Portland, OR. As Oregon reopens, one activity Oregonians are eagerly anticipating is the return of concerts and live music. The Portland nonprofit, Friends of Noise is a local organization making a return of live music possible, and accessible for anybody who wants to get involved. It provides sound equipment to performers, hosting free age-inclusive shows, and helping creative youth navigate the local music scene. Now starting its summer 2021 season, the nonprofit has a fresh slate of performances and events to bring the joy of communal music experiences back to Portland youth, including a dance battle, hip hop cypher performance, and multiple outdoor concert events for youth artists.
Friends of Noise provides programs, workshops, and other professional development opportunities for teens and young adults to gain experience with sound equipment, and performing so they are more prepared to navigate the music industry.
An integral core foundation to Friends of Noise is the belief that getting young performers and audience members involved in music is essential to the growth of the local and global music community.
The nonprofit offers a variety of services to support Portland’s musically-oriented youth, including professional development workshops providing skills for involvement in the music industry, paid opportunities for youth musicians to perform, and offering sound equipment services for independent, youth-organized concerts, teaching those interested how to operate such equipment and offering youth paid opportunities for work with sound technology. According to Friends of Noise executive director André Middleton, the nonprofit’s mission is to “facilitate healing and growth in the community” for Portland youth artists, with a focus on BIPOC individuals.
Middleton admits that the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for Friends Of Noise, with the nonprofit completely halting operations like most other businesses at its start. However, the organization still found ways to utilize its services mid-pandemic to further its commitment to justice by providing sound equipment to local Black Lives Matter protests and marches to “lift up the voices of the unheard.” Friends of Noise even helped host a BLM protest event on labor day 2020 in Portland’s Cathedral Park, providing and setting up sound equipment for speakers.
Middleton says that his organization’s greatest challenge of the pandemic has been the recruitment of new youth performers and sound technicians to work with, stating that reconnecting with the musical youth of Portland is the current “highest priority” for Friends of Noise. Thankfully, they were still able to support independent young musicians of Portland through the pandemic by recording isolated performances in various Portland music venues from a wide range of talented youth, editing them, and uploading these performances to the Friends of Noise Youtube channel as part of their “Friends of Noise TV” series.
Here’s a video from ‘Friends of Noise TV’:
Behind the scenes photo depicting the filming of a live performance by Arietta Ward/”Mz. Etta” at Jack London Revue for the Friends of Noise TV YouTube concert series.
Middleton says what he was most excited for about the return of live music, but for Friends of Noise, concerts have been back for a while as they have done sound equipment for and hosted a series of concerts for youth artists in parks around Portland, following COVID safety procedures such that youth could still gather, connecting to both music and one another, safely. He is most eagerly anticipating the Friends of Noise Summer Jam being held for free at Oregon Contemporary on July 11th from 6-10pm, where the organization will be hosting a variety of talented young performers. Middleton also noted that he is currently working with a youth graphic designer in a paid opportunity to create a poster for the event, highlighting his organization’s commitment to uplifting creative youth and getting them involved in as many ways as possible.
Middleton hopes support for Friends of Noise will take off this summer in comparison to last year, as the organization has its eyes set on a large, yet important project— the creation of a free, youth-led, all-ages, all-inclusive space for performances, music, workshops. and creativity as part of public housing in Northeast Portland. He expressed disappointment in the fact that Portland currently has no all-ages, youth-inclusive concert spaces, and hopes to change that by saving the organization’s funds and donations to establish the community center.
More information about Friends of Noise can be found at the nonprofit’s website, friendsofnoise.org. Here, supporters of FON’s mission can find times and locations for all of the organization’s upcoming events mentioned in this article and many more. Further, readers can donate funds through the website via posted PayPal, Venmo, and Cashapp to help make André Middleton’s dream of an youth led and focused, all-inclusive community concert center a reality— one which places the importance of creative expression above alcohol sales.
