“Capturing the Moment” through the lenses of Portland’s Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color

Interpretation services available, email info@racc.org

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34 Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color have had works selected for a new public art collection titled Capturing the Moment. This collection showcases work in a wide scope of medium, created by emerging artists and creatives across the region in response to this particular moment in time. It is an effort to reflect and record our collective experiences of change, uncertainty, loss, and hope.

A community curatorial team composed of four Black artists and creatives reviewed the submissions and made selections. The curatorial team includes: Christine Miller, visual artist; Bobby Fouther, visual & performing artist; Ambush, Creative Consultant/DJ;  and Stacey Drake Edwards, textile artist.

Selected artists will receive up to $1,500 per individual.

Abby Castillo

Alvaro Tarrago

Anthony Hudson

Anthony Wylen

Ashley Mellinger

Belise Nishimwe

Charlie Brown III

Donna Hayes

Dwayne Sackey

Ebonee Atkins

Emmanuel Henreid

hampton rodriguez

Harrison Pinsonault

janessa bautista

Jene Etheridge

Jonas Angelet

Julian Saporiti

Kiana Kinchelow

Machado Mijiga

May Anuntarungsun

Michael Cavazos

Michelle Fujii

Michelle Martinez

Montrell Goss

Niema Lightseed

Paola De La Cruz

Somya Singh

steven christian

Taylor Valdes

Terrance Scott

Terrance Burton

Valerie Yeo

Yathzi Turcot Azpeitia

This project is supported by the City of Portland and #PDXCARES funding. The collection will be made available for our community to experience; details to follow. For more information, contact: Heather Nelson Kent Communications Manager

Support Beam Artist Reflection: Patricia Vázquez

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

I have been drawing, painting and making prints for longer than I have done any other kind of artwork. I am a self taught visual artist. I have learned through taking classes here and there, and through working independently to develop a formal language. It has been a slow and private endeavor. The process of publicly becoming an artist was plagued by doubts, fears and contradicting inner messages. For most of my life, I couldn’t embrace an artistic identity. In a recent interview with students from Reynolds HS (available through the Art Talk Bus podcast), I shared that when I was young, I thought artists were people from another planet. Where I grew up, in the most populated and impoverished area of Mexico City, there were no artists, art centres, art activities, or anything art related. Art was something that people from a reality radically different than mine did. It took me decades (and tens of thousands of dollars in student debt!) to transform that belief. Even today, when I say “I am an artist”, the voice that speaks feels foreign to me, like it belongs to somebody else, or like it comes from somewhere far away.

As a result of acquiring an MFA in Social Practice, most of the artwork I make available publicly, and get paid for, is interdisciplinary and process based. This kind of work is a good fit for me, because it allows me to explore issues, situations and people I am deeply interested in, to use methodologies I learned while working as an organizer and educator, and to test the impact of socially embedded art making processes. However, producing images is also an essential aspect of my artistic thinking. I have intensely missed creating images, the quietness of a studio and the dialogue with the paper and the canvas. Compared to my interdisciplinary artwork, my visual work is not as immediately recognizable as socially or politically invested, but the fact that I am doing it feels incredibly political to me. The fact that it exists, that it is created by this person that wasn’t meant to be an artist, has a political significance.

The drawings I have created over the last few months originate in countless studies, sketches and doodles of the natural world. Some of them maintain a direct resemblance to landscapes, plants, logs, stones and other natural elements. But others, while done in the same style, are less recognizable landscapes, “impossible architectures” as I have started to call them. In these drawings I combine semi-architectural structures with an organic style of drawing. These works are manifestations of ecological anxiety and visions for a future where the natural reclaims the artificial; a future where the announced ecological catastrophe is reversed and nature trumps the threat of human domination.

The monoprints are a combination of these drawings and an experimental use of screen printing. This is a new way of working for me. Until recently I have used screen printing in a more traditional way, creating multiples of posters, t-shirts or other materials with a functional use. I have developed an interest in the pictorial qualities of screen printing and its potential for creating textures and color surfaces that are not controlled and that are unique to each print. I am still developing a language in this new medium, and I look forward to continuing this body of work.

-Patricia Vázquez

Patricia Vázquez Gómez works and lives between the ancient Tenochtitlán and the unceded, occupied, stolen and colonized lands of the Chinook, Clackamas, Multnomah and other Indigenous peoples. Her art practice investigates the social functions of art, the intersections between aesthetics, ethics and politics and the expansion of community based art practices. She uses a variety of media to carry out her research: painting, printmaking, video, exhibitions, music and socially engaged art projects. The purpose and methodologies of her work are deeply informed by her experiences working in the immigrant rights and other social justice movements. Her work has been shown at the Portland Art Museum, the Reece Museum, the Paragon Gallery, and the Houston Art League, but also in other spaces as apartments complexes, community based organizations and schools. She is the recipient of the 2013 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize and has received support from the Ford Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), Portland’s Jade and Midway Districts and the Oregon Community Foundation. Patricia’s work can be explored at http://cargocollective.com/patriciavg

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

Support Beam Round Two Funded through PDXCARES Announced

We are excited to announce 17  additional artists selected to receive financial support through our Support Beam initiative.

