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You’re invited to these events for Community Healing through Art

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Join Portland’s creative communities in an expression of our city’s resilience and diverse ways we grieve and heal together.
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Community Healing through Art” is an arts-focused, community-informed collective grieving and healing initiative. The initiative is led by our former Creative Laureate, Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, with support from the City Arts Program, Mayor Wheeler's Office and Commissioner Rubio's office. Our initiative seeks to: 

  • respectfully amplify the diverse ways by which we grieve, mourn and heal as a community. 

  • honor and highlight artistic and communal resiliency. 

  • recognize that our survival depends on intertwined communities of cultural organizers, artists and activists creating and sharing space, resources and mutual aid. 

Subashini Ganesan, Portland Creative Laureate
Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, former Portland Creative Laureate

The Community Healing through Art initiative was designed by Ganesan-Forbes to amplify the power of art to support healing in our community. For several months, Ganesan-Forbes collaborated with multicultural communities and convened community conversations to inform a citywide strategy for honoring the community’s reflections on the events of the past year and a half – including the COVID-19 pandemic, political discord around the necessary racial reckoning work, extreme climate disasters like wildfires and an ice storm, and other drastic changes to daily life.

“These thoughtful and deeply emotive projects are evidence that in these historic times of heightened emotional exhaustion and grief, so many local artists are showing up in grounded and significant ways,” said Ganesan-Forbes. “Through these and other activations, we as a City can work towards healing as a community by building meaningful relationships between art-makers and cultural organizers. It is this intersection that has the ability to highlight and deepen our communal resilience.”

We hope you can join us at one of these events.


September events

Dawson Park Concerts 

The Elliot Neighborhood Association has restarted its summer concert series that holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Historic Albina community, particularly Black Portlanders. The population of the Eliot Neighborhood has been particularly affected by gentrification and ongoing racial disparities, and the Dawson Park concert series provides an opportunity to bring the community together again positively. The next concert is September 16 from 5-8 p.m.; for more information, visit https://eliotneighborhood.org/c….

Joy (Comes) In the Mourning  

Joy Comes in the Mourning

Portland Playhouse invites you to nine days and nights of free, in-person and virtual interactive experiences exploring and celebrating the rituals of loss and grief – through performances, art installations, workshops and discussions curated by Portland Playhouse’s Community Programs and Associate Artistic Director Ramona Lisa Alexander. 

The series draws on local, African diasporic and/or Indigenous cultural traditions, creating space for neighbors to acknowledge and release their grief together in public. Inspired by the Jamaican “nine-nights” it takes for a spirit to leave a dead body, the series includes rituals, song, dance and cooking. September 10-18 at Portland Playhouse in North Portland. For more information, visit https://portlandplayhouse.org/j…

Poetry is a Prompt - a Joint Collaborative Poem Garland 

IPRC's poem garland

The Independent Publishing Resource Center invites you to contribute to a collaborative poetry garland that is a collective meditation on grief and healing. Visit the IPRC’s new Martha Grover Zine Library/classroom through October 2 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between noon and 6PM to be, to write, and to take away journals and booklets made by IPRC staff to help you continue your healing journey through writing.

Intisar Abioto, Stephanie Adams-Santos, jayy dodd, Catie Hannigan, and Coleman Stevenson have created first lines of poetry to inspire your writing. Crystal Thomas has created a sculptural structure to hold your lines of poetry written on paper chain garlands. For more information, visit https://www.iprc.org/event/poet…

Ten Tiny Dances®

An aerial dancer

Ten local dancer/choreographers participated in community listening sessions in the Lents neighborhood, and shared their reflections of the experience when they performed original choreography on a 4' x 4' stage in Lents Park on September 12. These dances were videorecorded and will premiere on portland.gov on Friday, September 17.

Together, Stitching Hope: Peace by Piece 

A creative-making, anti-violence and community-healing project

This creative-making, anti-violence, and community-healing project connects Black youth to Black elders through the act of making culturally relevant and spiritually infused quilts . The project also provides wisdom and empowerment to youth, including those who are gang affiliated, or have been involved in the criminal justice system. Through conversation and creative action, this project attempts to inspire Black youth to invent new patterns for their lives and create something beautiful.

Participants are invited to help sew quilts throughout the month of September (visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d… for more information), and the final quilts will be presented in November.


October events:

Black Arts Showcase 

Akela Jaffi and the Black Sun Collective will present a three-day mini music festival October 22-24 with food, vendors and a panel discussion with Black creatives. Visit https://akelajaffi.com/connect/ for more information. 