Lake Oswego, OR. The Lake Oswego Art Council‘s public gallery is reopening to the public on February 23rd. There’s a new exhibition features photographs from four photographers called “Visions of 4.” The photo seen above is in the exhibit. It’s called Cape Kiwanda by John Lesch. The work of Reagan Ramsey, Richard Blakeslee, Kevin Felts are also featured. Organizers have are following precautions to keep the staff, volunteers, and the public safe. Face masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be enforced, and all areas will be cleaned and sanitized between visits.
This exhibit is on view through April 2nd. Each artist’s work represents their varied and multifaceted cultural background with their personal ethos, immersion, and passion driving their art. The gallery will kick off the exhibit with a “Virtual Opening Reception & Artist Talk” on February 26 (5-6 PM). Here’s the zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83687099581?pwd=OHhsRGJRdE5aSUM5Vys5OXYveG9EZz09
The exhibit is at the ARTspace Gallery (41 B Avenue, Lake Oswego) with visiting hours from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Old Barn Hurricane, NE Oregon (Kevin Felts)
Graffiti a la Pollock, Portland, OR (Richard Blakeslee)
About the Arts Council of Lake Oswego:
Works to ensure the arts are an integral part of life in our community now and into the future with the purpose of placement and preservation of public art in Lake Oswego, providing access to art exhibitions for residents and visitors, and advance the lifelong learning about the arts through educational programs and docent tours.
Portland, OR. Friends of Noise is a Portland-based non-profit that provides young artists with a well-rounded introduction to the music industry. (Wavy Josef, is shown playing an outdoor show above.) With professional workshops in everything from designing fliers and merchandise, to lighting and sound engineering, to networking and performing, the organization invests in its community to better prepare artists for the business side of music. Non-profits have not had an easy year, and this organization has shown that it is resourceful in keeping on track to serve local youth. With ongoing projects heading into 2021, and a long-term goal of opening an art-focused youth center in North East Portland, Friends of Noise is committed to coming out of 2020 stronger than ever.
Many local businesses were forced to halt all activities in March 2020 to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and Friends of Noise was one of them. The young community that the non-profit serves, however, was highly active in social justice causes as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum all over the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Andre Middleton, Executive Director of Friends of Noise, delivered amplification equipment and other sound assistance to marches and protests around the city. Andre felt compelled to provide the non-profit’s sound equipment to a noble cause, “I wanted to make sure that the community’s cries for justice and change would be heard.” Friends of Noise continued to be an ally for these social justice events, which also validated the idea that outdoor spaces would become a viable option for their artists.
Members of the community stand in solidarity for a common cause.
The non-profit went on to hold numerous shows in NE Portland parks throughout the summer and even hosted a social-distanced Black Lives Matter rally in Cathedral Park on Labor Day that drew a crowd of 2000. These live music events were welcomed by these neighborhoods and provided much-needed revenue for the artists and showrunners that had relied on concerts in the past. Friends of Noise makes it a point to compensate performers and showrunners, and believes it is incredibly important to show the community of artists that their time and work is valued. By showing the young artists this now by paying them for their work, Andre hopes they will take that sense of value into their futures: “We’re all about teaching and giving kids opportunities to practice what they learn, and then working to get them paid opportunities to develop this as a career. We work to make sure that young people are seen as valued members of our local music ecosystem.”
In 2021, Friends of Noise will be launching live-stream programming as an ongoing way to feature their growing youth artist directory. This programming will be a collaboration with local music venues that have been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, creating a connection between the artists and the theaters. They have partnered with theaters like Mississippi Studios, the Star Theater, and the Roseland Theater. The shows will also be multi-generational, pairing young artists with older artists, and will eventually incorporate a local dance group as well. The programming will be consistent, and the non-profit hopes this will represent the Portland music scene as a diverse and harmonious entity. This project is set to launch in January, and Friends of Noise hopes it will help sustain the local music industry through these uncertain times.
The band Out of Luck plays an indoor show before the pandemic.
Engagement in the Friends of Noise community has not slowed down with this pandemic. As a non-profit that serves Portland youth, its artists are looking for more ways to connect and be inspired by their peers. Friends of Noise knows that it cannot be a replacement for school, or other social activities that are no longer safe, but hopes that by building a strong community it can provide comradery through work and expression. This new live-stream project will support this ideal harmonious and collaborative music scene. When speaking about the future of the music industry in Portland, Andre is optimistic, “I have every confidence that young people will be pushing the envelope and be as innovative as they always have been. If we can create an ambience of collaboration over competition, this next cohort of musicians are going to be in an even better position in the future.” Friends of Noise is participating in Willamette Weekly’s GiveGuide, and you can also donate or volunteer on its website.
