RACC Fellow Reaches into His Own Past

LARRY JOHNSON brings history to life with Museum Media Inc., which offers AV production and design for exhibits at museums across the country. RACC’s 2012 Fellow in Media Arts set off on a more personal path with Stuff, a film about sorting through his late father’s storage unit.

“It was brilliantly made,” says grants officer Helen Daltoso, “and it turned out more personal than I think he ever anticipated.” His next project, tentatively titled Ghost Money, focuses on his experience in Vietnam as an entertainment booker for the military.

RACC’s fellowship award, which cycles through literary, performing, visual, and media arts each year and is open to local artists who have worked in their field for at least ten years, comes with a cash award of $20,000. Johnson has already used some of the funds to travel to Vietnam, shooting current scenes to go with his own archival footage.


Expanding the Collection

THE MONUMENTAL sculptures along the new east-side streetcar line have dominated recent discussion about Portland’s public art collection, but they weren’t the only new entries in the region’s free indoor-outdoor museum.

Public art throughout Portland and Multnomah County continues to diversify, not only in terms of the artists but also the styles, mediums, and locations of the works. One of six murals funded in 2012, Antwoine Thomas’s energetic The Eyes of All at SE 162nd Avenue and Stark Street, for example, is far from the established cultural zones of downtown Portland. Nearly 100 community members of all ages helped with the project.

Since May 2012, artists Carl Diehl, Ariana Jacob, Mack McFarland and Jeffrey Richardson have been leading video production workshops with clients at Bud Clark Commons in Old Town. The BCC-TV project might be physically located downtown near public-art-heavy bus and MAX lines, but instead of being housed in a major arts institution it’s based at a social service center for the homeless and those transitioning out of homelessness. This partnership with Home Forward and Transition Projects, Inc. exemplifies a major goal of the program and its collection: to represent and engage the entire community, according to public art manager Peggy Kendellen.

Another group that might be overlooked by traditional arts programming: sports fans. Last March, Timbers supporters got their first look at sculptor Ron Baron’s cast-bronze log round, You Are Here, at Jeld-Wen Field. The beloved piece is nine feet in diameter and studded with allusions to the history of the stadium and the surrounding Goose Hollow neighborhood.



Party People

IN DECEMBER, RACC threw its first-ever signature fundraising event, “pARTy in the Name of Art,” honoring and thanking the man many partygoers called “the greatest arts mayor we’ve ever had.” With only weeks left in his tenure, Sam Adams was at times tossed onto a stage that also featured Storm Large, Julianne Johnson-Weiss, Grupo Condor, and performers from the Circus Project, BodyVox, and PHAME Academy, among many others. Artisan eats, pop-up performances, local celebs and a DJ’ed dance party rounded out an evening of entertainment that only RACC could convene.

Held at YU Contemporary on the inner east side, the fete was also a benefit for The Right Brain Initiative and Work for Art. Event sponsors and the 750 attendees raised $18,000 for the two programs. “RACC continues to explore ways to celebrate and support the local arts community,” says Jeff Hawthorne, RACC’s director of community affairs. “This event provided us a great template if we’d like to do something similar in the future.”


Tents and Talks Fill Installation Space

PORTLANDIA LOOMS outside, but art doesn’t stop at the door of the Portland Building. Anyone popping in to pay a water bill might spot the installation space just off of the lobby. Submissions are sought each fall for works to fill the 13-by-8- foot space for a month at a time.

Jodie Alexi Cavalier’s minimalist sculpture was a distillation of the Portland Building itself, while Christy Hawkins’s Outdoors In eschewed the cityscape in favor of a plush quilted camping scene meant to inspire visitors to find a little nature of their own. Hawkins and Cavalier were among three artists selected last winter from 31 applicants in the student category, while another six pieces were drawn from 33 proposals in the professional artist category. The space became a recording studio for Stephen Kurowski and Marina Tait’s Project Everyone, which invited participants to answer a series of eight questions in videos that then became part of the show.