After reviewing 82 applications in two rounds and a day of deliberation, these 11 efforts were selected by an advisory group of community members of color who work at the intersection of arts and social justice in the greater Portland region. Their award recommendation was accepted by Metro Council. This cycle's grants support Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Japanese, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Trans, Queer communities, culturally specific small business owners, farmers of color, women who have experienced trauma and BIPOC elders and youth.
Nearly half the grants will center on the intergenerational transfer of wisdom, stories and culture sharing. Four support Indigenous-led efforts, two of which will use multiple Metro parks as welcoming and accessible places to bring Indigenous artists and community members together. These efforts will occur across the Metro region in places such as Gresham, Fairview, Tualatin, Hillsboro, in various locations in Portland and virtually.
Black Food Sovereignty Coalition Growing and Healing Spaces for BIPOC Communities, $22,000 (Southeast Portland)
This grant supports Black Futures Farm, a Black-centered production farm and community-building space in Southeast Portland. Metro’s grant will fund site-based improvements that create a more hospitable, safe and welcoming space for BIPOC communities. This includes expanding covered areas, weatherization, lighting, and other site improvements. The grant also supports a part time outreach/event coordinator and programming for community events at the farm.
Guelaguetza en Oregon, $22,000 (Hillsboro)
TierrAgua will plan and hold the Guelaguetza cultural event at Shute Park in Hillsboro to bring together Mesoamerican Indigenous communities who live in Oregon and celebrate tradition, culture, music, food and customs. The celebration provides space to share and collaborate among Indigenous communities that are often excluded and underrepresented with the larger Latinx community. The Guelaguetza creates a platform for Indigenous musicians, dancers, artists and indigenous business owners to share their roots in an inclusive space.
Pop-Up Afro-topia: Celebrating the Past and Future of Lower Albina, From Conception to Implementation, $20,000 (North Portland)
Portland Playhouse in partnership with Albina Vision Trust, will create a pop-up city rooted in Albina’s rich Black history and committed to a future where Black and Brown Portlanders feel like they belong. The immersive festival includes free performances that celebrate Black joy, Black love and Black women. The performances will be nested inside an immersive environment where concepts of Albina’s future gathered from community listening sessions are physically realized by a team of theatre makers and civic planners.
Lost Voices of the Lower Willamette, $21,490 (Portland along the Willamette River)
Portland Harbor communities have historically been sacrificed to large industry, highways and other polluting uses. This grant supports the intergenerational sharing of stories and experiences of the Portland Harbor communities through storytelling events and archives, mapping, portraiture and a live performance. Partners include the Braided River Campaign, the Black Educational Achievement Movement and Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group.
Food that connects: Oral Histories of the Japanese American Community of Oregon, $7,500 (Downtown and Southeast Portland)
This grant will support the Japanese Ancestral Socieity's recording firsthand histories of the Japanese elders of the Ikoi no Kai community, contributing digital living content to a community-led project led by the Japanese American Museum of Oregon to preserve important narratives on the way the food connects heritage and community. The partners will hold an event at the Oregon Buddhist Temple to share the videos with the greater community and make them available for viewing online. The timing of this grant is critical due to the limited timeline to engage with the Nisei and Sansei (Second and Third Generation) of Japanese Americans.
Jim Pepper Native Arts Council Placemaking with Metro, $15,120 (Eight regional Metro parks and virtual)
Beginning April through September, the Jim Pepper Native Arts Council will stage and film 2-hour events using music and cultural activities to bring people together in eight Metro parks. The events will feature Indigenous musicians, artists, storytellers, poets and teachers and include open air classes on practices and traditions such as food gathering, weaving and beadwork. The council raises awareness of Oregon’s Indigenous communities by exploring the legacy of late Jazz musician Jim Pepper, the only Oregon-born musician to have their instrument displayed in a glass case as a part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
Youth and Elder Cultural Archive on the land and water, $12,000 (Fairview, Gresham and other regional locations including Metro parks)
This grant supports the Portland All Nations Canoe Family’s Indigenous Youth and Elder knowledge sharing. Youth will create video conversations with Elders while on lands and waters that Metro has acknowledges as critical for Native community accessibility. These conversations will be teaching moments for weaving, harvesting and relating Indigenous ways of being. Sharing traditional ecological knowledge provides healing and builds self-esteem, leadership and the importance of tending to land and water as part of kinship responsibilities.
Vestal Social Justice Night and Storytelling Project, $24,890 (Southeast Portland and virtual)
This effort advances two of Vestal Elementary School’s five pillars of social justice: community diversity and family identity. Partners will expand Vestal’s Social Justice Celebration by engaging artists to collect stories from students and their families and BIPOC food cart owners. At the celebration, students and artists will present music and created in response to the stories. Field recordings during the previous project phases and event recordings will be compiled and edited into a podcast of original music and storytelling. Partners include Montavilla Jazz and Portland State University’s Artist as Citizen Initiative.
Uplifting Indigenous Culture and Community, $16,000 (Northeast Portland)
Portland Indigenous Marketplace supports artists and entrepreneurs by providing barrier-free, culturally respectful spaces that encourage cultural resilience and economic sustainability by promoting public education through cultural arts. This grant will expand their impact by adding a monthly 2-day marketplace and community art studio. It will also cover operating costs including a vendor appreciation dinner, rent, staff salaries, website maintenance and publicity for the markets.
Juntos Construimos Un Tualatin Resiliente, $16,000 (Tualatin)
This grant addresses a lack of support for Latino/Hispanic events in Tualatin and seeks to build trust and social cohesion within the Latino community. Tualatin Together and the Pili Group, a group of Latina women who have experienced domestic and/or other traumas, will create community events that reflect the values and experiences of the Tualatin community. These family events will include cultural arts celebrations to share food, dance arts such as Zumba and other types of multiculturalism. The events will include childcare.
Ori Gallery Operational Support, $16,000 (North Portland)
Ori Gallery has become a center of Queer, Trans and POC creativity and a place for artists to tell their stories without filters or gatekeepers. This grant will cover operating costs for Ori Gallery and support their work creating collaborative, equitable and safe spaces for QTBIPoC artists to create, display and process their work. They will host workshops, lectures, panels and exhibitions that foster dialogue, political and cultural education, skill sharing and movement building.