From Friends of Noise: Friends of Noise is a non-profit, educational, all-ages organization. Our mission is to provide safer and productive spaces for all-ages concerts, focused arts education, and leadership opportunities for youth with a focus on providing marginalized youth and youth of color access to performative creative expression. Our long-term goals are to contribute to the development of a region-wide network of young people and adults that are learned and ready to pursue a career in the music industry on stage or backstage and to grow into a youth-centered arts center that resides in a music-focused arts hub in an underserved community within our city.
We seek to create a non-profit, all-ages arts venue that is youth-oriented and youth-driven. We envision a safe, inclusive community meeting place for arts events, with a strong educational and mentorship component. We intend to engage young people in all aspects of event planning and production within this space, in order to encourage real-world skill-building. We believe these skills will serve students well in their future endeavors and help them become cultural leaders and engaged citizens in their communities.
Portland, OR. You could find your next Christmas gift at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego Holiday Marketplace. It showcases work from over 30 local artists including fine art, wood, ceramics, jewelry, handmade gifts, ornaments, textiles, confections, accessories, and more. The Holiday Marketplace is open for in-person, online, and curbside pickup shopping from Nov 28 to Dec 30.
During the two-week freeze that started on Nov 18th by order of Oregon Gov Kate Brown, the Holiday Marketplace is able to still offer in-person shopping with a lowered capacity that is limited to ten people including employees.
“I think what’s great about it is that we still are able to offer some sort of in-person shopping experience and from artists who are local,” Executive Director, Nicole Nathan, said. “So, while it may look a little bit different, we’re still able to offer the same core [values] at the heart of what we do and support our artists while also supporting the artistic community in Lake Oswego.”
The 2019 Holiday Marketplace.
In its fourth year, the Holiday Marketplace is one of the only in-person local gatherings of artists for the Portland and Lake Oswego area. Purchases directly benefit the artists and community-enriching programming of the Arts Council and this year the Holiday Marketplace can be found at the ARTspace Gallery.
For those who would like to stay local and stay safe while shopping, an online option will be available for the first time due to COVID-19 coinciding with the opening day of the Holiday Marketplace on Nov 28. The online shopping platform won’t feature everything from the gallery, instead, a few pieces of work from this years’ artists will be available to browse.
Nathan believes that this will be a good option for those who either live far away or might be sheltering place, because of travel restrictions, since they might not be able to come by in person. The online Holiday Marketplace will be able to reach those from further afield and still be able to enjoy some work, by local artists, or artists who they love and have seen before.
Some of the artwork offered at the Holiday Marketplace last year.
With restrictions in place, the Holiday Marketplace will look different this year with fewer wearables such as clothing and textiles. Vendors will also be further spread out to adhere to the six-foot guidelines. With the few pieces of clothing that are offered those will be disinfected between each visitor among other extra precautions.
ARTspace Gallery is taking all the safety precautions for a safe visit including:
Face masks are required to visit
Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the gallery
Safe distance decals and public capacity are enforced
Sanitizing and cleaning after visitors
Contact-tracing – provide information where the public can check-in
Requesting people to stay home if not feeling well
According to Nathan, “We have an incredible number of artists who’ve been with us in past years and some new work as well. There’s some beautiful work, that you can get for yourself or your loved ones; It’s really in great support of not only our artists but helps support the arts council throughout the year.”
From the Arts Council of Lake Oswego website: The Arts Council of Lake Oswego works to ensure that arts are an integral part of life in our community, now and into the future.