Support Beam is designed to support emerging artists’ long-term creative practice and livelihood during an unprecedented time. This new opportunity prioritizes Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color to acknowledge the disproportionate historical and ongoing systemic inequities, and the impact this pandemic is having on BIPOC communities.

Inspired by the depression-era Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), this program utilizes City of Portland PDXCARES (#PDXCARES) funding to commission a piece of public art without restriction to media or themes, and aspires to sustain as many artists as possible during a precarious economic and political time.

Through intentional efforts like these, our public art begins to more accurately represent the many distinct communities who enliven our region. Learn more about the artists selected for initial round of Support Beam.

Over the coming months, Support Beam artists are giving us a peek into their art practices, studios, works in progress, and creative lives. Follow along with their posts and stories on Instagram at #raccsupportbeam.





Iván Carmona



Jodie Cavalier



Daniela del Mar



Sade DuBoise



Sarah Farahat



Marcelo Fontana



Tiana Garoogian



Laura Camila Medina



Lucia Monge



Dana Paresa



Diego Morales-Portillo



Ameera Saahir



Orquidia Velasquez



Mike Vos



Tazha Williams



Tammy Jo Wilson


Limei Lai Mural Signals Return of Fresh Paint Temporary Mural Program Partnership

New mural artist Limei Lai

Artist Limei Lai’s new mural, Together, enlivens the street scape at Open Signal located on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Portland. This is the seventh mural to adorn Open Signal’s exterior as part of the Fresh Paint program. A partnership between Open Signal and RACC, Fresh Paint is a professional development program providing emerging artists of color with the opportunity to paint a public mural in a high-traffic setting for the first time. Artists learn new ways of creating art for public spaces and build their portfolio. For several artists, the mural projects have led to other public commissions or opportunities.

Limei Lai’s mural, Together, depicts three generations of women.

The mural depicts three generations of women. “The world is extremely beautiful and fun in the kid’s eyes; it is a complex chaos in the woman’s eyes; it is where the loved ones live in grandma’s eyes. The present and the past, the here and there, we are all in this world together, weeping and smiling and hugging, celebrating women’s lives and the world community,” notes the artist.

Lai, originally from China and now based in Portland, is currently getting her Bachelor’s degree at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. In paint, fabric and clay, she explores themes of change, weakness, and aging through generational stories. Her work is informed by her experiences as an immigrant and her Chinese roots. She believes that art not only evokes issues and problems in society, it celebrates the beauty of this world in its entirety.

This work marks a return for the program, which took a hiatus as Oregonians were directed to stay at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The piece was completed on Sept. 28, 2020, and will remain on display until March 2021.

Capturing the Moment – Call to Portland Artists and Creatives

Interpretation services available, email info@racc.org

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Application window closed Monday, Oct. 26.

Artists are essential. In times of crisis, artists express what they see and feel, helping us process what we are going through, activating, and uplifting the community.

Capturing the Moment is a new call for Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color to submit works in all media created in this moment. ANY work that captures a creative response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, racial justice protests, and/or the political environment of the moment. Submissions of all media will be considered – murals, paintings, photos, films, essays, poetry, performances captured on film or video, posters, stickers, t-shirt art, etc.

This new call aims to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss, and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives at this moment in our history. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Supported with City of Portland #PDXCARES funding dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.

Hampton Rodriguez, Bike, 2019, newspaper on canvas, 12 x7. Recent addition to Visual Chronicle of Portland


  • RACC will purchase actual physical artworks/memorabilia of all media. (Framing will be provided by RACC, as appropriate.)
  • RACC will also purchase written works, digital images of works, digital recordings of performances, etc. to show/use through RACC & the City of Portland’s communication channels.

Only works created since March 2020 will be considered. Selected artists will receive up to $1,500 per individual. The overall budget for this initiative is $38,000.

A panel of RACC staff and BIPOC curators selected by RACC will review and curate artist submissions. RACC reserves the right to select works from artists and creatives who do not directly apply to this call, if appropriate.


This opportunity serves artists who reside in the City of Portland only. Funds may only be awarded for submissions from Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color who meet the eligibility criteria.

Additionally, priority will be given to artists who have not received RACC Support Beam 2020 commissions or a 2020 Project Grant or are not already well represented in Portland’s Portable Works Public Art Collection.

Elijah Hasan, See It Through, 2019, Inkjet print, 11×14. Recent addition to Portland Visual Chronicle.


All artwork for consideration must be submitted through RACC’s Opportunity Portal: racc.org/apply.

Artists must create an account, or log into their existing account. Instructions in the opportunity portal will guide you through the process. Incomplete submission forms cannot be considered.

Once you have started your Capturing the Moment submission form, you can save after each step and sign out. Your proposal will be saved as a draft you can continue to work on as needed. Complete all the tasks and hit “Submit.” Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during the process.


