Portland Art Curator for COVID and BLM Public Murals
Unfortunately, with the start of 2020 came the COVID-19 pandemic and national closings. Consequently, our agency began our services as a Portland art curator facilitating small business and artist collaborations. To start, our art advisory created inspiring public artwork to uplift spirits of the local community and beautify the streets of Portland, OR.
In 2020, local small businesses around downtown Portland began to board up storefronts and the community felt bleak. After that, our Portland art curator program began reaching out to businesses to see who would be interested in utilizing their business’s storefront as a canvas for artistic expression during this moment in history. Then, we began to align each business with artists available to donate their time, talent and resources to the initative.
Meanwhile, on May 25 George Floyd’s death sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement. Hence, Portland saw more businesses boarding up their stores. Next, to support Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC) artists and communities, we continued the community art project, however, we shifted the conversation to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.
As a result, artists created murals in their own styles: a graffiti lettering memorial for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a mosaic pop-art style of female black beauty, references to Black Boy Joy and more. Additionally, we collaborated with local nonprofit Global Works Community Fund and their inspiring group of teenagers for an outdoor mural workshop. For instance, the artwork reflected on abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), demanding justice for migrant workers, and urging that All Black Lives Matter.
To Sum up, the community art project consists of 30 murals created by 23 different artists from May to August 2020. Above all, with our experience as a Portland art curator, we were able to secure two grants from nonprofit organization Neighbors West-Northwest to fund artists for their time and supplies. Overall, it has been the honor to work with small business owners and incredible artists from diverse backgrounds to share their talent and interpretation around the current issues at hand.
KOIN NEWS: Businesses, Artists Partner to Create Murals on Storefronts
OregonLive: Portland muralists bring life to a street shut down by coronavirus
Design Portland: The Art of Protest
Neighborhood West Northwest: Neighborhood Murals
CLIENT Neighborhood West Northwest & 19 Portland Small Businesses
SERVICE Community Arts Project - Mural Festival