Times are tough, and they may only get tougher in the coming weeks. Artists absorbed swift and severe economic blowback from the coronavirus crisis, and it's left the general public with two big questions: how can I help, and where did the art go?
First thing's first: if you're an artist, fill out this survey from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and this one from Americans for the Arts. Both help local and national funders understand the scope of COVID-19's impact on the arts sector, which in turn will shape relief strategy. Once you've done that, check out our rolling list below for other ways to directly support local creators. We're also pulling together opportunities Portlanders to beam the arts into their own homes: livestreams, Zoom performances, subscription services, and more. We'll update this post with new information as it comes in. Know of something that should be here? Email us and we'll add it.
PDX Artists Relief: Portland's Creative Laureate Subashini Ganesan has teamed up with Oregon's Poet Laureate, Kim Stafford, to create an emergency relief fund to for local freelance and independent artists impacted by COVID-19. They’ve already amassed more than $55,000 in donations, with a lead gift from Ronni Lacroute, a sponsorship grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and donations from 25 community members. Click here to apply.
Hollywood Theatre: Portland's unofficial film school is (like everyone else) in serious trouble right now, and if you want to help, they've written out their needs in one convenient place. Consider grabbing a membership, making a donation, or buying some merch.
Portland Theater Freelancers Spreadsheet: Local director Adriana Baer has thrown together this resource that collates contact info, special skills, and childcare experience for theater artists who are currently out of work. There's a second tab for people seeking freelance services: gardening, graphic design, scheduling, you name it. If you're an actor with InDesign proficiency, put your name down. If you're looking for a virtual assistant, look here. If you're not a theater freelancer and you don't need any services right now, give the spreadsheet a share.
Valentine Fund: The Portland-Area Theatre Alliance has been running the Valentine Fund since 1987 for theater artists affected by "medical or personal emergencies." Artists in need can fill out applications directly on the site, and everyone else can donate funds directly, to be distributed by an anonymous, independent board.
Banana Stand YouTube: Local production company Banana Stand has been collating all the local artists they work with on their YouTube account. Now it’s a boon for difficult times: just hit play all and shuffle on this page, and you’ve got over 24 straight hours of local artists performing live around town across the years before the pandemic.
Good News and Happy Hour from Artslandia: The local arts publishing giant has launched an editorial project called Good News, which includes everything from tips about streaming options (BroadwayHD is free this week!) to live performances from local talent. Meanwhile, at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday on the organization's Facebook page, you can catch live-streamed performances, interviews, and arts-related conversations during the Happy Hour series.
Junior Art Museum: Performing artist Lou Watson, who was scheduled to show a new project at Disjecta in May, has refocused his efforts on this digital gallery for kid-made art. Divided into four sections—portraits, inventions, maps, and the great outdoors—the Junior Art Museum (JAM) takes rolling submissions; kids can snap a photo or a scan of their work and email it to Watson with a description and date of completion. There's also a blog, where Watson writes up quick-hit how-tos for young artists.
Lea K. Tawd Artist Coloring Pages: Portland painter Lea K. Tawd has thrown together a small database of printable coloring pages with original works by local artists. Download the sheets directly from Tawd's site, and head to each artist's Instagram directly to check out their catalogue.
Low Bar Chorale Facebook Live Singalong: The choral wonders at the Low Bar Chorale, a one-time drop in choir adjusting to social distancing, are launching their first Facebook live singalong, slated for Tuesday, March 24. The song list is already up on their Facebook page, and includes tunes like "Free Fallin" by Tom Petty and Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time." (Music lovers’ bonus: A collaborative social distancing themed playlist created by local audio engineer Petra Eloise Manis.)
Portland Art Museum Virtual Walkthrough: PAM has a pretty robust YouTube channel, and a few days ago, they uploaded a virtual walkthrough of their Mt. St. Helens exhibit, Volcano!, which was scheduled to run through mid-May (in line with the eruption's 40th anniversary). It's well worth a look, as is the NW Film Center Vimeo channel, which includes several short films that were scheduled to screen at PIFF this year.
Portland Indie Game Squad Game Making Challenge: Starting April 3, the folks at the Portland Indie Game Squad will celebrate their 9-year anniversary by hosting a remote three-week game-making challenge. People of all experience levels will collaborate to build games online, and PIGSquad will host a wrap stream of everyone's titles. More details to come.
The Portland Music Stream: The Alberta Rose Theatre is solving the “you can’t come to us” dilemma by coming to you with a series of live-streamed concerts by some kick-ass local musicians, from Sávila to Tony Furtado to Lenore to LaRhonda Steele. For the bargain price of $100, you get a subscription unlocking 20 concerts, all performed in the empty theater. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the Jeremy Wilson Foundation, a musicians’ health care non-profit.
Quarantine Art Club: Local artist, illustrator, and kids’ book author Carson Ellis is using her popular Instagram account (99.6 thousand followers and counting) to set art challenges every weekday morning, kicking off last Monday with Assignment 1: Self Portrait. Each challenge comes with some tips from Ellis, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a repost on her account.
Risk/REWIND Video Vault: The long-running Risk/Reward performance festival would, in a different world, be ramping up for its 2020 installment right now. Instead, the festival is leaning heavily on its YouTube channel, which features an embarrassment of content from years past. Check it out for weird, wonderful, envelope-pushing work.
Sick Leave: This virtual open mic from comedy group Cast Iron Productions pulls sign ups from this Google form for a weekly Zoom event scheduled to run every Friday at 8 p.m. Participants will receive emailed instructions directly from the group about setting up an in-home performance space (no word on "how to deal with bombing in your own living room" though).
Studio Gwyneth Remote Workshops: Ceramicists Gwyneth Manley and Jess Graff have teamed up to offer a series of remote art classes for students of all ages and skill levels. Some courses include pre-packaged kits that ship out to participants; others are designed to be completed with household items. They vary in price and intensity, and you can also request private workshops if one of the pre-scheduled time slots doesn't fit your schedule. Check out Manley's personal shop here, and Graff's here.
Thursday Nights Live: Former Dirty Martini member Stephanie Schneiderman and singer-songwriter Tony Furtado will broadcast weekly Facebook Live concerts from their living room, every Thursday at 7 p.m. Schneiderman on the brink of a new record called CROSSFIRE—more details coming soon.