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.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

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

De-Gentrifying Portland Screening, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Elijah Hasan.

“What Happened?” by Savanna Carter, Samuel Graves and Llondyn Elliott

“Evolution of Portland” by Jonny Sanders, Baqi Coles, and Diamond Ferguson

“clarity” by Hayley Bauske and Donovan Smith

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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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DISPATCH #2 FROM CRCI

Silkscreened texture of the walls (L) and floor (R) of our classroom at CRCI.

Silkscreened texture of the walls (L) and floor (R) of our classroom at CRCI.

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.

Creating artwork that deals with place – which is essentially a core element of Know Your City’s mission – raises complicated questions about visibility (who and what areas are seen as part of the community) and voice (Who defines community? Who speaks, who listens and who is heard?).

Part of the point of this project is to create more awareness of the prison system on a local level: Portland is not just what is represented through Portlandia. I’m still a relative newcomer to town, but the more I learn about Portland, I realize that the history of this place – like most of the United States – is one of policed borders and displaced peoples. The prison industrial complex is a whole world unto itself. If you don’t have a personal connection to some one in jail, you probably have the privilege to literally never see the behemoth that incarcerates over 2.4 million people in the United States. There are close to six hundred men incarcerated in CRCI. This institution and the people in it are a part of the Portland community.

As this project has morphed from a static mural on a wall into an opportunity to create silkscreened multiples that will live in the world in many places, we’ve had some lively discussions. We’ve talked about personal and cultural understandings of flags: as expressions of pride, values, or information; as objects resonant with symbolism; as banners to inspire emotion; as a “logo for a nation;” as semaphore; as tools of inclusion and exclusion; as representations of patriotism and disillusionment. We have discussed tattoos as markers on the body that can carry meaning for two different types of audiences. Some ink has meaning only to the person who wears it – a personal reminder or message; tattoos can also serve to communicate information or ideas to an external audience. We decided that the flags we create will consider what messages, meaning and information the artists want to share with an internal audience at the prison, but also with folks on the outside. These will not be the flags of conquerors, claiming ownership or land; these flags will be crossing borders of inside and outside, and hopefully making all of us (re)consider our own role in and relationship to the prison industrial complex.

On Wednesday, we started to design the flags. We didn’t get very far because halfway through the workshop, there was an institution-wide lockdown because a tool from the shop was missing. Since I can’t share any design brainstorm images yet, the photo I’m including in the post is a sample silkscreen of two textures created a few weeks ago. We spent some time making rubbings of all the surfaces in our classroom using graphite and newsprint. The textures provide a different way to see the inside of CRCI.

Look for more updates on the CRCI mural project soon. Don’t forget: Know Your City is in the middle of our Fall Membership Drive and when you sign up to be member, you directly support our work like the CRCI Mural Project. As a member, you’ll be able to delve deeper into this project through a talk back about the project and we’re working to make the show open to all members. Make sure we can continue these critical placemaking programs – sign up to be a member of Know Your City now.

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KYC Holiday Specials: Gifts that show you love your city

Holiday Specials from your friends at Know Your City

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KYC Comics Special – all KYC comics for just $50!

Stumped by holiday shopping? KYC has got you covered! We’ve created special gift packages so you can give everyone on your list a little something that shows you love your city – and they will too. We put together 6 Holiday Specials with our friends in mind. There’s something for every taste: music, art, history and more!

Know Your City Comics  $50 This special includes KYC comic box sets, Oregon History Comics Vol. 1-10 and Comics for Change! These two box sets contain a collection of 20 stories highlighting the state’s history of activism and little-known stories, and features the work of local authors and artists. This special also includes recent KYC comics Tom McCall & the Vortex and Don’t Move Out!

KYC Flare $30 Wear your Portland and KYC pride on your sleeve! Includes a ‘Stumpton Shirt,’ designed by local artist Justin Scrappers Morrison; the Know Your City logo button; and a logo tote, perfect for carrying around some comics!

totallyportland_largeTotally Portland $35 What makes Portland so…Portland? This holiday special has the answer! KYC’s Art for the Millions, a guide to some of Portland’s most notable public works projects from the Works Progress Administration (WPA); Carye Bye’s Museums and Collections, an up-to-date guide to Portland’s hidden attractions. Also included is Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors (cheeky!); Zinester’s Guide to Portland (low/no-budget fun in PDX!) and This is Portland: The City You’ve Heard You Should Like, a recent transplants’ impression of the city. Extra treat: a Keep Portland Weird! magnet!

Seedy, Seamy, Sinful Portland $45 Looking for the Portland not shown on TV? This holiday special includes Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime and Corruption in the Rose City (need we say more?), plus two Know Your City mini-comics, Lives of Loggers and Walter Cole telling the stories of 2 different Portland pioneers – Simon Benson and Darcelle! Plus a Keep Portland Weird! sticker!

Old Town / Chinatown $50 Dig deep into Portland’s multicultural past with our  Streets of Chinatown mini-comic andSweet Cakes, Long Journeya terrific book on the history and development of Portland’s Chinatown. Then get to know 2 Portland activists who have raised the level of dignity for the people living hard in Old Town: KYC’s Comics for Change! #4 Genny Nelson and #5 Ibrahim Mubarak. Find out more about Portland’s activist past in Portland Red Guide.

singasongSing A Song of Portland! $60 Here’s a holiday package full of treasures that highlight our fair city’s musical heritage and culture. Find 2 CDs of local music, Friends & Friends of Friends, and PDX Pop Now!, a copy of Jumptown: the Golden Years of Portland Jazz, 1942-1957 (CD included!), The Life and Death of the X-Ray Cafe mini-comic and a KYC logo tote bag that neatly fits your vinyl purchases.

 

Find out how to purchase these specials and more information about our publications at our KYC shop.

Happy Holidays from Know Your City!

 

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Thank you for supporting an amazing year of Know Your City programs!

thanks your for supporting know your city
Dear Friends & Supporters,

2014 was an incredible year for us. We led fun and interactive tours, released new publications, and expanded our youth education programs. Know Your City has been hard at work empowering voices of social justice in more ways than ever.

We started off the year releasing our Comics For Change! series, honoring living Oregonian social change makers. We collaborated with diverse nonprofits to offer tours on topics like Portland tech, local film, food carts, Portland parks, local craft makers, environmental activism and economic development. We engaged dozens of youth through programs like the East Portland Newspaper Project, where a 5th grade class is producing a multilingual newspaper about SE 82nd Avenue. We kept the momentum going with other projects like the De-Gentrifying Portland youth video program and a prison arts program at Columbia River Correctional Institution.

Oh, and did we mention we fabricated and launched a bike-powered kiosk in Old Town, with the help of more than 150+ Kickstarter backers?? It’s amazing what a small organization can accomplish with an incredible network of supporters, like you. Thank you!

We’re excited for all that 2015 holds in store for us. We’ll be reopening the kiosk in Ankeny Alley, with expanded offerings and multiple tours departing daily. We’ll be releasing a new publication with Community Alliance of Tenants called Renter’s Rights: How to Avoid Evictions, as well continue to expand our youth programs, such as Food Fight!, a videography program highlighting the food desert crisis in East Multnomah County and Raising the Wage, a poster project about livable wage policymaking in Oregon.

Please become part of Know Your City by joining our membership and making a year-end donation. Contribute by visiting the support page. 

Your support enables us to continue our mission of engaging our diverse Portland community in social justice through creative placemaking. We hope that this holiday season you will show your support and give the biggest gift you can for a cause that inspires our community to be active and engaged.

Tour on!

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Marc Moscato
Executive Director, Know Your City

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