June, we invite you to celebrate the communities along the East Portland Cultural Corridor through arts and culture at Our Space of Possibilities. This corridor is located on SE Division Street, spanning from SE 82nd Ave to SE 175th Ave. The project is supported generously by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant, matched with local funding from Regional Arts & Culture Council, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and TriMet.

Our Space of Possibilities lies at the core of the East Portland Cultural Corridor initiative. Envisioned by artist-in-residence Patricia Vázquez Gómez, the project is a dynamic cultural space housed within a transformed TriMet bus that will live at four locations along SE Division Street. Every Saturday from June 3rd to June 24th from 12-8 pm, you will have the opportunity to join a workshop, attend a screening, watch a performance, or view an exhibition curated by local East Portland organizations and residents.

Patricia Vázquez Gómez is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the intersection of aesthetics, ethics, and politics; the social functions of art and the expansion of community-based art practices, with her methodologies deeply informed by her experiences in immigrant rights and social justice movements in the US and Mexico.

Southeast Division Street serves as the geographic backbone of a diverse and growing community, now with improved transportation options for residents thanks to TriMet’s FX2-Division high-capacity bus service. By seamlessly intertwining people, culture, and transportation, the East Portland Cultural Corridor strives to nurture a resilient community and celebrate the unique cultural identity of East Portland. 

Our Space of Possibilities 

Every Saturday in June from 12-8 pm

  • June 3rd at SE Division and 166th Pl
  • June 10th at: SE Division and 138th Ave
  • June 17th at SE Division and 121st Ave
  • June 24th at SE 138th at SE Division St
Collaborators 

Naomi Likayi, is a first-gen, Congolese American creative based in Portland, OR. She aims to create daring and exciting work, finding new ways to innovate beyond what is offered in the current state of design and illustration. Likayi’s work will be featured in Our Space of Possibilities as a bus wrap designed in collaboration with Fir Ridge High School students Lia and Ricky. Handle: @mungala_nao

Marissa Perez and Patricia Vázquez Gómez are creating the first exhibition for Our Space of Possibilities, How to Love Division, centered on the history of East Portland and the opportunities for Civic Engagement. This exhibition will be on view on June 3rd, from 12-8 pm. Handle: @marissa_perezzzzz

Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the world around them through a simple solution: Planting Trees. Together. Friends of Trees and Patricia Vázquez Gómez are creating a garden inside the bus on June 10th, open 12-8 pm. Come get a plant and learn about the environment! Friends of Trees staff Andrew, Harrison and Winnie will also be at Our Space of Possibilities to teach you how to take care of plants on June 10th, from 1-3 pm. Handle: @friendsoftrees

Amenta, Kalimah, Farados, Oniyah, José, Oak, Brian and Tito are creating an exhibition together based on Afrofuturism for Our Space of Possibilities.  Amenta Abioto is a musician and producer. Originally from Memphis, TN, she came to Portland in 2010 with her artist family. Her background in musical theater helped inspire her live looping one-woman band, Yawa. She has released two projects, Opening Flower Hymns and Wade. Amenta Abioto is currently an artist in residence with her family, Studio Abioto, at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. Amenta Abioto will also perform on June 17th at 7:30 pm. Kalimah Abioto (aka Dr. Woodchopper) is a multimedia teaching artist, filmmaker, drummer, writer, dancer, and entrepreneur. The Afrofuturism exhibition will be on view on June 17th, from 12-8 pm. Handles: @yawamusic, @kalimahabioto

The 082 Art Crew at Apano is an art collective of local BIPOC artists and community members creating art centered around the experiences, wants, and needs of BIPOC residents and neighbors of Southeast Portland. The exhibition the 082 Art Crew is creating for Our Space of Possibilities is called How to Love Division? This exhibition will explore how we express our love of East Portland through street art, highlighting community history and the issues of gentrification through interviews with local street artists and by asking participants questions about their relationship to East Portland in a creative way.⁣ How to Love Division will be on view on June 24th, 12-8 pm. Handle: @apanonews

Evan and Daniel are two 10-year-old students from East Portland who will be teaching origami, on June 3rd and 17th, from 1-2 pm.