Portland, OR. Airlie Press provides a creative refuge for poetry lovers and writers throughout Oregon and Washington. Public readings, like the pre-covid event with Jessica Mehta pictured above, feel like a distant memory this fall, but literary works are still being produced by the nonprofit publishing house. Founded in 2007, Airlie Press is run by writers who are determined to amplify the voices of our community and use local resources to give writers a positive publishing experience. The organization also offers an annual national prize. As Covid-19 spikes in a second wave, Airlie is hard at work to publish two new poetry collections by PNW writers in 2021 while keeping up with virtual poetry readings and other online literary events.
A sample of Airlie Press publications offerings.
Like the music industry, poetry benefits from live events. Readings create hype around the work by gathering like-minded creative spirits who share food and laughter and engage with the readers by providing a vocal presentation of their work. The press has been hit hard by the pandemic. Organizers held their 2020 book launch via an online event hosted by Annie Bloom’s Books– a Portland-based independent bookstore. While it was successful, something felt off for some of the artists. Brittney Corrigan, first-year editor of the press, explained, “Not only can you not see the audience, but you can’t hear them. I appreciate that auditory feedback, especially the little sighs or the little finger snaps. It’s really a part of that poetry experience.” It may not feel exactly the same, the publisher is moving ahead with frequent readings and other online gatherings in November, and hope to continue. Airlie Press also has a growing Youtube channel, featuring the authors, as well as poets from around the world.
Before Covid, Airlie Press editors met once a month, in a Salem, Oregon cafe, to touch base and work together on publications and events in progress. The press is highly collaborative, and local winners make a three-year commitment to the press. They are involved firsthand with the publication of their own book, while also reading submitted manuscripts and contributing to other tasks along the way. Now, these monthly meetings take place over Zoom, but members admit to talking daily. Editor and author of Learning to Love the Western Sky, Amelia Diaz Ettinger, misses the in-person gatherings in Salem. “Getting to know each other and being in the same room is missed,” Amelia says as she speaks of the screen-fatigue that comes with online meetings. Not only do the editors miss that human connection, but the poetry community does as well. “Then you have a lot of people that love to go to poetry readings, that are not technologically capable. There is a published poet here in town that has wanted to be a part of Zoom, even to discuss his own poetry, but he is almost 80.”
Despite the challenges, Airlie Press is staying on track for the new year. Brittney Corrigan is heading into her second year with the press, which means her poetry book, Daughters, is heading into production. If there’s one thing these diverse poetry books have in common, it’s that they are all thoughtfully produced. Every aspect of the books is locally sourced. Publishers used local designers for the covers and a small print shop in Portland for printing.
Leaders are excited for 2021’s book production, even if Covid continues to negatively impact our artistic communities. With local bookstore giants struggling and libraries functioning under strict regulation, the road ahead may be bumpy. But may make the 2021 releases even more special. Corrigan recognizes the silver lining in the possibility of another book launch during a pandemic. “There’s a small advantage in that you can potentially get audience members from across the country, or the world, in zoom meetings that wouldn’t be there in person. I did a reading recently and my parents were able to come, and they would never get to hear me read! I am thankful for the technology; this would be a lot worse without it.”
From Airlie Press:
Airlie Press is a nonprofit publisher run by writers, dedicated to cultivating and sustaining fine contemporary poetry and to promoting poets from the Pacific Northwest.
Our process involves the submission of a full-length manuscript of poetry during an annual open submission period and an interview for our finalists with current press members. Of the submissions we receive, we evaluate manuscripts thoroughly and select the promising work by authors willing to collaborate with our consensus-based group. As a press, we commit to participate in the ongoing conversation and practice regarding inclusion and equity. To this end, we encourage submissions from underrepresented voices and poets from marginalized communities.
Airlie Press produces one or two full-length volumes a year. All funds earned through book sales, subscription orders, and contributions are returned to Airlie Press for the creation of new books of poetry.
Portland, OR. Northwest Film Center is launching a platform called Co:Laboratory. It offers both online and in-person opportunities for people who want to keep their connection to the art world. With Co:Laboratory, art lovers can engage with others by exchanging ideas with an eye toward innovation, and creativity. Co:Laboratory offers a range of opportunities, from free classes and workshops to high-level programming for professionals. The goal is to give everyone an opportunity to expand their skill set.
Another workshop offered is called Inclusivity and Your Script, offered November 18-21, which will explore approaches to creating diverse characters in film and TV.
