After reviewing the 92 applications received, these 10 efforts were selected by an advisory group of community members of color who work at the intersection of arts and social justice in greater Portland. Their award recommendation was accepted by Metro Council. These grants, totaling $208,180, will occur across the Metro region in places such as Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego and various locations in Portland and Washington County. These grants will be lead by and benefit Black, Indigenous, other communities of color and other historically marginalized communities in our region.
Undefined and Overlooked: Unheard voices of adoptees ($24,500) to Theatre Diaspora
Taking place virtually, in Beaverton and Portland and serving members of the Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese adoptee community
While many Asians who are adopted experience the same racism as other people of color, many feel left out because they have never truly felt like they belong in either the Asian American community or white America. This effort will help adoptees connect and share their stories how they want to be told, with truth and authenticity through multiple generations of adoptees. The grant will support Theatre Diaspora’s partnership with Asian adoptee organizations to hold lead-in workshops that will culminate in a social practice interactive arts festival during National Adoptee month. The festival includes the performing and sharing of Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese adoptees’ stories, a screening by an adoptee filmmaker, an adoptee photography exhibit, an open-mic portion and an interviewer to capture participants’ stories. These stories will be added to a virtual archive of more than 30 oral history stories of adoptees from around the country and Oregon.
Rosewood Makers Markets ($14,880) to The Rosewood Initiative
Taking place in East Portland and serving creative Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee makers and Rosewood neighbors
The Rosewood Initiative’s makers markets offer a much-needed opportunity for diverse makers from Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee communities to accessibly share and celebrate their cultures while safely gathering to sell their wares. Participants build their social capital and connections across cultural communities, celebrate the diversity of the neighborhood, and local makers increase their confidence. For neighbors, the markets provide access to culturally relevant foods, art, and clothing. This grant will support the Rosewood Initiative’s makers markets held this summer and also fund 250 vouchers per market (Rosewood Bucks) for community members to subsidize some of their shopping, helping to ensure a successful market for the vendors who are creative makers within the Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee communities.
Day of Hope Celebration ($10,000) to Constructing Hope
Taking place in Northeast Portland and serving BIPOC construction pioneers, muralists, skilled-trade employers and unemployed community members
Black and Brown people are missing from the construction trades and even more so from the ranks of management and ownership. This event will bring together generations of BIPOC Oregonians, including those who founded their own construction companies. It will open the doors for unemployed community members and young people planning their future. This grant will support Constructing Hope’s event honoring 18 BIPOC Construction Pioneers who pointed the way for other low-income Oregonians of color. A Day of Hope celebration will bring together the featured elders, muralists and artists of color, construction employers and unemployed community members to celebrate, share stories of the past, and learn about opportunities for the future. The day will include presentations, food and talks with the artists. Construction contractors, apprenticeship center representatives, and Constructing Hope staff will meet with candidates for free-of-charge construction skills and life skills classes.
Voices of Wisdom ($17,800) to Seven Vision
Taking place in various locations in the Portland metro area and serving Indigenous, Black and Latinx youth, elders and hip-hop artists
Under-served Indigenous, Black and Latinx youth who have experienced homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disability, learning differences, trauma, foster care/shelters and juvenile detention are less likely to thrive standardized educational settings. They lack opportunities for in-person community connection and rites of passage that support a healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood. The grant will support Seven Vision to produce workshops for four groups of youth ages 14 to 21. This programming will provide mentorship from positive role models so participants can attain a newfound sense of self-empowerment and self-worth and use tools to transform negative energy of hardship or trauma into positive forms of creative expression. Participants will engage with local hip-hop artists, participating with them in talking and sharing circles to create a culture of respect and equality as they explore themes such as transformation through struggle with identity, addiction and violence, and finding a spiritual path. They will work with the artists to create their own raps or spoken word poetry and create a video or performance. Youth will also be introduced to teachings of Indigenous elders and cultural values. Participants will showcase their work with parents and friends at the last session and a videographer will document the workshops and create videos for community media partners.
Perception Transformed ($21,200) to Perception Transformed
Taking place in various locations in Portland and serving queer trans people of color
The queer trans people of color community is under-represented in mass media. It is critical for people to not only see themselves in imagery but to also see positive, joyful depictions as well. This is harm reduction for a group who are accustomed to experiencing violence. This grant creates space for trans folks to immerse themselves in art, beauty and community that reflects their bodies, their ideals and their hopes. This grant will support Perception Transformed showcase of photography projects which will include themes of the Asian Diaspora (a showcase of the diversity of trans Asian Americans), Decolonizing Gender (an exploration of anti-binary identities of Native Nations and Polynesian Islands), People Menstruate (a showcase of all types of genders with periods) and Back to School (a photoshoot aimed to provide a safe space for trans kids to have their portrait taken in ways that feel gender-affirming). They will also produce a zine to share stories of all the models.