Lillyanne Pham is a 25-year-old artist and cultural organizer raised by Vietnamese refugees. Ackida Omar is a 21-year-old first-generation Burundian American, artist, musician, and soccer player. LP and Ackida will lead a workshop on June 3rd and 17th, 2-3 pm; based on a short film they are creating for Our Space of Possibilities called “(Our)Flavs,” which highlights the stories of local immigrant and refugee restaurant owners and their relationships with herbs and spices. “(Our)Flavs,” will be screened on June 3rd and 17th, from 5-6 pm. Handles: @lillyannepham, @ackida_

Chanell Cortez Gonzalez is a student at Fir Ridge HS, loves art and dreams of becoming an art teacher. Chanell will be leading a surprise art workshop on June 3rd and 17th from 4-5 pm. 

Medicine Bear provides spiritual guidance and cultural mentoring to at-risk youth, families, and houseless communities through traditional Native American Ceremony, Sobriety Promotion, and Education. Medicine Bear and Rudy Serna will hold a Native Circle at Our Space of Possibilities, on June 10th from 3-5 pm, for Native-American residents, workers, and students of East Portland. Handle: @rudysernaredstone

Thea Gahr is a bilingual artist and printmaker engaged in education and image-making that aims to catalyze positive social & environmental change. Thea will facilitate the creation of a collective lino carving on June 24th, 1-3 pm. 

Aden Catalani is a Portland painter who will lead a spray painting workshop. Aden will lead a spray-paint workshop on June 24th, 3-5 pm.

Karina Lomelin Ripper is a Mexican-American film director.  Her films often explore bicultural points of view, telling stories that center Latina/x characters. Karina’s films “Visions” and “Niña¨ (made in collaboration with Marc Ripper) will be screened on June 10th and 24th from 5-6 pm. Handle: @karinaripper

Sika Stanton is an African-American cinematographer. She has a background in both documentary and narrative filmmaking. Her work has screened at the Portland International Film Festival, the Portland Art Museum, and Portland Oregon Women’s Festival. In 2019, she joined IATSE Local 600 and the Oregon Media Production Association selected her for their Rising Star Award. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Cinematography at the American Film Institute Conservatory and holds a BA in Studio Art from Stanford University. Sika’s film “The Numbers” will be screened on June 3rd and 10th from 5-6 pm; and her film “Imagine Black” (made in collaboration with Ariella Tai and Donielle Howard) will be screened on June 10th and 24th from 5-6 pm. Handle: @sikaafi 

Metro East Community Media is a nonprofit community media center based in Gresham, Oregon, and for over 35 years has used media to invigorate civic engagement, inspire diverse voices, and strengthen community life. Gene, Yasmin, Chloe, and Seth from MECM are supporting the creation of videos made by a group of youth from the African Youth Community Organization for Our Space of Possibilities.  Handle: @metroeastmedia

The African Youth Community Organization (AYCO) is a community-based organization led by and for the East African immigrant and refugee community in Portland. AYCO’s mission is to settle the past, engage the present and hope for the future. The videos that Farhiya, Yasmin, Amrin, Sabine, Ayub, Hashim, Hussein, and Imraan are creating will be be screened at Our Space of Possibilities on June 10th and 24th from 5-6 pm. Handle: @ayco.world

Edna Vazquez is a fearless singer, songwriter, composer, and guitarist whose powerful voice and musical talent transcend the boundaries of language to engage and uplift her audience. She is a creative musical artist with a vocal range that allows her to paint seamlessly with her original material, an intersection of Mexican Tradicional, rock, pop, and other genres. Edna will perform on June 10th at 6:30 pm.  Handle: @ednavazquezmusic

