RACC Blog

Regional Arts & Culture Council adds four new board members, elects officers

Four new members were approved to the Regional Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors and Nathan Rix became RACC’s new board chair on June 29, 2021. Rix succeeds Parker Lee who will serve as Chair Emeritus until June 30, 2022.

The Board also approved a new slate of officers to steward the organization including Vice-Chair Leslie Heilbrunn, and Treasurer David Wynde. Frances Portillo continues serving as Secretary.

Departing board members include past Chair Linda McGeady, Angela Hult, Alejandro Queral, and Raymond Cheung.

Full board and staff profiles are available online at racc.org/about/staff-board.

 

Debby Garman headshotDebby Garman

Debby Garman has years of proven success leading and growing nonprofit organizations and creating successful marketing strategies for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Now retired and keeping busy as a volunteer, Debby enjoyed a diverse career in bookselling, publishing, and nonprofit leadership. Her career includes multiple previous and current board and officer positions, as well as serving as Executive Director for Portland Revels, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon, and the Siletz Bay Music Festival. She is past Chair of the Hillsboro Arts and Culture Council and has done grant writing for Seeding Justice (previously MRG Foundation) and Portland Festival Symphony.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

 

 

Headshot of smiling Swan PaikSwan Paik
Swan Paik is Nike’s Vice President of Women’s Innovation, driving Nike’s new products and experiences designed to empower women to realize their human potential through sport. Prior to this role, Swan led Nike’s Universal Ease initiative to serve athletes of all abilities with inclusive and universally designed FlyEase Innovations. She served on the Zappos Adaptive Advisory Council from 2018-2019 and is currently a Board Director for The Challenged Athletes Foundation.

During her 19-year tenure with Nike, Swan has held a variety of positions. She started in Nike’s Global Strategic Planning group working with Nike’s C-Suite of executives in setting the company’s long-term growth objectives and strategy.  She then headed up Strategic Planning for Asia Pacific, working with 11 country teams to bring Nike’s mission to life for the over 1 billion youth in that region.  She then went on to become the GM for Women’s Training in Asia Pacific, combining her passion for the region with her love of empowering girls and women to play sport.  And before her current position, she led the “Girl Effect”  social innovation portfolio for the Nike Foundation. The programs Swan and her team designed and funded impacted over 5 million girls and their families throughout the world and fueled a global movement to unleash the full potential of all girls living in poverty.

Before joining Nike, Swan worked at the National Football League, NBC Television, and Miramax Films.  She holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Columbia University.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Elizabeth Stock headshotElizabeth Stock

Elizabeth is a committed nonprofit leader serving as Executive Director of PDXWIT (PDX Women in Tech). Her work is centered on disrupting problematic systems in the technology industry to shape an equitable future for humanity. Through advocacy, mentorship, and scholarships, PDXWIT is advancing the careers of BIPOC, women, non-binary folks, and those traditionally underrepresented in tech.

Prior to her work at PDXWIT, Elizabeth produced and managed several large-scale art installations with Diversa Edu, a company that uses digital and physical art to tell stories of individuals and communities often left out of history books. Elizabeth also worked for nearly a decade in child welfare at Boys & Girls Aid across many departments including direct service, advancement, and community outreach. She continues to have a strong passion for supporting children in the foster care system, a population too often overlooked.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. She is passionate about Restorative Justice and applies restorative principles to all of her work. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a mom to two young boys.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Matt Watson
Creative Director and founder of Watson Creative, Matt Watson’s portfolio features some of the world’s top-tier firms, organizations, athletic teams, and cultural icons. He got started as a designer at Lippincott, an NYC-based global leader in brand design before moving back to Oregon and a 10-year run at Nike. Today, Matt enjoys running his own studio and participating as an active advisory board member for the School of Design at alma mater Oregon State University. He also teaches business and design courses at local Portland-area colleges and guest lectures at universities around the country.

A husband and father of a growing family, Matt can be found cheering and/or yelling at the Oregon State Beavers, hiking Northwest trails, restoring his 1923 home, or improving upon his well-established sneaker collection. Ask him about his favorite (for the moment).

Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His

 


Capturing the Moment artist – Michelle Fujii

Fourth-generation Japanese-American Michelle Fujii creates contemporary work centered in the Japanese art forms of taiko (drums) and folk dance. “The work I create is rooted in my cultural identity and lived experiences,” she explains. “It responds to current events, community conversations and societal issues. Being personal and authentic is the foundation of my work, investigating notions of identity, otherness, and home against an American landscape.”

Her submission, Sayonara Mata Ashita, debuted May 16, 2020. She explains, “Fifty-two people sang along that are a significant and inspirational part of our taiko lives – our mentors, our Unit Souzou taiko family, our Women & Taiko community connections, our Warabi-za family, our organizational partners. It was such a beautiful and overwhelming journey. As our communities face duress, self-isolation, social distancing, this song was written with the hope that the narrative of this time is not of more othering, but of more togetherness.”

Credits: Conceived and directed by Michelle Fujii in collaboration with Unit Souzou Ensemble – Ian Berve, Toru Watanabe, David Wells, Vicky Zhang. Special Thanks to: Amy Naylor – Video Editing, David Wells – Sound Editing, Michelle Fujii – Video Project Manager, Koto-Izumi Kuroki, Shakuhachi-Tsuyoshi Ozawa.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – janessa bautista

Multimedia artist janessa bautista’s artistic practice involves natural dyeing with plant material, some of which she harvested or grew herself. “I dye natural fibers in the form of fabric and rope.” she explains. “The work I create is about everyday needs and the energy that is put into the making process. I do my best to always have compassion for myself and for others, with this comes healing and growth. The energy I put into my artistic process creates a healing vibration, as it is a healing experience. My objects carry the vibration into your home and life by embodying the healing work in the experience. I create healing offerings using ritual, handmade vessels and a beautiful altar to honor the five senses, four elements and the four directions. Let us explore our relationship to the objects, their relationship to each other and how their use supports our healing process and all those around us.”

janessa bautista, Tea Ceremony, 2020. Set includes includes: Indigo meditation seat, woven planter, hibachi grill, altar yoni spoon.

 

Fiber art sculpture. Natural dyed indigo cotton rope woven on walnut wood. Rope, natural dyes, wood, clay.

janessa bautista, Hanging Altar Indigo detail, 2020.

Find out more about artist janessa bautista.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed 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 during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – May Maylisa Cat

May Maylisa Cat is a multidisciplinary artist whose work lies at the intersection of food culture, racialized labor, and identity. Her work spans new media, painting, glass, and performance.

Multidisciplinary artist May Maylisa Cat

 

The panel of curators selected two of May Maylisa Cat’s works for Capturing the Moment.

The first, a video titled Farang Kee Nok (Bird Sh!t Foreigner), she describes as an “absurdist video artwork that touches on the hypocrisy of ex-pats who fetishize the cultures of the countries they move to.” She explains that the video purposely utilizes ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement) to add a surreal dissonance to the piece. It was created during a mentor workshop with visual artist Kalup Linzy at Chautauqua Visual Arts residency. Play the video here.

The second, titled Across, Whom? was constructed of found materials including nylon fabric, rice bag, and hardware. Made in collaboration with Sean Brady.

Nylon fabric, rice bag, and hardware Ricebag conformed to a luggage / migration prop.

May Maylissa Cat, Across, Whom?, 2020

Follow May Maylissa Cat on Instagram @maymaylisacatz or Twitter @maymaylisacat.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed 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 during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment – Stories from a Pandemic

Just over a year ago, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued her executive order putting our state into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus. Last fall we asked artists to submit works of all media “Capturing the Moment,” reflecting their artistic response to the economic and health crisis in our communities. Submissions flooded in–sculpture, illustrations, video, photography, painting, and more.

See and hear their art. Read their stories. Learn more.

