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Appoint Jason Margolis as Creative Laureate for term to expire June 30, 2025 and extend term of Joaquin Lopez to June 30, 2024


As Arts Commissioner, I request Council confirmation to appoint Jason Margolis as our City's next Creative Laureate. Jason will serve a two year term starting September 1, 2023 and ending on June 30, 2025. I'm also requesting the current Creative Laureate, Joaquin Lopez to extend his tenure until June 30, 2024.

Respectfully submitted,

Dan Ryan


As Mayor and Commissioner of Finance & Administration, I request Council confirmation of the following appointments as our City's next Creative Laureates:

Jason MargolisSeptember 1, 2023 - June 30, 2025Leila Haile
Joaquin LopezExtend term to June 30, 2024N/A

Respectfully submitted,

Ted Wheeler


Jason Margolis


As Portland's new Creative Laureate, I am deeply honored to represent the city's thriving artistic community. My journey, from a young music enthusiast in Seattle to an instrumental music teacher in Portland, has been fueled by the Pacific Northwest's unwavering support for the arts. I believe in the transformative power of music and its ability to bridge communities, cultures, and generations. My aim is to foster a deeper connection between Portland's residents and its rich musical heritage, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience, appreciate, and participate in the arts. Together, let's make Portland resonate with melodies that echo its spirit, diversity, and unity. 


Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jason Margolis is a testament to the region's rich musical heritage. A proud graduate of Seattle's Roosevelt High School, Jason furthered his passion for music at the University of Oregon, where he honed his skills and expanded his musical repertoire. Given a bit of time, Jason can master almost any instrument, showcasing his innate talent and dedication to the craft. While he is proficient in playing the trumpet, drums, and guitar, Jason's insatiable curiosity for music doesn't stop there. Jason built Portland’s Roosevelt High School Music program from the ground up where no program existed since 2001. Just last year, the Roosevelt Jazz Band won the 6A Oregon Music Education Association State Jazz Band Championship.

Joaquin Lopez


When an artist externalizes their inner life onto the canvas or dancefloor, they express all the hopes, wishes, and possibilities of their community. They become conduits of energetic expression for others to observe, reflect, and learn. Artists shape and transform culture through this process. Because of this, the artist is an integral part of the identity formation of a group of people. This is why in order to transform a community, we must support, trust, and rely on the authentic expression of the artists who live in it. 

The vitality of a community is directly related to the vitality of its creative expression. We, the people, have the power to develop new works of art, new ideas to share, and new products to fuel an economic and cultural exchange. This power comes to us through the use of active imagination. Similarly, we can use this power to stir the soul of a community. Approaching life with a creative mindset is the attitude needed to foster understanding. Leading with love and kindness offers the temperament for clear communication. To be seen and accepted for who we are is the cure that heals the wound of isolation. As Creative Laureate, I will continue to lead with these values to help generate experiences that inspire the imagination to cultivate personal awareness, cultural expression, and foster community healing.  


Joaquin Lopez is a performing artist, musician, and mental health counselor whose work is grounded in community healing, personal transformation, and self-expression. He served as the Arts & Culture Manager and the Manager of Leadership Development during his time at Latino Network (2015-2020). In 2009, he founded, VOZ ALTA, a storytelling project that features the stories of Latino community members, performed live on stage by actors and musicians. Joaquin has served on the board of The Hollywood Theatre, and was the Mayoral Appointee for Open Signal (2016-2018); currently, he serves on the board of Existential-Humanistic Northwest and Gather:Make:Shelter. In June of 2021, he was appointed by city council as Creative Laureate for the City of Portland alongside Leila Haile, and in the year 2023, he was re-appointed as Creative Laureate alongside Jason Margolis. In his Creative Laureate role, he has produced two storytelling events, Pentimento | Community Stories: Memoir, Music & Poetry featuring elder Linda Jaramillo, and VOZ ALTA: Ahí Vamos! The Story of David Martinez. He is a founder of the Spanish language writing and reading group Caminos de Crecimiento which published its first book Historias de Crecimiento in January 2023. Joaquin received his B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Southern Oregon University and holds a Master’s in Counseling from Portland State University. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, he runs a counseling private practice in Beaverton, Oregon. For more information you may visit and

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

The Creative Laureate initiative was launched in 2012 by former Mayor Sam Adams to give Portland an official representative for its expansive creative community. Over the years, the role has transformed, with the Creative Laureate now championing Portland's rich arts and culture landscape. This year, Commissioner Dan Ryan selected Jason Margolis, a local musician and instrumental music teacher at Roosevelt High School, as the new Creative Laureate. Jason's mission is to bolster the city's dedication to the arts and music, emphasizing their importance in Portland's healing and rejuvenation. He will serve from September 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025. Meanwhile, the current Creative Laureate, Joaquin Lopez—a mental health counselor and performing artist—will extend his tenure until June 30, 2024.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

This action does not amend the budget and does not create or eliminate staff positions.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

It is the role of the Creative Laureates to meaningfully engage and co-create with our City’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ+, and disability artists and arts collectives. The two Creative Laureates selected bring lived experiences and deep relationships with community members the City seeks to serve as well as significant creative experience. 

100% Renewable Goal

Not applicable. 

Agenda Items


Motion to accept the report: Moved by Mapps and seconded by Ryan.
  • Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Absent


Darion Jones

Policy Advisor & Constituent Relations Coordinator

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
9:45 am
Time Requested
20 minutes
Confirmed Time Certain