DJ Anjali made her public debut in December of 2000 and has since pushed forward a working class, immigrant feminist agenda on the dance floor all the while exploring her own identity through the power of sound and dance. She uses the dance floor as a place to build solidarity between communities of color. Music and movement have long been her tools to explore and share her unique identity as a mixed Desi immigrant daughter. With her partner, The Incredible Kid, she hosts TROPITAAL! A Desi Latino Soundclash & ANDAZ, two of the Northwest’s longest running dance parties. She teaches Bhangra & Bollywood weekly at The Viscount Dance Studio. Archives of her years spent as a radio host on XRAY & KBOO can be found online. DJ Anjali will play for Our Space of Possibilities closing party on June 24th at 6 pm! She will also be leading a Bollywood dance class on June 3rd from 3-4 pm. Handle: @anjaliandthekid

Lita Thilavanh, Julie Ammalathithada, and Maddie Thippraxay are 14-year-olds who perform at the Lao New Year celebrations and are involved in the APISU (Asian Pacific Islander Student Union) club at their school. They’re preserving their heritage by participating in traditional ceremonies and learning traditional Lao dances. Lita, Julie, and Maddie will perform on June 3rd and 17th!

Follow @regionalarts to learn about additional collaborators!


Meet the newest Fresh Paint Muralist, Pearlyn Tan, now on display at Open Signal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Artist Pearlyn Tan Honors the Fight for Women’s Rights with New Mural, Liberate

Liberate is now on view at Open Signal on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd as part of Fresh Paint, a partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council
 
PORTLAND, ORE. – April 12, 2023 – A mother and child charge forward atop a ferocious spirit beast in Pearlyn Tan’s new mural, Liberate. Tan’s work is now on display at Open Signal as the current installment of the temporary mural program Fresh Paint, a partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council. The mural is up through September at Open Signal’s wall on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, between Graham and Knott Streets.

Liberate is bold and colorful, inspired by the energy, courage and momentum women need to fight for their rights in the face of oppression and recent attacks on bodily autonomy. In particular, the mural shines a light on the lack of representation for women of color. The work encourages women to keep up the fight for liberation, to build a world of freedom and opportunity for the next generation.

Originally, from Singapore, Tan is self-taught in fine arts and draws influence from her textured background of varied cultures and careers. She worked as an art director, a designer and a hairstylist before finding her love for printmaking and painting. Her work revolves around themes of motherhood and Mother Nature.

Tan is the fourteenth artist in Fresh Paint, following Jerome Sloan, Munta Mpwo, Limei Lai and others. Fresh Paint began in 2017 as a collaboration between the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal to support emerging artists of color with their first publicly mural funded commission. The artists are provided space to experiment with techniques and scale to expand their creative skill sets, bringing their visions to the Irvington neighborhood six months at a time.

“We’re so grateful to have partners like Open Signal who are willing to enter into dream space with us to conceive programs such as Fresh Paint. These offerings give artists the opportunity to expand their portfolios, evolve their practice and connect with new audiences through the direct experience of creating within community,” says Sophie May Hook, Public Art Project Manager at the Regional Arts & Council.

See more from the artist at @The_Unordinary_Motherhood.

Muralist Pearlyn Tan, Image by: Daniela Karina Serna

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Contact:

Daniela Karina Serna, Communications Manager
Open Signal
daniela [at] opensignalpdx.org
(503) 288 – 1515 x931

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

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

About Open Signal

Open Signal is an equity-driven media arts center located in Northeast Portland, Oregon. The largest community media space in the Pacific Northwest, we offer production studios andequipment, workshops, artist fellowships, a cable and online broadcast platform, and a professional media production team. We focus on telling stories underrepresented in the mainstream media. For more information visit opensignalpdx.org.


SAVE the Dates! Our Space of Possibilities- Saturday’s in June

 

This June 2023, East Portland is set to show its vibrancy with creativity and culture! Funded by a generous Our Town grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, this creative placemaking grant was matched locally by RACC, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and TriMet aim to invigorate the sense of community along the East Portland Cultural Corridor (spanning SE Division Street from SE 82nd Avenue to SE 175th Avenue).

