Making a mural at the inaugural East Portland Arts and Literary Festival

More than 75 Portlanders of color showcasing original visual art, performing onstage, and conducting workshops. A book and craft fair. A host of fun, family-friendly activities. The East Portland Arts and Literary Festival is back for its second year running, and it's bigger and better than ever.  

The two-day event, running October 19–20, is organized by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. It moves this year to Portland Community College's Southeast campus and offers work in a slew of artistic disciplines—music to poetry to comedy—as well as interactive workshops, discussion panels, a book fair and even family yoga. 

East Portland is a place that has been chronically under-resourced, in terms of the arts economy and the creative ecology,” says Candace Kita, APANO’s Cultural Works Manager. “There aren’t many mainstream arts institutions. All of the major ones are downtown, which is 45-minute bus ride away. We’re really doing something by and for the local community to build our own creative spaces and gathering spaces in a place where there historically hasn’t been many.”

The festival is also intentional about curating a program specifically for artists of color. “Our mission at APANO is to elevate and honor voices that are often unseen or not recognized,” Kita says. “We feel there are a lot of artists and cultural workers who don’t get that kind of recognition just because of the way that the art and creative world has existed in the past, and we want to provide a very deliberate platform for artists of color.” 

Read on for the five artists you can’t miss at the festival.

Joe Kye

8 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Fri
The violinist-looper and acclaimed songwriter will present two performances during the fest. Joining him for the first performance will be Marilou Carrera, in a dialogue about diaspora through music, spoken word, song, and movement. For his second performance, Kye will play songs from his new album, Migrants, a nimble and day-dreamy reflection on his immigrant identity. 

Anna Vo

11 a.m. Sat
The musician, writer, sound engineer, and social justice educator with an achingly beautiful voice will facilitate a workshop called “Effects of Trauma and Creative Self Care.” Like the title suggests, the workshop will focus on the effects of trauma, including common trauma responses, creative methods of self-care, and methods to develop resiliency as individuals and as a community.

Ivette Salom

2 p.m. Sat
Ivette Salom is an artist whose work has been featured in the New York Times and the Miami Herald, and she's illustrated numerous children’s books, including Flow Flow Flow and When the Anger Ogre Visits.  She'll lead a community art project, during which participants will each make a piece of a river using various art materials, creating one connected, moving work flowing between different types of water. Sat, Oct 20, 2 p.m.

Dao Strom

7 p.m. Sat
Dao Strom is an artist of many mediums, including prose, poetry, photography, and song. Earlier this year, she published You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else, a dual-language, experimental book of poetry, with translations into Vietnamese by Ly Thuy Nguyen. Strom and Nguyen will discuss the role of translation in works by women writers of the Asian and Southeast Asian diaspora. They'l be joined by Kaitlin Rees, one of the editors of the book, and Geneva Chao, a translator and bilingual poet. 

Katie Nguyen

8 p.m. Sat
Known for weird jokes and a bone-dry delivery, Katie Nguyen cohosts popular weekly comedy show Earthquake Hurricane. She'll be joined by Carlos the Rollerblader and Jen Tam for this comedy showcase.

East Portland Arts and Literary Festival

Fri–Sat, Oct 19–20, PCC Southeast, $5 suggested

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