Artists must include the following in their proposal:

  • Up to eight (8) works that “Capture the Moment,” including images, writing, or video. File size should be no larger than 5 megabytes. The .jpg format, PDF format, or links to video work online is preferred. Provide no more than two (2) images per artwork/item. For each submission, provide title, media, dimensions/length, date produced, and (if applicable) background or conceptual information.
  • Artist bio: A short paragraph that briefly describes your artistic practice (150-200 words).
  • Applicant demographics
  • Applicant W-9 form

Contact hnkent@racc.org

We’re Here to Help! Talk with the Program Staff. Ask questions and seek help early; last minute help can be in short supply.

If you have questions about the RACC application portal or if using the application portal presents a barrier to applying, contact Ingrid Carlson: icarlson@racc.org.


Application closes 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.

Use RACC’s Opportunity Portal to apply racc.org/apply


Support Beam artists announced

by Morgan Ritter, Support Beam Project Manager, Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator

Support Beam intends to strengthen artists towards a long-term re-imagination and multi-pronged activation of their work, with no restrictions on media. Participating artists will contribute virtual work-in-progress share-outs which will be released on RACC’s web and social media platforms—follow along! At the conclusion of the artists’ work period, one art piece will be acquired into the Portable Works Public Art Collection.

Support Beam is not structured by simple transaction or purchase; its goal is to support artists’ long-term creative practice and livelihood, outside of a fixed expectation of production. Inspired by the depression-era Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), this program utilizes “Percent for Art” funds from Multnomah County to commission a body of public art without restriction to media or themes, and aspires to sustain as many artists as possible during a precarious economic and political time.

This new opportunity prioritizes Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color for several reasons. Initially this prioritization was made to acknowledge the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on BIPOC communities. With the rise of racial justice movements, and our country’s expansive confrontation and dialogue around privilege, we collectively began to define this disproportionate impact as a direct result of historical and ongoing systemic inequities. In addition, the Public Art Collection is being increasingly diversified. Through these Support Beam additions, and intentional additions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland, the collection begins to more accurately represent the many distinct communities who enliven our region.

The artists were selected by a group of panel members that similarly reflect the artist community Support Beam is intended to uplift and give voice. This panel of artists, arts workers, County staff and writers reviewed almost 200 artist applications and, through hours of conversation and collective decision making, awarded about 10 percent of artists who applied.

Panelists included:

  • Sharita Towne
  • Monique Smiley
  • Jiseon Lee Isbara
  • Matthew Juniper
  • Garrick Imatani

With pleasure, we announce the first round of recipients:

John Akira Harrold


Jessica Mehta


garima thakur


manuel arturo abreu


Donovan Smith


Tabitha Nikolai & deSolid State

https://tabithanikolai.com/, desolidstate.com

Jonathan Sanders

Alan Page


Lehuauakea Fernandez


Daren Todd

Maya Vivas


Ivan Salcido


rubén garcía marrufo


Terresa White




Patricia Vázquez Gómez


Beck Smith


Mami Takahashi


Eddie Melendrez


Time for Review of Public Art

The toppling of the statue of George Washington on June 18, 2020, is part of our critical national conversation about systemic racism and injustice. Portland is part of this conversation as people examine the point of view these statues represent and consider the impact on Black Portlanders.

Last Wednesday, City Council adopted six core values to guide the City’s decision-making and workplace culture: anti-racism, equity, transparency, communication, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility. Together, the City Arts Program and the Regional Arts & Culture Council are working to determine what pieces in the public art collection no longer align with the City’s values. RACC has a short list of statues in the collection that have been identified by staff and community members as problematic or harmful. RACC is preparing to make a recommendation to the City about pieces that should be removed from the public collection.

The City Arts Program also intends to work with RACC over the coming months to review the entire collection, including portable works. But with more than 2000 pieces, that will take time, research, listening and learning.

George Washington statue, toppled by protesters, June 18, 2020

New Public Art COVID-19 Relief Opportunities

In our continued response to individual artists and creative workers impacted by COVID-19, we have two new public art calls opportunities: a direct purchase of artwork for The Visual Chronicle of Portland and Support Beam, an initiative to commission emerging visual artists making work in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Eligible artists may apply to either or both opportunities.


Eatcho, What have you, pencil and watercolor on paper, 2017

The Visual Chronicle of Portland

A collection of works on paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes the city of Portland, Oregon unique. The budget for new acquisitions is $15,000. To serve as many artists as possible, individual pieces must be priced no more than $1,000. 

Submission Closed:
Wednesday, May 27, 2020  


Contact Keith Lachowicz klachowicz@racc.org     

Naomi Shigeta, All the World’s a Stage, oil on panel, 2014. Currently installed at the Emergency Management Coordination Center in Portland, Oregon.

Support Beam

This is intended to strengthen artists towards the production of new work over a period of three to six months. The overall budget for this initiative is $70,000. Selected artists will receive between $3,000 and $5,000. 

Submission Closed:
Friday, June 12, 2020 at 5 p.m. PST. 


Contact Morgan Ritter mritter@racc.org    


Interpretation services available, email info@racc.org

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