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Happy runners during Portland Monthly's inaugural Woman Up! event at Sellwood Park in 2017.

Image: Jason DeSomer

Do you know what’s better than learning a new skill or stretching some creative muscles? Learning a bunch of new stuff while surrounded by likeminded women, getting inspired by fellow Portlanders launching amazing initiatives and businesses, and consuming drinks and snacks. And then, just maybe, running a 5k or 10k race along the verdant paths of a college campus, with a festival of treats and feminist pop-up shops waiting to greet you and the end.

Portland Monthly is in favor of all these things. Which is why we’re hosting our second annual Woman Up! event over Mother’s Day weekend at Marylhurst University—two days packed with female speakers and women-led, hands-on workshops culminating on Sunday in a pair of run, walk, or roll races for all.

What’s this thing all about? I can’t really top the description from our editor in chief and honorary lady Zach Dundas:

Woman Up! channels the extraordinary transformative energy the magazine covers in its annual Oregon Woman issue, always a snapshot of the state’s most dynamic female leaders and thinkers. For Woman Up!’s IRL endeavor, our coverage comes alive to showcase the movements and people changing how Oregon looks, feels, and works, with an emphasis on health, wellness, and positive change. We all recognize that we’re living in extraordinary times. For all the relentlessness of our steamroller news cycle, a lot of good is being done, especially here in Portland. For one special weekend in May, you can plug into the power.”

While Saturday morning activities include a lively panel discussion on “Redefining Wellness,” short fitness classes, and some inspiring lunchtime talks (more on all that here); the early afternoon is devoted to a roster of more than a dozen hands-on mini-classes, from ceramics and illustration to winemaking/tasting, a whirlwind history tour of feminism (Ayako Takamori), and taking part in a “live advice column” from Perlene maven Kiki Littlestar, who was one of PoMo’s Oregon Women 2017

Rock Camp for Girls’s Kristi Balzer will unleash "Volume, Power, Revolution”—a workshop focused on the inspiration comes from trying something new and finding your inner rock star. Expect, at the very least, to learn a few chords on the bass guitar and to “play really, really loud.”

Carrie Minns, the food force behind local blog La Pomme de Portland, demos some delicious seasonal recipes (tasters included), while artist Ali Gradischer, ceramicist Theresa Arrison, and illustrator LK James are all on hand for arty experiences. 

Geologist and “outdoor adventuress” Ruby McConnell presents: “Will I Be Eaten By Bears?” Expect some straight talk about the myths, media, and toxic masculinity that keep women out of the outdoors. She promises an “emotional and practical toolkit for breaking down the taboos, facing fears, and owning your outdoor experience.” Plus, she says: “the word menstruation will be used.”

Winemaker Sarah Cabot delves into the art of the grape, complete with sips; while Jessica Just of Brew Dr. schools guests on kombucha. Marylhurst’s own Ashley Stull Meyers and Kathleen Murney delve into the origins of the university’s role as a site for female education (and how its half-court women’s basketball court evolved into the well-regarded Art Gym gallery and performance space).

Plus, PDX Career Coach Christine LaPorte helps you plot career domination. (I mean, the opening salvo on her homepage is literally “Get the stuff you need to land the job you want for pay that you deserve.” BOOM.)

Find a list of all Woman Up! classes here. And see you Mother’s Day weekend.

Portland Monthly’s second annual Woman Up! event (May 12–13) brings together experts from across the city—and state—for a weekend of wellness and a celebration of the bold women shaping Oregon’s future and those who’ve paved the way. Get tickets!

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