Let's tell the story of an idea.
I spent the last year working on a project called "The Open-Air People's Art Museum" in Old Town Chinatown, Downtown Portland. The initial ask was to document the development of an idea my neighbor had but eventually I ended up getting involved in many other ways.
We started meeting weekly and spent months reaching out to local organizations, businesses and artists to pitch the idea and received a lot of positive feedback. We live in a part of town many people avoid, so this project was born out of a desire to better understand the neighborhood and see what we could offer.
Working on this project has given me a unique opportunity to get to know the neighborhood I live in and the other people who live here.
Walking the streets of Old Town, the hub of social services, forces a shift in perspective.
A lot of my neighbors are houseless and suffering right outside my window. We've seen our neighborhood change right before our eyes many times, now with a heavier police presence and constant sweeps. In getting to know our houseless neighbors, we know there has to be a better way.
The work I've done with OPAM weaves together many of my interests and passions.
I am a lifelong artist & documentarian. I have spent the last six years documenting protests which has radically changed my worldview. Documenting the neighborhood I live in has naturally gotten me more involved in my community. Community is the cure to the capitalist system we are all stuck in.
It has led to opportunities to use and showcase creative talents that have gone dormant because of all of lifes circumstances. I've met many artists and creators like me who just want to create but haven't had the chance or access to opportunities.
It's clear that Old Town could use an artistic takeover and I'm here for it.
OLD TOWN CHINATOWN IS STILL A HUB OF HISTORY & ART!
"OPAM is a group of artists, creatives and community organizers dedicated to fostering a vibrant and inclusive arts community in Portland, Oregon. Our mission is to make creativity accessible.
We want to turn our neighborhood into a creative canvas.
Our collective helps emerging artists and promotes creative expression as a means of building community, fostering social justice and promoting economic growth in our city. We partner with local businesses and organizations to create events and initiatives that bring people together and support the local economy."
Learn more about The Open-Air People's Art Museum and get involved.