The Assembly Center ($24,400) to the Japanese American Museum of Oregon
Taking place in North and Downtown Portland and serving Japanese Americans, Asian Americans and the Native American and Black communities
In 1942, Executive Order 9066 impacted 125,484 persons of Japanese ancestry, mostly American citizens. What is now the Portland Expo Center was the site where 3,676 Japanese Americans from Oregon and southwest Washington were warehoused. This project will highlight a history the Japanese American community has never recovered from. Untold, the collective memories of survival and trauma overshadow stories of creativity and resilience. The site also holds stories of Native Americans and African Americans, specifically to Vanport, and these histories of people of color are often siloed from each other. Through art and healing approaches, community connections can be rebuilt. This grant will support the Japanese American Museum of Oregon to produce an event and lead-in engagement focused on untold histories, lessons learned and intersecting stories of communities of color all centered around the Assembly Center site, what is now Expo Center. A performance by a community cast will share stories of Japanese registration, detention and daily survival. The event will include listening stations for oral histories and archival materials. Projected videos will represent Vanport survivors, Japanese Americans, African Americans and Native Americans to create a place for reflection and healing. A series of engagement activities will lead up to the event and include Community Reflection Circles and activities for youth.
People's Market: A Place to Be ($22,400) to The People’s Market
Taking place in Gresham and serving the Black community, Black vendors and Rockwood neighbors
The People’s Market was created for community, by community and provides opportunities for community members to resist the next round of gentrification. The market helps establish Rockwood as a place where Black people and their families can be, feel welcomed and thrive economically and culturally. It is a place where Black folks connect with each other and the wider Rockwood community. This grant will support the People’s Markets from May through October 2023 and promote Black vendors, African American and African arts and cultures. They will also create one larger event per month and will include Early May Kickoff, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, Summertime, Harvest Festival and Halloween.
Keaton Otis Memorial Art Project ($25,000) to the Justice for Keaton Otis Collective and Lloyd EcoDistrict
Taking place in Northeast Portland serving Black Portlanders, those affected by police violence and local artists
The Keaton Otis Memorial Art Project is the result of a three-year, deep-rooted community engagement process to explore the connections between public space, the struggle for justice for Black lives lost to state-sanctioned violence, and the love for Black imagination and community thriving in Portland. It honors Keaton Otis, whose 25-year-old life was cut short by police on May 12, 2010. It also honors his father Fred Bryant, who began a monthly vigil at the site of his murder that continues to this day. The Justice for Keaton Otis Collective, which hosts these monthly vigils, convened racial and community justice organizations over three years to vision this artistic memorial at Northeast Sixth Avenue in the Lloyd EcoDistrict. It will be the first permanent memorial of its kind for a victim of police violence in Portland. This grant will support memorial components including memorial seating; a plinth or light tower with an onsite narrative; a phenakistoscope to visually convey the perpetual motion of Keaton’s life, Black love, cycles of healing, and the ongoing nature of seeking justice; and a virtual mural on the building where the bullet holes are still visible. This grant will also support the development of a website to tell the deeper story of this memorial and its creation.
Showcase of Local Muslim Women's Art ($23,000) to Muslimahs United
Taking place regionwide serving and Muslim women of color and the Muslim community
This grant provides space for Muslim women of color to work through traumas via art and provides an opportunity for the larger community to better understand the fears that Muslim women face in the Western world. This grant will support Muslimahs United and their work with Muslim women of color, including those who have experienced domestic violence, through an artist mentorship program where experienced artists mentor and guide aspiring artists over the year. This culminates in a showcase that will bring together local Muslim artists and performers to display their work and talent and build confidence and agency. The exhibit will challenge stereotypes of the Muslim community by showing its rich diversity through art, poetry, storytelling and dance, and helps strengthen the Muslim community’s connections with newcomers, long-term residents and the broader non-Muslim community in the Portland Metro Area.
Arts and Culture for All ($25,000) to Peruvian Cultural Festival and Events
Taking place in various locations in Washington County and serving the Peruvian community including Indigenous and AfroPeruvian and BIPOC leaders
The Peruvian community is often excluded or underrepresented within the greater Latinx community. This effort will share Peruvian culture with a focus on access for marginalized or underserved communities and low-income youth and families. The grant supports the Peruvian Cultural Festival and their programming to provide year-round dance, art and music workshops and cultural family-friendly events. Community members will learn about Peruvian traditions and culture and have a safe space for group recreation and expression. Activities will involve local and emerging BIPOC leaders and link different cultures to create more acceptance and cultural empathy between communities. Inclusion of Indigenous and AfroPeruvian culture will be prioritized in the programming, elevating cultural identity, traditions and histories and multicultural collaboration.