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?
The short answers: plenty of ways, and into your living room. Several individuals and institutions have launched relief funds for struggling Portland-area artists, and we're compiling them below. Donate if you can. If you can't, then spread the word. We're also pulling together a list of opportunities for Portlanders to beam the arts into their own homes: livestreams, subscription services, and more. Buy art from the people whose content you consume. Take a breather and watch local creatives do what they do best.
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.
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.
RACC Emergency Artist Relief Fund: The Regional Arts and Culture Council has launched a $120,000 relief fund for artists and creative workers that will dole out grants of up to $500, with priority given to those who don't qualify for other funds. Artists who need funds need to apply for a grant no later than 5 p.m. on April 13. If you're in a position to give, you can donate to the fund directly and help grow the $120,000 total.
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.
DISJECTA What Needs to Be Said Online Exhibition: North Portland's contemporary art center put together a digital version of What Needs to Be Said, the planned spring showcase for recipients of the Ford Family Foundation's Hallie Ford Fellowship. Check out the 9-minute video walkthrough with voiceover curatorial notes, take a closer look at each piece via slideshow, and dive deep into each artist's portfolio, all directly on the DISJECTA website.
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.
Hollywood at Home: The Hollywood Theatre, Portland's favorite unofficial film school, has launched this YouTube series to provide home recommendations from regular Hollywood programmers while the theater remains closed. If you want to support the theater (and Movie Madness, which they own) from your laptop, head here for a list of ways to give them a boost. Consider grabbing a membership or some merch, or just making a good old-fashioned donation.
Junior Art Museum: Performing artist Lou Watson, who was scheduled to show a new project at Disjecta in May, has refocused her 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.
Live Wire House Parties: PRX's Live Wire Radio, typically recorded in front of live audiences in Portland and Seattle, has pivoted to the studio. Hosts Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello will interview guests remotely for (at least) six weeks every Friday at noon. You can listen live on Live Wire's website or download prior episodes as a podcast. Guests include Cheryl Strayed, former SNL cast member Brooks Whelan, and Pink Martini co-conspirator Jimmie Herrod.
Ohnoetry: Queer collective Future Prairie is hosting poetry readings every Saturday on Zoom at 1 p.m. (You can join here.) Bring an original piece, dig out an old classic, or just kick back and listen while others perform.
Oregon Symphony Minute for Music: While the Symphony's musicians are isolated and temporarily laid off, they're putting together delightful minute-or-less videos of themselves, for example, playing the upright bass next to their adorable bespectacled son. You can also donate directly to the organization who, in an open letter from president and CEO Scott Showalter, will need $5 million to make it through the fiscal year.
Portland Art Museum Virtual Walkthrough: PAM has a pretty robust YouTube channel, and most recently, 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 began celebrating their 9-year anniversary by hosting a remote three-week game-making challenge. People of all experience levels are collaborating to build games online, and PIGSquad will host a wrap stream of everyone's titles.
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.
Making something amazing? Know someone who is? Email Conner ([email protected]) and he'll add it to the roundup.