At the heart of the East Portland Cultural Corridor project is “Our Space of Possibilities,” a dynamic art initiative housed in a TriMet bus. This mobile cultural and social space, conceived by artist-in-residence Patricia Vázquez Gómez, will be sited at four locations along SE Division St between June 3rd and June 24th. The project will showcase exhibitions, performances, workshops, and video screenings primarily produced by local East Portland organizations and residents.

Patricia Vázquez Gómez is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the intersection of aesthetics, ethics, and politics; the social functions of art and the expansion of community-based art practices, with her methodologies deeply informed by her experiences in immigrant rights and social justice movements in the US and Mexico.

The East Portland Cultural Corridor project leverages TriMet’s Division Transit Project, as a geographic backbone and future travel option for many East Portland residents. This project aims to connect people, culture, and transportation, promoting a strong sense of community and cultural identity in East Portland.

Please look for more updates on RACC’s social media, future eblasts, and blog posts.

Please contact info@racc.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


RACC Celebrates the First Six Artists Selected for the Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects

RACC is excited to announce the first six artists who have been selected as part of the on-going Multnomah County Library (MCL) Capital Bond Projects. Passed by voters in 2020, the bond includes renovations and expansions to seven local libraries, upgrades at eleven more libraries within the MCL network, the development of a new destination library in East County, the creation of a materials-handling facility, and high-speed internet system-wide.

The new MCL Operations Center launched the first phase of the bond projects in summer 2022. The expansions and renovations to Holgate and Midland libraries are also underway and will be some of the first locations to reopen to the public in spring/summer 2024, with Albina and North Portland libraries closely following. All bond projects are anticipated to be completed by winter 2025-2026.

RACC, in partnership with MCL, is overseeing the public art opportunities in these new and refreshed community spaces. The artist selection process is being conducted in a phased approach to align with the MCL project sequence. The artists selected so far will be creating large-scale permanent artworks at the first three building projects in the sequence: the Operations Center, Holgate Library, and Midland Library.

Community engagement is a core value within the bond projects, and artists with demonstrated experience and express interest in embedding community into their practice and work have been prioritized. Most artists selected for these projects are expected to create and host community engagement opportunities as part of their design phase in order to involve the community in the creation process. Some of these arts-focused events have already taken place and more are on the way, so stay tuned for further details on how to participate in the coming months.

For now, RACC would like to honor the artists who have been selected so far and who are working behind the scenes on these initial projects. RACC is proud to announce that all of those selected are local to Portland, BIPOC/BIPGM, and identify as women, transgender, non-binary and/or gender non-conforming. Please join us in congratulating these very talented and deserving artists, and follow and support them when and where you can!

Please contact Public Art Project Manager, Sophie, at shook@racc.org if you have any questions. For information on future calls to artists please follow us on Instagram.

Midland Library Exterior Canopy: Paola De La Cruz and Lillyanne Pham. Photo Credit: Keanu Narciso.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operations Center Exterior Entrance: Tenya Rogriguez. Photo Credit: Tenya Rodriguez.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holgate Library Exterior Site Enclosure: Crystal Meneses. Photo Credit: Alberta Akins.

 

Holgate Library Interior/Exterior Wall: Salomée Souag. Photo Credit: Haley Busch.

Midland Library Gathering Circle: Kanani Miyamoto. Photo Credit: Kayla Wiley.