Dawson Park Concerts 

The Elliot Neighborhood Association has restarted its summer concert series that holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Historic Albina community, particularly Black Portlanders. Join us October 7 from 4-7; for more information, visit https://eliotneighborhood.org/c….

Graves into Gardens

East Portland Collective presents Graves into Gardens, a project to create a permanent community art mural in memory of Robert Delgado, one of Lents’ houseless neighbors who was experiencing a mental health crisis at Lents park when he was shot and killed by Portland Police in April 2021. A community event is scheduled for October 9 at Lents Park; visit https://www.eastpdxcollective.o… for more information.

Palestine through the Senses 

Food as Medicine - Food as Ritual

The Center for the Study and Preservation of Palestine will present three events that engage the community in collective grieving, healing and empowerment. Each event will address a different sensory aspect of Palestinian culture: sound art, visual art, and engaging with the land through nourishment  The first event, "Food as Medicine, Food as Ritual" is Sunday, October 3 from 1-5pm in Woodland, Washington. (Please note: future events will occur in Portland.) More details will be announced soon, visit https://www.cspp.site/ for more information.

Remembering 

Indigenous People's Day Celebration at Friendly House

REMEMBERING is a collaborative effort by the Portland Native Community, Friendly House, Laura Campos, and a.c.ramírez de arellaño. The project will create a large weaving, each strand representative of each person's interrelatedness within a larger whole. Materials will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring small meaningful objects from home that can be woven into the public artwork. The event on October 10 and 11, which is free and open to the public, will include intergenerational activities such as storytelling, music, children’s activities, and food. For more information,  visit https://fhpdx.org/.

Rhythm Project: Walking to the Heartbeat Event

Unit Souzou will present Rhythm Project: Walking to the Heartbeat Event on October 9 at Orchards of 82nd. In collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Artist Horatio Law, filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone, and a neighborhood cohort will devise a series of healing and processing experiences acknowledging pedestrian safety in East Portland’s Jade District, a historically under-resourced area and one of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in Oregon. For more information, visit http://unitsouzou.com/experienc…


Other events in development (dates to be announced):

BIPOC Ritual Time Capsule 

YGB Portland presents BIPOC Ritual Time Capsule, an opportunity for community members to commune and pick up time capsule kits that they can take home and share with friends and family. These kits, including various pieces of art and media, will guide folks to slow down and make space for reflection, healing, and grief – a literal and energetic holder of memories and time, which is so important for BIPOC people in a world that seeks to erase their histories. Stay tuned for dates and other information, or visit https://www.facebook.com/YGBPor…

Black Feast  

Founded and curated by two Black queer artists, guests and artists across communities will come together to share an intimate and sensory four-course meal, and experience poets, musicians and artists of many mediums. Black Feast is literally and figuratively a warm blanket to hold you, hot tea to soothe you, food to love you, art to uplift you, and a best friend to hear you. Stay tuned for more information, or visit https://blackfeastdinner.com/

Community Healing through Art, Youth Outreach, and Conversations about Belonging

Community members painting a mural in SE Portland

Color Outside the Lines is bringing together an array of BIPOC artists and underserved youth to collaboratively create eight murals on the East side of the Willamette River. Several murals have already been created, and the organization will present a workshop series next spring to encourage conversations about belonging and healing. Stay tuned for more information, or visit https://coloroutsidelines.org/

KIMJANG! - Nourish Your Soul 

In the spring of 2022, Joe Kye will present KIMJANG! - Nourish Your Soul, an afternoon of communal healing and refueling for Asian American creatives. Chef Han Ly Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin will produce a communal meal of Korean BBQ, with attendees making their own kimchi to take home. The event will be dedicated to Matt Choi, the late owner of Choi’s Kimchi, a Portland-based Kimchi company, who passed away tragically in October 2020. 

A Memorial Project for Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears  

This project addresses the trans community’s mourning of the murder of Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears. The memorial art project’s goal is to nurture the seeds of radical creativity, and deep space for mourning. Stay tuned for more information, or visit https://www.blackbeyondthebinar…

UwUnoco Flo

UwU Collective is a Portland-based artist collective that uplifts the voices of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) and Trans/Gender non-conforming (T/GNC) people. In the summer of 2022, the collective will present UwUnoco Flo, an all-day multidisciplinary art event with visual art, dance, and nature to help community members process grief. This event will serve as the catalyst to individual and communal healing. For more information, visit https://www.instagram.com/uwupdx/


Community Healing through Art events are funded in part by the City of Portland, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and the Oregon Community Foundation. 

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