March 21, 2019
In February, Portland Parks & Recreation announced a pilot space grant program offering time and space for artists to develop, create, and experiment in three PP&R facilities: Charles Jordan Community Center, Multnomah Arts Center, and Laurelhurst Dance Studio. The pilot program is designed to respond to the vital need for affordable creative space in Portland.
We received an impressive pool of applications from qualified artists across a wide range of disciplines. We are pleased to announce space grants for six artists: Viva La Free, Adam Carpinelli, Future Prairie, Oluyinka Akinjiola, OUTwright Theatre Festival / Fuse Theatre Ensemble, and Ken Yoshikawa. We are thrilled to help support these artists elevating the community through their work.
Multnomah Arts Center
Adam Carpinelli is a multi-instrumentalist and plays guitar, electric bass, drums, and percussion fusing American styles such as jazz and funk with genres from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The primary goal of Adam’s music projects is to bring about social and racial change featuring justice focused bands, song titles, and lyrics. Adam currently performs and records with Senegalese Master Drummer Massamba Diop from Baaba Maal’s band in a new project called “Walo Walo.” The space grant will allow Adam to build group solidarity among musicians in a shared, collaborative musical environment. Adam frequently works with incarcerated and underserved youth throughout Oregon in a project called Keys, Beats, Bars. As part of the space grant, Adam will offer a music series for people of all ages and musical skill levels including some hands-on instruction that will focus on the African roots of rhythms found in jazz and funk.
Future Prairie is an artist collective. Primary activities include supporting the development of emerging, under-represented artists; hosting a podcast; and curating events, exhibitions, performances, and published works. Their quarterly Future Prairie Variety Show offers intimate performances from dancers, painters, singers, poets, and comedians featuring queer, BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color), and disabled performers. They will use the space grant to expand their aesthetic process and develop their show more broadly. They work towards inclusion by paying and promoting artists from historically-marginalized groups: women, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities, and low-income individuals. Future Prairie will offer 25% of tickets to their next performance free of charge to community members from the Foster-Powell neighborhood and will offer a screening of their most recent performance along with a Q&A at Multnomah Arts Center.
Charles Jordan Community Center
Viva La Free collaborates with youth, artists, and activists through film, theater, mural, and sculpture to connect community. Their collaborative projects provide access to the arts for individuals and communities facing barriers imposed by oppressive systems. Through the space grant, Viva La Free is working on a multimedia project and will be generating the play portion of their project, Black History Remix, using music, dance, spoken word poetry, acting, and visual art to deepen their understanding of the black experience in US history. Viva La Free targets racial disparities by providing outreach and public engagement opportunities to marginalized communities and collaborates with schools and other nonprofits that address diversity and inclusion.
Laurelhurst Dance Studio
Ken Yoshikawa is a Portland-based actor and spoken word poet with a goal of connecting to and uplifting community. He is currently producing a solo show called The Art of Fly Swatting. He will use the space to rehearse his solo show and develop additional performances and audition materials. He plans on engaging in collaborative endeavors with other poets, and sharing the space with them to explore, write, and rehearse group poems. Additionally, he will offer an open late-stage rehearsal of his solo performance.
Oluyinka Akinjiola directs Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater, a Portland-based contemporary dance ensemble. Rejoice’s performance repertoire is inspired by the folklore of the great African diaspora, which weaves stories of adversity and hope with calls for social change. Oluyinka will use the space for her artistic research. Within the context of the black diaspora, her research will consider what brings people together and how to represent community on stage. A pillar of Rejoice! productions is the utilization of a community ensemble. Oluyinka will offer a free workshop to test further ideas of community engagement, test new choreographic material, and to provide a space for people to interpret the material.
The OUTwright Theatre Festival / Fuse Theatre Ensemble is an annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ contribution to theatre. OUTwright has a history of addressing work through the lens of equity. They will use the space to rehearse a production of Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy centering on queer people of color for the first time in the festival's history. OUTwright will offer a workshop aimed at the queer community that will address working as a trans or non-binary artist. After select June performances at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, they will facilitate talkback discussions on topics surrounding people of color in the performing arts. Additionally, they plan to mount at least one reading of a script (Jon Maran's The Tempermentals) that would be free to the public.