Portland Art Museum and NW Film Center have also made a space to access tons of different types of art–from writing to film to paintings and much more– at PAM + NWFC at home. Many nonprofits around Portland have been working hard to transition to online so that the Portland community can continue to access the arts, which is a gift for many during this time.
Expansive in genre, mediums, and ideas, the NWFC’s Co:Laboratory is one grand experiment. Continuously offering online and IRL connection to people, ideas, and innovations in the media arts that help artists and art lovers sustain their curiosity and what is creatively possible, the Co:Laboratory exists to uniquely inspire new projects, new skills, and new ways of seeing. In the spirit of all creative endeavors, it will be designed to be an ever-evolving, community-driven, ongoing work-in-progress.
Portland, OR. For the past 35 years, Literary Arts has built a community around literature, books, and storytelling. A yearly highlight was the Portland Book Festival, pictured above. This year due to COVID-19 the nonprofit is moving its annual Portland Book Festival online where people can attend for free.
Up until this year, Portland Book Festival was a one-day event that drew about 9,000 attendees. Now participants will have access to the event over the course of two weeks from Nov. 5 to Nov. 21. There will be more than 100 authors, writing classes, and book events of all genres for kids, teens, and adults to explore.
The festival will also feature an exhibitor fair and writing classes for adults/youth that will be accessible online. Pop-up readings have also been filmed at the Portland Art Museum and are being offered digitally as well.
Holman Wang, a writer of children’s books, sits with a fan from the 2019 Portland Book Festival.
Festival Director, Amanda Bullock speaks on the Portland Book Festival going virtual, “The festival strives to offer something for every kind of reader and offers a diverse lineup of authors from exciting new voices to literary superstars. I really hope that the virtual festival throws the doors open even wider and that more folks get a chance to be a part of the festival.”
According to Andrew Proctor, Executive Director of Literary Arts, before going virtual there would be roughly 200-300 volunteers to help with the festival; however, the new digital format this year is not conducive to volunteer opportunities.
Although the Portland Book Festival is different this year, according to Bullock, she hopes the event will be a chance to discover parts of the festival they otherwise might not have before.
Attendees walk around the 2019 Portland Book Festival looking at the different vendors.
Volunteer opportunities may not be available for the 2020 Portland Book Festival, but there are other volunteer positions available on the Literary Arts website. One virtual opportunity is to become a college essay mentor to junior and senior high school students where a majority are first-generation applicants to college. Check out more about the volunteer opportunities here.
Portland, OR. Eight different nonprofits around Hillsboro have gotten together to make artwork and raise people’s spirits throughout the fall. The community project is called LOVE on the FENCE.
AgeCelebration is heading up the effort. On Thursdays through to October 29th, volunteers from 8 different non-profits gather at various Hillsboro School District fences across the community to add their artistic flair to LOVE signs designed by local artist Elizabeth Higgins. The colorful artwork will be up on the fences through this fall. This multi-partner community-building project hopes to encourage us all to choose LOVE more often, by reminding us that LOVE is always on the FENCE. In every moment we each have a choice, whether to reach out and create LOVE, or not.
The community is invited to walk/drive/bike around Hillsboro to experience the LOVE artwork on the fences, download your own copy of the LOVE art to color and share on social media, and donate to the eight participating non-profits as the fence artwork is completed. Follow the project @AgeCelebration and #LoveOnTheFence on Facebook and Instagram for fence locations, maps, downloadable art, photos, updates, and more.
From LOVE on the Fence:
“This multi-partner community-building project hopes to encourage us all to choose LOVE more often, by reminding us that LOVE is always on the FENCE. In every moment we each have a choice, whether to reach out and create LOVE, or not.”
The eight nonprofits that have been involved in the project are inviting the community to come to experience the artwork, download their own copy of the art, to share the joy on social media, and to donate to the different nonprofits. Information on where to go to see the artwork can be found here.