 


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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RACC announces public art collaboration with Port of Portland at the Portland International Airport

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 14 2022

Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) announces the launch of new

public art projects in collaboration with the

Port of Portland (Port) at the Portland International Airport (PDX)

Portland, OR –

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce a unique collaboration with the Port of Portland (Port) to install original public artworks for the $2B terminal redevelopment project at Portland International Airport (PDX).  RACC is in the process of inviting artists to submit their qualifications for the design and installation of permanent public art displays that will be a part of this redevelopment. RACC’s values of equity, access, and inclusion are embedded in this process through intentional outreach and engagement with communities that have been historically marginalized. This project will involve requests for proposals (RFQ) for artists in the upcoming months, with completion of the entire project slated for five years from now. Check out PDXNext.com for updates, resources, and images

“The Port of Portland is thrilled to officially launch two open calls for the first permanent public works of art to adorn PDX’s new main terminal,” says Wendy Given, Port of Portland Art Program Manager. “Our Art Program’s mission is to provide equitable access to art and to commission and exhibit captivating work that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. We believe everyone’s voice and history should be celebrated. So, together with RACC, we intentionally created opportunities for historically marginalized artists to apply, and we have developed a selection process that ensures equitable outcomes. We’re making a commitment to bring diverse voices and perspectives to life — all while enriching the experience of everyone who travels through PDX.”

Mack McFarland, RACC’s Public Art Project Manager, wholeheartedly agrees with Wendy Given, adding, It’s really an honor to play a role in this massive project. The partnership between the Port and RACC has already resulted in several stunning artworks and unique ways to engage the artists within the architecture of PDX. The vison ZGF Architects is implementing for Terminal Core (TCORE) is presenting artists with a wonderful site for projects, while the forethought and care of the Art Selection Committee provides integrity and distinctiveness to the process. There are opportunities within the TCORE art plan for seasoned public artists as well as artists who may be new to creating artwork for such a public setting.”

The second RFQ launches within the next two weeks, with five more to be announced in 2023. The first RFQ, for Art Glass Walls located between the concourse connector and the security queuing area, closes on November 16, 2022.  More information can be found here. The proposed art exhibits are available for download here.

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

With its three airports, four marine terminals, five business parks, and hundreds of employees, the Port of Portland connects people and businesses in the region to powerful opportunities. Using its resources, expertise, and influence, the Port is striving to pull down barriers and unlock new opportunities for those who have been left out of the region’s economic growth, including people of color, low-income workers, and people with disabilities. The Port is leading major initiatives to drive positive change in the region, including: expanding and modernizing PDX; investing in Oregon’s mass timber industry and mass timber housing; and providing more options for small businesses to get their goods to markets around the world. For more information, visit PortofPortland.com.”

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Kristen Calhoun, Director of Public Art

kcalhoun@racc.org

Mack McFarland, Public Art Project Manager

mmcfarland@racc.org

Wendy Given, Port of Portland, Art Program Manager

Wendy.Given@portofportland.com


RACC unveils Going Public! A Mural Skill Building Intensive

 

We are pleased to announce in partnership with the City of Hillsboro, Miller Paint, and TriMet a collaborative opportunity supporting public art in our community. This project is also supported with funds from the City of Portland. Envisioned over the last two years, this program has come to fruition with guidance by administrators Salvador Mayoral IV, the Public Art Manager at the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and program consultant Ella Marra-Ketelaar as well as RACC’s Public Art Murals Committee.

In June of 2022, a cohort of emerging muralists of color were selected and paired with established muralists, all from the Portland metro area.  The program’s aim is to support these emerging muralists throughout the mural creative process by providing mentorship, mural-making workshops, and the opportunity to create and paint a design all the while being monetarily compensated for their energy, time, and labor to undergo this process. One of the program’s key goals is to  foster relationships with their fellow muralist participants through the attendance of the workshops, meeting regularly with their mentors, thus creating a network of support and access. This was instrumental in preparing the cohort of emerging muralists to paint their own mural designs on the many donated spaces from the Going Public! partners.

“We’re thrilled to be part of RACC’s Going Public! mentorship program,” TriMet’s Public Art Administrator Michelle Traver said. “TriMet is also committed to nurturing emerging artists and we are pleased to host artist Rebecca Rodela’s first mural, Lotería en Portlandia, at the Gateway Transit Center, where it can be experienced by our riders and the general public alike.”

We are excited to partner with RACC to bring more colorful murals to our neighborhoods,” said Puji Sherer, Miller Paint’s Vice President of Marketing, Color & Brand. “Our Hollywood store in Northeast Portland is one of the mural sites for the project which is in the heart of this community.”

