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A picture worthy moment marking the first official museum installation by OPAM.

Last spring, the Open-Air People's Art Museum collaborated with the Barrel Room bar on a mural that now covers the exterior of the business in Old Town. OPAM visionary and talented artist, Roxanne Castaño designed & painted the mural (w/some help from other artists & random passerbys).

As a documentary photographer I was asked to photograph the process, which took place over the course of several weeks. I went back a few times to capture progress and get updates and always left with wild stories of what the experience was like.

Painting for over 40 hours outside on First Street, near the rescue mission and a Tri-Met line.

A truly chaotic environment to create in.

And a really inspiring story.

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Thoughts from mural artist roxanne Castaño

"When I moved to Portland, I met Stanley, an artist who carves walking sticks from found branches on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Despite living on the streets for over 50 years, Stanley's artistry and resilience inspired me. We connected over our mutual love for exploring and channeling our energy into art, and I began to spend more time with him, learning from his extraordinary life experiences."

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"Stanley has an intimate knowledge of Portland and its history, which he gained from walking and exploring the city every day to mitigate his pain. He became our tour guide, showing me the city's architecture and history, and we often talked about what it's like to call the streets home.

One day, I asked Stanley what I should paint if given the chance to create a mural in Old Town Chinatown, and he suggested the bridges. The construction of the bridges had a significant impact on the city, and they were also a place where many houseless people sought shelter. With Stanley's blessing and inspiration, I decided to incorporate the bridges into the mural."

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"The mural, located in the Barrel Room, features the Morrison and St. John's bridges, along with "Stanley" and other tags from people who helped in various ways, including some in memory of those who have passed. The project allowed me to spend 43 hours in my community, and I had many houseless people come to keep me company while I painted. They were respectful, engaging, and mindful of me, often providing music to make the painting process more lively."

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"As an artist, I believe in using my creative skills to connect and empower the community. This mural represents the resilience and strength of those who call the streets their home, and the power of art to inspire and transform. I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this project and to be a part of the Old Town Chinatown community."

Read more about this mural on the OPAM BLOG.

Learn more about the artist & OPAM below!