Portland, OR. Most piano teachers and students aren’t able to sit side-by-side these days; they’re learning via zoom. That’s the case with the young teachers at the Play It Forward Foundation. It was originally established by famous Portland pianist Michael Allen Harrison and has aimed to keep young musicians moving forward since its inception. It primarily operates with two distinct missions: the first is to take in donated instruments (primarily pianos) to rehouse them in public school programs and student homes; the second aims to keep these musicians in lessons while offering new teachers consistent work.
The first mission, wherein donated instruments are rehoused into public school programs and particularly talented young musicians’ homes, is just a part of how the Play It Forward Foundation is helping the community. The program’s Executive Director, Marietta Harrison, says that they look at nearly three hundred pianos a year, ultimately accepting around one hundred of these (with sometimes up to five calls a day for potential donations). These pianos are vetted and reconditioned prior to being donated in order to offer better services to the school programs or child’s home they end up in. In a time when public school’s art funding seems to be ever-declining, the organization pays for these services out of pocket in order to better serve the community.
With classes moved entirely online for the foreseeable future, potential barriers are further erased.
Rather than simply donating and dipping, so to speak, the second part of their mission aims to keep a consistent hand within Portland’s musical community. The nonprofit’s goal here is to remove any potential barriers between the students and their music– whether that be economic, logistical, or otherwise. Started in 2017 with a mere twelve students, the program was up to one hundred students by 2019.
Online piano recitals with both Michael and Marietta Harrison present.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the program would offer work to young teachers seeking experience who would often travel to the school or the student’s home in order to better erase these potential barriers faced. Currently, the program has gone completely online and classes are being held through Zoom meetings. Given everything going on in the world right now, Marietta Harrison says that this program has always aimed to be proactive rather than reactive; establishing itself in the community as an organization that erases barriers for students and encourages musical growth.
About Play it Forward:
Nearly 20 years ago, the City of Portland passed a measure that cut critical funding to music education in our public schools. Having benefited from free music education in public schools, that eventually led to a successful career as a composer and pianist, Michael Allen Harrison could not watch this happen silently. Play It Forward, affectionately known as PIF was born. Play It Forward distributes gently used instruments gifted by donors to students and music programs throughout the Portland Metropolitan Community.
If you’d like to donate to a great cause, you can do so here.
Portland, OR. Last month the Cascades AIDS Project (CAP) raised over $405,000 through their Art Auction: Reimagined. While the traditionally celebrated annual cocktail reception, patron dinner, and live art auction were missed, this year’s virtually-hosted event expanded access to sponsors around the world. The Co-chairs were Molly King and Deb Kemp (pictured above.)
Dale Johannes Program Host and Johnna Lee Wells Auctioneer
The live-video benefit, recapped here, highlighted more than 150 artists and featured an appearance by Governor Kate Brown. Raffle prizes included a two-hour, private visit to Powell’s with a $200 credit. CEO Tyler Termeer weighed on the imperative times facing Portland during his appearance, noting, “We are standing at the crossroads of dueling pandemics: COVID-19 and white supremacy. It’s a defining moment in our existence as an organization. This moment is a reminder that we cannot relent in our pursuit of equity and racial justice.”
Tyler Termeer is the CAP CEO and Karol Collymore is the Board Chair President.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of its incorporation, CAP is known as “the oldest and largest community-based provider of HIV services, housing, education and advocacy in Oregon and Southwest Washington,” according to their website. Providing social-services and health care for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS – as well as for the LGBTQ+ community in the Northwest – CAP’s budget has grown to over $14 million and its volunteer base to over 600. These services include assistance in finding secure housing, essential medical care, and emotional support to those who have been ostracized by their community.
Looking forward, CAP will continue to focus on HIV while investing in tackling health disparities that affect the community. CAP recognizes connections between these inequities and factors like race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and gender and is committed to adopting plans to address such concerns.
About Cascade AIDS Project:
Founded in 1985 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis, Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) is now the oldest and largest HIV-services and LGBTQ+ health provider in Oregon and southwest Washington, with more than 100 employees working across four locations. Our organization seeks to prevents new HIV infections; support low-income people living with HIV; and provide safe, welcoming, and knowledgeable healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Through our vital health, housing, and other social services, we help ensure the well-being of more than 15,000 people each year. More information can be found at www.capnw.org.
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