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.
From Literary Arts website: Our mission is to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.
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.
Nonprofits involved in spreading the joy:
Village Without Walls, Oregon Chorale, Bag & Baggage Productions, Le’o ‘o e ‘OFA, Hillsboro Hops Fund, Forward Stride, Hillsboro Schools Foundation, Community Action.
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.
Portland, OR. The NW Dance Project, a Portland-based contemporary dance company, had to make significant COVID-19 adjustments since it went fully virtual on March 13th. The nonprofit’s phased reopening began on August 3rd, with the renewal of some in-person classes and continued reliance on video communication platforms. Jeff George (pictured above) is one of the instructors for the limited in-person classes that take place with strict safety protocols.
The initial shutdown of NW Dance Project meant all events, classes, and training programs were canceled, as well as the furloughing of all company dancers and some staff. Like many arts organizations, NW Dance Project is currently unable to generate income with performances, so outreach to supporters has become vital.
NW Dance Project members pose for a fundraising promo shot
Social distancing guidelines have posed a challenge for everyone, but perhaps no one is more affected than dancers. Executive Director Scott Lewis points out how, unlike other performing arts such as theater or music, maintaining social distance removes a core element of what constitutes this art form. For example, the pas de deux, which Lewis describes as an intense duet, is now entirely off the table.
“There’s so much in dance that relies on the electricity in the air when humans are experiencing something simultaneously,” says Lewis. “At some point, it just hit me that everything we do is not bringing people together.”
NW Dance Project – Social disDANCING from NW Dance Project on Vimeo (seen below) is a playful approach to the COVID shutdown from NWDP dancers.
NW Dance Project – Social disDANCING from NW Dance Project on Vimeo.
The dancers’ response to these challenges highlights their pragmatism and flexibility. “They quickly saw the dance world embracing technology and accepted that this is the reality,” Scott Lewis explains. Company members have shifted their focus toward individual projects and sharing their skills over social media. In addition to individual enterprises, dancers now attend classes via video call — streamed either from NWDP’s studio or from the instructors’ homes — and students served by North Portland’s Aspire Project (closed as of June 7th, 2020) were invited to join NWDP’s virtual summer session.
These virtual classes will continue even as NWDP’s studios have reopened for limited in-person classes. Safety protocols are strictly enforced: for example, tape outlines on the studio floor mark out 100 square feet of space per person. In September, youth classes are scheduled to begin in-person with similar restrictions. Next month also brings an outdoor performance and a film-based project that unites NW Dance Project company dancers and special guest choreographers.
Lewis encourages readers to keep an eye on these upcoming projects or even attend a few classes if they are so inclined. Those with skills they are willing to share can seek out volunteer opportunities with the company or even serve as board members if they are willing to accept the time commitment.
“Any support possible will be helpful,” says Lewis. “It doesn’t need to be said how destabilizing the confluence of events has been for artists. We’re still in the first act, stay with us, stay in touch, stay supportive. This is going to be a long crawl.”
From NW Dance Project’s website:
NW Dance Project was founded in Portland in 2004 by acclaimed dancer, mentor, and choreographer Sarah Slipper. NW Dance Project is dedicated to the creation and performance of innovative, new contemporary dance works from established and emerging dance makers created in an open and artistically stimulating environment.
NW Dance Project has fostered the creation and Portland premiere of nearly 300 original contemporary dance works to date. Our dedication to providing dancers and dance-makers the resources and creative room needed to realize new inspired dance works led Dance International Magazine to proclaim that we are “changing the way dance is created” and that NW Dance Project has become “a laboratory, factory, and repository for risk-taking new works from the next generation of choreographers from Europe and North America.”
Portland, OR. The Portland Book Festival will look different than the picture above this year. Book Lovers won’t be crowding in to hear from noted authors as in the past. The literary staple of the Pacific Northwest since 2005 is changing its long-standing event from in-person to entirely online. This news comes in the wake of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has essentially curbed all social events and gatherings for the foreseeable future. Rather than canceling the annual festival scheduled for November, event organizers at Literary Arts say they want to continue community outreach during a time when people need it the most.