 All but one mural will be completed by the end of November 2022. Follow the mural making process by visiting the social media accounts of RACC, our partners, and the artists.

“Community building and skill sharing are at the forefront of Going Public!” said program consultant Ella Marra-Ketelaar. “It has been incredibly important to feature established artists (mentors and workshop presenters) that are willing to share their years of collective knowledge with the next generation of muralists. The program’s role is to create a platform, their knowledge, and collaboration is what makes it possible”. 

The workshop presenters include, Sarah Farahat, Bernadette Little, Adam Ciresi, Molly Mendoza, Ursula Barton, Daren Todd, Kyra Watkins and William Hernandez.

The mentors include, Kyra Watkins, William Hernandez, Alex Chiu, and Patricia Vásquez Gómez.

All images by Leo Townsell, July 2022 at one of the workshops in Zidell Yards.

The cohort of muralists include, Abdiel Flores Ubaldo, Saphya Lones, Nabíl De la Rosa, Rebecca Rodela, and Tim Tran.

Carol Tatch, RACC’s Chief of External Operations, stresses the importance of leading with RACC values of access, inclusivity, and equity. “It’s not just that you get to wake up and it’s there, but you actually get to see the process. It is definitely important to the economic prosperity of any region to have public art — art that is accessible. That just brings rewards for everyone in the community.”

For more information please contact Salvador Mayoral, the Public Art Project Manager.


RACC launches new Fresh Paint Mural in partnership with Open Signal

Artist Jerome Sloan Comes Full Circle with New Mural, Growth
Now on view at Open Signal on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd as part of Fresh Paint, a partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council

Jerome Sloan spent his youth in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood, starting his creative journey as a spray painter in the 1980s. Now he brings his work back home with a new mural Growth, part of Fresh Paint, a temporary mural program from Open Signal and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Growth will be on view from October to March on Open Signal’s wall on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd between Graham and Knott Streets.

Sloan’s work documents the struggle to become a better person, drawing from his experiences during a long period of incarceration. At 19 years old, he was sentenced to life without parole. He spent the next 28 years within the prison system developing and leading cognitive programming to help ex-gang members change their lives, and teaching art classes to help others find meaning in creativity. In early 2022, his sentence was commuted by Governor Kate Brown for the impact he had on the young men he worked with.

He now brings his message to the area in which he grew up. “A great piece of art should compel you to take some sort of action or change the way you think,” says the artist. “I send my art out with the hope that it plays a part in changing people or moves them in a positive direction. It is my job to be an example that is positive.”

In this piece, two hands, with vines wrapped around them, reach up towards the sun — representing the need to grow to survive, and the act of reaching towards something bigger and more productive than oneself. The letters spell “growth” in an alphabet of his own creation, and in a graffiti style that he developed when he was young in this very area. The work reflects Sloan’s approach, taking a realistic image and pushing it into the abstract. “Through Fresh Paint we’ve been able to bring great local artists like Jerome into our community,” notes Open Signal’s Community Media Advocacy Manager KatMeow García. “This program is a true collaboration — what started as a conversation between the Regional Arts & Council and Open Signal now encompasses staff, artists, mentors and anyone who’s been impacted by the art. The mural may be temporary, but the connections keep going.”

Mural being completed with artist holding paint and a ladder and paint equipment on the sidewalk

Completed mural with two people standing in front of it with their arms up

Photos by Sabrina Spurlock,  Oct 2022

Fresh Paint is a partnership between the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal that began in 2017. The program supports emerging artists of color with their first publicly funded commission; the artists expand their creative skill sets and build paths to other public art opportunities. Sloan is the thirteenth muralist to take part in this program; previous muralists have included Molly Mendoza; the artist team of Bizar Gomez, Maria Rodriguez, and Anke Gladnick; and Zeinab Saab.

See more from the artist at jeromesloanart.com.