Sayonara Mata Ashita

Michelle Fujii, creates contemporary work centered in the Japanese art forms of taiko (drums) and folk dance. She describes how, as a fourth generation Japanese-American, her art “navigates the multifaceted complexity of identity in our communities, and reveals my journey to claim my own identity story.” Her submission, Sayonara Mata Ashita  debuted May 16, 2020. “Fifty-two people sang along that are a significant and inspirational part of our taiko lives,” she explains. “Our mentors, our Unit Souzou taiko family, our Women & Taiko community connections, our Warabi-za family, our organizational partners. It was such a beautiful and overwhelming journey. As our communities face duress, self-isolation, social distancing, this song was written with the hope that the narrative of this time is not of more othering, but of more togetherness.”

We think you will agree. Have a listen. (Play button located lower left hand corner of the image below).

Credits: Conceived and directed by Michelle Fujii in collaboration with Unit Souzou Ensemble: Ian Berve, Toru Watanabe, David Wells, Vicky Zhang. Special Thanks to: Amy Naylor – Video Editing; David Wells – Sound Editing; Michelle Fujii – Video Project Manager; Koto-Izumi Kuroki, Shakuhachi-Tsuyoshi Ozawa.

Artists tell their stories

In addition to sharing their work for “Capturing the Moment,” artists also shared the ways they personally were impacted by lost opportunities for funding or revenue due to COVID-19. Some were laid off from regular employment, many lost freelance gigs, canceled tours, postponed debuts of new works, and other productions. Some used makeshift spaces to continue working; painting on a friend’s porch or editing in a loaned studio after being evacuated by summer wildfires. Despite the challenges, they demonstrated their resilience and creativity. They adapted, adjusting projects that were canceled or delayed because of the pandemic. They found new life – and continued living – as artists and creatives.

See and hear the works of these local artists and their response to the moment.

Terrance Burton

janessa bautista

Julian Saporiti

May Maylisa Cat

Ashley Mellinger

Valerie Yeo

Somya Singh

Michelle Fujii

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal CARES money (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, multiracial, and Pacific Islander artists living in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – Somya Singh

Somya Singh makes “memoir comics” from lived experiences. “I have been making comics in ink for over ten years. They often depict painful or difficult moments that I’m trying to reconcile for myself,” Somya explains. The comics selected for Capturing the Moment depict what the lockdown has looked like, conceptually, and include familiar scenes from quarantine: protests, isolation, social distancing, etc.

Somya Singh, Scenes from Quarantine, 2020

 

Somya Singh, Out To Sea, 2020

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed 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 during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Capturing the Moment artist – Ashley Mellinger

Ashley Mellinger strives to “re-imagine traditional narratives and include marginalized voices in ways that are not centered on their identities and, specifically, the trauma associated with their experiences. I am particularly committed to telling stories in the spirit of afro-futurism.” Her artistic practice straddles both theatre and film. She co-founded Desert Island Studios to increase artists’ accessibility to film resources. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Actor and Producer Ashley Mellinger

Ashley describes the short film, Vent, selected for Capturing the Moment, as an “Indie Thriller” that she co-created with a small team to enter into the Asian American Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout close to the start of quarantine. “We created a timely, relatable narrative short that explores the effects of isolation and viral misinformation,” she said. The result is a film that won Second Runner Up, Best Editor, and Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Cinematography.

You can watch the five-minute film here.

Ashley Mellinger, VENT, 2020

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed 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 during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – Valerie Yeo

Valerie Yeo is a psychologist in her “day job” and, she says, “an artist in all parts of my life.”

Valerie Yeo, Wave 2, 2020

A visual artist primarily working with ink, watercolor, and acrylic mediums, her series, Waves, painted in acrylic on 8″ x 8″ canvas panels, captures, as she says, “the collective trauma of 2020.” It made her consider the power of water as a force for change. “I feel very drawn to the power of this particular element, which has both the capacity to heal and destroy. The movement of water is also slow and steady, and can create permanent changes and paths forward, even through the most solid seeming entities. This is a time of grief, resistance, and awakening; and a time to allow for the outflow of stagnant ways of being.”

Follow Valerie on Instagram.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed 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 during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.