In years past, Portland Book Festival focuses on bringing families and the community together by offering their events for free and across many platforms.
Perhaps the most important change that Literary Arts has offered is to make the festival almost entirely free this year. This change comes during a time when many individuals may be uncertain about their financial stability and may not have been able to afford the previous cover charge for the event. Andrew Proctor, Executive Director of Literary Arts, says that this decision was made in order to better support the community during a national pandemic
Author readings will be viewable both live and backlogged for the attendee’s convenience.
Alongside the change in format, the festival will also be held across a fifteen-day span (Nov. 5-21) rather than staying as a single-day event. For this year’s attendees, that means that every seminar, class, and author reading can be accessed over the two week period, and often at their own leisure. It also means that the event becomes more accessible to everyone living here in Portland or anywhere else in the world. With formats ranging from podcasts, online blogs, and live streaming events, participants will have a range of options to suit their needs and limitations during these unprecedented times.
While things like book signings may not be available this year, online formats will still allow for attendees to interact with the festival’s many artists.
From Literary Arts:
To find out more about the upcoming 2020 Portland Book Festival, check out the Literary Arts website page on the event here. If you’d like to support a great organization, you can donate here.
Portland, OR. With quarantine keeping people at home, Literary Arts was forced to rethink how to best support the literary community of Oregon. A month ago, the organization released the winners of its annual Oregon Book Awards. Unlike previous years, where writers like Samiya Bashir (pictured above) accepted their awards in person, for the 2020 event, writers stayed home and tuned into a radio broadcast. After being rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic from April to June, Literary Arts partnered with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) to make the event happen. The winners of this year’s Oregon Book Awards were Beth Alvarado, Cathy Camper, Kesha Ajọsẹ Fisher, Deborah Hopkinson, Greg Means, MK Reed, Julian Smith, Ashley Toliver, and David Wolman. Winners would typically tour Oregon later in the year, reading from their works at various schools, bookstores, workshops, and libraries, but plans for this are yet to be determined due to the pandemic. Such tours help promote public knowledge of the authors and their diverse works, creating a significant influence on the success of their career.
The works of the Oregon Book Awards winners
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, Literary Arts decided to grant funds to writers and artists in need. The Board of Directors unanimously agreed on turning a portion of the Brian Booth Writers’ Fund into the Literary Arts Booth Emergency Fund for Writers. Literary Arts received applications for the firsts round of grants beginning at the end of April. One-hundred lucky applicants received a grant of $1,000. The second round of grant applications is currently underway.
In giving to the community, Literary Arts put special focus on providing for people of color. Surveys found that 45% of first-round grant winners identified as people of color. Literary Art’s website states: “COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color. Literary Arts is prioritizing funding for writers identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who meet the eligibility criteria.”
Associate Director of Communications Jyoti Roy expressed the organization’s intentions to work with the community to create space for people of color, whether through specialized workshops, funds, or other means.
Literary Arts also works to inspire youth and help them develop their own voices. Back in April, Literary Arts adapted their slam poetry competition for teens known as Verselandia! Youth Poetry Slam. Although the competition itself did not occur, Literary Arts created an alternative event geared toward the same audience.
Authors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Rion Amilcar Scott, and Lesley Nneka Arimah discussed the art of short-form on a virtual panel moderated by Dantiel Moniz.
Roy described their thought process as: “How do we serve the students who benefit from this event in a different way?”
Local poets led a virtual slam poetry workshop at the time the event was to occur. Participants were then invited to share their creations with Literary Arts, which are still being collected, to create a video featuring the youth’s talent.
From Literary Arts:
Literary Arts is a community-based nonprofit with a mission to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature. For the past 35 years, Literary Arts has built community around literature, books, and storytelling, and the essential ideas and issues they raise. Literary Arts is committed to remaining a dynamic and responsive organization that will continue to evolve with our community’s needs and deepen our equity work across all our programs.