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On Tuesday, February 3rd join KYC members for a Talk Back with artists Emily Squires and Sharita Towne.

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Watch videos from the De-Gentrifying Portland program – now online.

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Our weekly walking tours start back up May 1st. Read about it here!

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De-Gentrifying Portland – photos and last thoughts

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2014. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

De-Gentrifying Portland has concluded and we wish to thank Program Coordinator and artist Sharita Towne and participating youth: Hayley Bauske, Donovan Smith, Mia Robinson, Baqi Coles, Diamond Ferguson, Jonny Cool Star Gazer, Llondyn Elliott, Savanna Carter and Sam Graves. The program provided instruction and resources for predominately African-American youth to explore urban development and gentrification through filmmaking. Know Your City wishes to thank program collaborators and partners: Portland African American Leadership Forum, Self Enhancement, Inc and Portland Community Media, the project funders – Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and Regional Arts & Culture Council, as well as the many guest speakers and those who provided input along the way –Lisa Bates, Avel Gordly, Mic Crenshaw etc (too many to name here!).

The program culminated in two public screenings: one at Rosewood Community Initiative (thank you Jenny Glass!) and the other at the Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge (thank you John Bryant!). Thanks to everyone who came out to both screenings, which showcased “I Am Your Neighbor” – a zine produced by students, the student films, several films made by local artists and educators, a collaborative T-shirt project, local spoken word and hip hop, and a panel and community dialogue after the screenings. You can watch the final videos from the screenings below the cut.

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“I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zines. Photo by Shawn Patrick Higgins.

A special thanks to all the contributors to the “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zine (produced in a PhotoVoice workshop with PAALF and SEI): Ciara Niece, Kahedja Burley, Rose M. Hall, Mon’et Franks, Dezhae Moreland, Robert White, Asia Savage, Deshawn Spencer, Sabrin Sanders and Leroy Lott. View the “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zine here. A second edition of the book is being printed and will be available at the talk back and future screenings (see below).

Here’s a few last thoughts from Donovan Smith (Ignorant Reflections), a participating artist in the program:

Gentrification is over! Well…not really…at all, but the De-Gentrifying Portland project working to shed light on the the various effects that this process has on people has wrapped up.

The two screenings at Sons of Haiti and Rosewood Initiative went extremely well; packed houses at both venues. The youth filmmakers were on hand for a panel-style discussion following both presentations where audience members were able to pick the brains of the young geniuses. From films and music, shirts and posters, and good conversation the city was left with more tools to use while considering gentrification and other issues from both a local and national perspective.

Another thanks to Sharita Towne, Portland Community Media, KBOO, Jodi Darby, Erin Yanke, and all others that made this project possible; especially the YOUTH!

Thanks, Donovan!

While the De-Gentrifying Portland program has concluded, there are a few events in the works that carry on the program’s message. Know Your City will host a members Talk Back event w/ artist Sharita Towne (and Emily Squires) on Tuesday, February 3rd, 5:30PM-7:30PM at Union Station. Sharita and Emily will discuss their respective programs and share highlights, and there will be drinks and refreshments. This is a special opportunity to meet other Know Your City members who care about art and social justice and deepen your connection to our vital community work. RSVP recommended; more info here.

Additional screenings are being confirmed at SEI and Rosewood Community Initiative. More details coming soon. Watch the videos and see more photos from the North Portland De-Gentrifying Portland event, taken by Elijah Hasan, December 13th, 2014 at Sons of Haiti Lodge after the jump.

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Reflections: Dispatch from CRCI Mural Project #3

Some background: The CRCI Art Workshop is a 12-week collaborative project in which participants will design, create and install a site-specific artwork inside of Columbia River Correction Institution (CRCI), a minimum security men’s facility in North Portland. We’re designing, creating and installing a series of flags – imagine the flags flying above used car lots, flags marking the end of the swimming pool, or Tibetan prayer flags, floating on the wind – and we will hang them throughout the interior and exterior space of CRCI. All participants will also mail flags to people of their choosing on the outside.

We have just started screenprinting. Here’s a pile of the first batch of flags:

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A few of the participants took some time to write thoughts on what it is like to be in our art workshop. Here are their reflections:

Punished for telling the truth and for feeling guilty; the act was punishment enough; I know I’m not a bad person, so does everyone who takes the time to get to know me; it is really hard for me to talk to people, I get really nervous. I start to shake and sweat and my words and thoughts never come out, my opportunity is lost. My drawing and stories I write are subliminal but mean so much, they are glimpses of who I am. Enjoy. (Balue)

This workshop is doing a lot for me, it’s hard to narrow it down enough for me to put into words. I have been taken out of the world. To my friends, family, and neighbors I simply disappeared but this is allowing me to create something, something for my alter-universe I am in now, but also for the universe I once belonged to. I can’t explain how I feel about that, it now seems like I have a place back in the universe I was ripped from. (Dakotah)

This program has helped me branch out of my one-trick pony style. I’m starting to realize my art can carry a message. (Steve)

Life is not counted by the breaths you take but by the times your left breathless. (Nik)

Prison – a dismal experience at best. One day a week I experience a brilliant ray of sunshine. I call it “My art in prison” time. It is my time to smile, have fun, be free. This is not your typical art experience. You don’t have to be an amazing artist to feel at home in this class. We use a lot of modalities and each class is very experiential. We have done etchings, timelines, learned about color, made books, and we are now making flags, to name just some of the things we do in class. This class means the world to me. It allows me to escape the typical prison experience and play in the realm of free expression. It is very expansive and I am very grateful for this class. [Cliff]

“Mural Class.” C.R.C.I. “2014” – this class has been “excellent” for “me.” As a way to channel “positive” behavior. I enjoy this to the extent that I am an aspiring “artist” who maintained from the start of this program that this would be a fun experience for me and others as well. Upon my enrolling others saw “me” and joined as well. People figure if he’s cool and doing programs like this then I might as well ask and enroll. Just like that the class grew. And now I can say I look forward to doing future programs as such.” [Joe]

Stay posted for details about a preview of the project, and the conclusion of the program in the coming days.

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volunteer posting: membership coordinator

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Are you interested in learning fundraising and development? Here’s your opportunity to join a growing nonprofit organization! Through this internship, you’ll learn hands-on skills, helping in our day-to-day operations, and fulfilling our mission of engaging the public in arts and social justice projects.

KYC is looking for a volunteer Membership Coordinator to assist with its membership and donor management efforts. Volunteership requires approximately 2-8 hours of work/ week, with job responsibilities which include overseeing donor management system database, communicating with donors and manage fundraising campaigns and assisting with organizational outreach and community engagement efforts.

This is a great opportunity to learn hands-on development and fundraising skills at a rapidly growing nonprofit organization. Work is based at our downtown office in historic Union Station, and some work that can be done remotely.

Download the job posting here. We are looking for someone to start as soon as possible, or by January 1, 2015. For more info, email: ask@knowyourcity.org.

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