After a months-long search, Commissioner Carmen Rubio and Portland’s City Arts program has appointed the city’s two new creative laureates—that’s right, two. That’s a first for the city’s creative laureate program, which was created in 2012. Photographer Julie Keefe was our first creative laureate. Now, Leila Haile and Joaquin Lopez will both serve as the city’s official ambassadors to the broader creative community.
For the week’s episode of Footnotes, we chat with our two new creative laureates about what they’re hoping to bring to Portland’s creative community and how COVID and the fight for racial justice have changed our view of art in our everyday lives. Leila Haile is a queer activist and tattoo artist at Ori Gallery, focusing on curating spaces for queer and trans communities. Joaquin Lopez is a musician, performing artist, and counselor whose work is grounded in personal transformation, self-expression, and Latino queer identity.
We are joined by Subashini Ganesan, a dancer and educator who served as Portland’s creative laureate from 2018 to 2021.