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PP&R presents the 2nd Annual East Portland Summer Arts Festival: Celebrating Black Excellence!

News Article
July 8-9 at Ventura Park; Part of the Summer Free For All
Published

(Portland, OR) –

It’s back!The second annual East Portland Summer Arts Festivaltakes place Saturday and Sunday, July 8-9, 2023, at Ventura Park. Portland Parks & Recreation launched the festival in 2022 as part of the Bureau’s Summer Free For All. The theme of this year’s festival is Celebrating Black Excellence.  

The East Portland Summer Arts Festival will run 4 pm-8:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday and features

  • Multicultural music and dance performances
  • Screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Saturday, July 8 at 6pm, preceded by dance troupeSebé Kan, ahead of 
  • Arts in the Park for all ages, including Be Your Own Superhero activities on Saturday, July 8 - creating your own capes, shields, and helmets.
  • Arts in the Park (Scavenger Hunt featuring Black Historical Figures) on Sunday, July 9; win prizes while learning about impactful Black figures in arts and culture.
  • Both days: Live Karaoke – Come play, sing, and perform and sing some of your favorite songs!
  • The showcase event is a Sunday evening (6 pm) headline performance by PJ Morton, the multiple Grammy Award-winning keyboardist for Maroon 5 and an accomplished neo-soul, R&B, and funk songwriter, singer, and producer!  
Grammy Award-winner PJ Morton in a black, long-sleeved outfit and black stocking cap; he's wearing glasses and standing outside, looking to your right, on a mostly sunny day.
The showcase event of the East Portland Summer Arts Festival is a Sunday evening (6 pm) headline performance by PJ Morton, the multiple Grammy Award-winning keyboardist for Maroon 5 and an accomplished songwriter, singer, and producer.

Festival arts and music activities provided by Portland Parks & Recreation's Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center.  

Funding 

The 2020 Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy) is making the East Portland Summer Arts Festival and the rest of Summer Free For All possible. These beloved programs would not be taking place without this critical voter-approved community investment. The Parks Levy is in part and as promised delivering recreational programs, including family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and art classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and Free Lunch + Play. The Parks Levy is also committed to removing financial barriers and Summer Free For All’s free programming eliminates cost as a barrier to participation. Thank you, Portland, for your support of the Parks Levy!

“The Parks Local Option Levy has allowed PP&R to ramp up staffing to once again offer a variety of recreation programs,” notes Portland Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan. “That includes swim activities at all City pools and the popular Summer Free For All. I’m delighted to see the Levy continue to provide such a wonderful quality of life for Portlanders.”

Other Summer Free For All activities include:

Free Lunch + Play 

Play for days at Free Lunch + Play, where kids come to share a meal together and have fun in the sun! 

Thanks to our school district partners Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, Centennial School District, and David Douglas School District, PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play program expects to serve up to50,000 free, healthy lunches to children this summer in parks and at three East Portland apartment complexes. More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year.  Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break from school. Free lunches are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners. Lunches will be served at 29 sites across the city, including Mobile Lunch + Play sites.   

Mobile Lunch + Play Program, part of Free Lunch + Play 

Our Mobile Lunch + Play program is back and will travel to five locations, two times per week, in East Portland in park-deficient areas. Portland Parks & Recreation brings the Free Lunch + Play experience to children at four apartment complexes and one park for kids to enjoy meals, arts, crafts, games, and sports.  

“Summer Free For All is a wonderful way to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another vibrant season full of memorable events.”

Washington Park Summer Festival 

This beloved Portland summer tradition returns, featuring world-class performances at the gorgeous Rose Garden Amphitheater in Washington Park.  

  • August 11, 2023 – NW Dance Project 
  • August 12, 2023 – Portland Cello Project presents “Purple Reign: The Music of Prince” 
  • August 13, 2023– Opera in the Park Portland
A view from the stage (behind the keyboardist) as a huge crowd enjoys a performance by a musical group at the 2022 East Portland Summer Arts Festival.
A view from the stage from the 2022 East Portland Summer Arts Festival.

Movies, Concerts, and Cultural Events

Free movies and concerts outdoors in Portland’s parks make their return this summer, as do special cultural events including live standup comedy in partnership with Kickstand Comedy; We Outside, an outdoor wellness event for BIPOC communities, in partnership with The Numberz FM; and “The Jeffersons: Live,” a reenactment of the classic TV show, presented by playwright Kwik Jones.

Movie highlights include beloved films like Hidden Figures, The Muppet Treasure Island, Super Mario Bros, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and much more.

A few concert highlights include Jujuba (Afrobeat) on August 17 at Alberta Park, Dance United (world music & dance) on August 10 at Peninsula Park, and Tiger Tiger: A Celebration of Our Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Communities on July 22 at Fernhill Park.

Free Open Play Swim sessions at PP&R pools, part of Summer Free For All 

Portland Parks & Recreation’s popular outdoor pools are now open for the summer; running through Sunday, August 27, 2023. 

Each outdoor pool will host a weekly free swim session in addition to regularly scheduled swim lessons, open play swims, and water fitness offerings:

  • Creston Pool – Free swim on Mondays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Grant Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 1:00-3:00pm
  • Ida B. Wells Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Montavilla Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Peninsula Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 1:00-3:30pm
  • Pier Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 1:45-4:30pm
  • Sellwood Pool – Free swims on Wednesdays 6:30-8:00pm

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