Seeking Our Next Creative Laureate

News Article
The City of Portland is seeking candidates to serve as our next Creative Laureate.
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The Creative Laureate initiative was established in 2012 by former Mayor Sam Adams with an intent to provide Portland with an official ambassador for the broader creative community. The role has evolved over the years and the Creative Laureate is now an active advocate for Portland’s diverse arts and culture ecosystem. Therefore, the Creative Laureate must meaningfully engage and co-create with our City’s BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disability artists and arts collectives.   

What are some basic traits of the Creative Laureate? 

The Creative Laureate can be from any creative and artistic industry. This includes, but is not limited to, painters; potters; dancers; musicians; authors; poets; filmmakers;  crafters or makers; or artists working in spoken word, mixed media, or digital media.  

This candidate is confident in representing various communities, meaning they have done work and/or have begun creating genuine and meaningful relationships with Portland’s broader creative community and communities of color.  

A core component of this role is the willingness and experience to engage deeply in arts advocacy and education. With the goal of creating a more equitable arts landscape the Laureate will be expected to actively interact with the public through channels such as media interviews, public speaking, workshops, and displays or presentations of their artistic work.  

You are emotionally compassionate and engaged, while finding joy in many different artistic forms. Given that this role requires immersing yourself into our arts ecosystem, the Creative Laureate is invited to artistic events in different capacities - e.g. judging youth competitions, announcing winners of events, facilitating conversations amongst artists and/or arts advocates). So, it is important for the potential candidate to resonate and have an ease with our pluralistic arts environment.   

In addition to the above, candidates will be selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Record of consistent and meaningful artistic work. 
  • Ongoing relationships with the broader arts, culture, and creative communities (including but not limited to BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ arts communities). 
  • Willingness to serve a full term (2 years).  
  • Commitment to meet the expectations and time requirements of this volunteer position. 
  • A personal commitment to equity and expanding access to the arts. 

Subashini Ganesan, our City’s Creative Laureate for the last several years, has served our community with distinction and grace.  Here are a few projects that occurred in her time: 

  1. Conducted an “Affordable Artist Space” Questionnaire to better understand what "affordable" means to artists in need of space in our city.  
  2. Mobilized over 50 members of Portland’s Arts & Culture community to participate as a coalition at the "Walk with Refugees and Immigrants" event in East Portland.  
  3. Master of Ceremonies for East Portland Arts & Literature Festival performances and presentations at APANO.   
  4. Collaborated with Professor Richard Clucas (Hatfield School of Government at PSU) to facilitate two community forums called “Building Political Support for the Arts in Portland.”  
  5. Co-founded and organized the “PDX Area Artist Emergency Relief Fund” from March – July 2020. The fund distributed over $170,000 to 250 artists across the Portland tri-county region.  

What are the parameters of the Creative Laureate position?

The Creative Laureate is considered a public official and will be expected to represent the City accordingly, adhering to public records laws and other community expectations. The position is unpaid, but will receive a yearly $5,000 stipend to compensate for any direct costs associated with official duties.  

The Laureate reports directly to the City’s Arts Commissioner, meeting at regular intervals with the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s staff. The term of service is two years, and the position is not eligible for reappointment.  

The Creative Laureate will be expected to participate in the selection process for their successor.  

APPLICATION – Deadlines and Application questions  

Applications will be accepted starting April 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021. The Creative Laureate will be selected and announced in late-May/early June 2021. 

In no more than 1-2 pages total, please answer each of the following three questions:  

  1. Why do you want to be the City of Portland’s Creative Laureate?  
  2. How would you describe Portland’s arts, culture, and creative ecosystem? Include the communities you have had the opportunity to work closely with and who you would want to reach out to as the Creative Laureate. 
  3. Describe two or three things that concern you about our arts ecosystem and tell us how you might go about addressing these in your role as Creative Laureate. 

Supporting Materials:- 

  • Your current resume or CV 

  • Three references (just their names, affiliations, and contact information) 

Need some help thinking through this application?

Subashini, the current Creative Laureate, will be available for office hours in April to answer questions and provide insight on the position. Email if you would like to take advantage of this conversation.  

Please submit applications to no later than 5:00pm on Friday, April 30, 2021. 

Thank you!