Election story pending, a few notes from Portland’s art scene

Let's see: Weekend ArtsWatch plus local SEED grants, PBO, "Swan Lake" tickets, museum finalists and FRONT

Photographer Ernesto Bazan speaks Thursday at the Portland Art Museum

I’ve been busily working away on a wrap-up story on the passage last week of 26-146, the arts tax (the one that will provide arts education to all of the city’s grade school kids and help arts organizations meet their obligations to do more outreach both to kids and communities that don’t make it to their events and exhibitions). Because, if we’d just gone by what we read in The Oregonian, we would have thought that measure was going to get trounced, right? The newspaper’s poll was pretty emphatic about it. And then it won by 24 points. So, yes, I’ve been doing a little reporting about it all…

In the meantime or the present time or the even more recent past or whatever, how about some news and notes?

First, we posted some tasty stories (gulp, if I do say so myself):

Tahni Holt’s “SUN$HINE” attempted to provide grist for the mills of multiple interpretations this weekend at BodyVox, which I attempted to interpret in my own particular way!

Martha Ullman West takes a look at a new book of poetry by her friend, Ursula Le Guin: “I could wish that Ursula Le Guin’s recently released collection of new and selected poems, “Finding My Elegy,” had a different title: we have been friends for more than forty years and elegy suggests a silence I don’t want to contemplate.”

Bob Hicks interviewed photographer Ernesto Bazan, who lectures here Thursday, Nov. 15. Bazan: “In answer to your question, I only like to say that I’m a photographer, a poet of daily life, far from documentary and photojournalism. The more I do it the more it becomes more evident.”

And AL Adams talked to three of the creators of Portland’s deepening understanding of the Day of the Dead celebration: “For newcomers, Olga (Sanchez Saltveit) assigns some homework: “Build an altar. Give it a couple of different layers to represent the world and the underworld. Put photos of your loved ones on it; put candles. Make a space to really remember them.”


The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has begun giving SEED grants, starting with 20 arts groups in five American cities, including Portland (Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans and Providence are the others). The three Portland groups that received support are Shaking the Tree (a theater company), Conduit (a dance hub) and Performance Works Northwest (where Linda Austin conducts her wide-ranging movement/theater experiments).

The grants are $10,000 per year for three years. “There is nothing more rewarding than giving unrestricted support and providing broader recognition to deserving organizations.  Robert Rauschenberg was known for supporting artists at the earliest stages in their careers in generous, surprising and unrestricted ways – this program reflects that spirit.”  said Christy MacLear, Executive Director of the Foundation.  “Bob considered naming his foundation SEED so this seemed an appropriate name for a program built directly on the values of the artist.”

The foundation hopes to add cities in the future. The nominator for the Portland grants was the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

I asked Tere Mathern, who runs Conduit what the grant meant for her organization:

Since receiving notice of the surprise grant we are still reeling with ideas and gratitude for the possibilities. With this grant Conduit wants to do more for the community, special projects and programming that more deeply supports artistic work, such as curated performances, guest artist workshops, and space grants for independent artists creating on new work—we need to have more staff to do this, so, we also hope to leverage additional support from our local community that matches the Rauschenberg funding.
Generally speaking, three years of committed operating support that is substantial for our small organization, does give Conduit a nice bit of stability from which we hope to grow.


Yes, “The Nutcracker” comes first, but story ballet fans should know that pre-sale tickets for Oregon Ballet Theatre’s version of “Swan Lake” are available starting today (before the general public can get a crack at them). You know who you are and you know what to do. The concert starts on Feb. 16.


Karl Burkheimer’s In Site at Disjecta/Courtesy of Disjecta

The Portland Art Museum announced the six artists for its 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards.

Ann Appleby, Montana, (American, born 1954)
Karl Burkheimer, Oregon (American, born 1965)
Isaac Layman, Washington (American, born 1977)
Abbie Miller, Wyoming (American, born 1981)
Nicholas Nyland, Washington (American, born 1976)
Trimpin, Washington (American born Germany, 1951)

Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art, and guest curatorial advisor Apsara DiQinzio, the curator of modern and contemporary art at The Berkeley Art Museum, 28 finalists from 235 nominations and. Laing-Malcolmson visited the 28 artists’ studios and presented her recommendations to the Museum’s director and curatorial staff for the final review.

The six finalists will be featured in the 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards exhibition opening September 21, 2013.


Portland Baroque Orchestra has scheduled its Young People’s Concert for 3 pm, Saturday, Nov. 24, at the First Baptist Church. Tickets are very inexpensive—a family of 4, for example, is just $20. You want to give your kids (and maybe yourself) a taste of Baroque music? This is the ticket.


Finally, the dance newspaper FRONT is holding a distribution party tonight (Wednesday) from 5-7 pm at Dig A Pony, 736 SE Grand Ave. Contributors to the two editions of FRONT have included the likes of Keith Hennessy, Jill Sigman, Frank Smigiel, Thomas Thorson, Lisa Wymore (UC Berkeley), Gregg Bielemeier, Alex Gagne-Hawes, Keyon Gaskin,Ryan Boyle, Tracy Broyles, Kaj-Anne Pepper, Linda Austin and more. The paper costs $2. Such a deal!

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