December 18, 2017

Announcing Our 2018 Creative Placemaking Grantees!

APANO and the Division-Midway Alliance (DMA) are pleased to announce the 2018 Creative Placemaking Grantees! These six local artists and residents will lead creative placemaking projects to engage the East Portland community in issues that affect them.

Now in its fourth year, Creative Placemaking Project Grants provide opportunities for people who are connected to East Portland--including those who do not traditionally identify as artists--to use art as a tool to foster a sense of place and cultivate social justice. Placemaking projects seek to challenge gentrification and advocate for the rejuvenation of public spaces for all income groups, using the Jade-Midway Districts Art Plan as a guiding vision.

Following an open application process in fall 2017, a committee of East Portland residents and stakeholders reviewed a total of 18 project grant applications and selected five artists to receive Jade-Midway Placemaking Project grants of $5,000 each and one artist to receive a Division Street Bridge Reclamation Project grant of $10,000. The Jade-Midway Placemaking Projects provide small grants to artists, cultural workers, and community members who lead grassroots creative projects focused on issues of transportation, anti-displacement, and other issues specific to the two districts. The Division Street Reclamation Project will transform two pedestrian bridges at SE 85th and Division Street and SE 137th and Division Street with original murals, banners, and landscaping to remind pedestrians to make safer decisions in crossing the street and encourage drivers to slow down.

The projects incorporate a range of creative mediums, including music, film, poetry, visual art, and multimedia. The selected grantees participate in the Resident Artist Collaborative, a program of 4-6 workshop sessions to build an interconnected cohort of skilled cultural workers who serve as important partners in the work for social justice. Learn more about the 2018 Creative Placemaking Project Grants here.

The 2018 Creative Placemaking Grantees includes:

↹ Jade-Midway Placemaking Projects

Dao Strom and Neil Aitken

De-Canon is co-facilitated by two Portland-area writers, Neil Aitken and Dao Strom. For this project, De-Canon will partner with Artists’ Milepost, an arts organization located in the Montavilla neighborhood. Artists’ Milepost has invited De-Canon to occupy the Arthaus Cafe and gallery space at Milepost 5 for a 3-month residency from April to June 2018. An integral goal of the project is to activate this space for the local community, with a focus on centering and accessibility for POC creatives and East Portland communities of color, as well any others interested in engaging with POC literary arts. Artists’ Milepost willprovide a physical space in which De-Canon will install and arrange a “pop-up library” and arts space, which will house, for the duration of the residency, our collection of 200+ books by POC writers and artists, and will provide ample room for community gathering and other programming. Events will take the form of discussion groups, workshops, free library/reading hours, shared workspace for writers, readings and other presentation events. Learn more about Dao Strom here and Neil Aitken here.

Solomon Starr
Division Street Stories II: From NYC to PDX

Following up on Division Street Stories: Southeast Mixtape Volume 1, a previous open mic and hip hop series, Solomon Starr will work with students connected to Madison High School and Marrow PDX, a non-profit organization youth-led organization, to collect narratives from SE residents who wish to express stories relating to displacement and regional transit plans. Students will record live audio and film interviews conducted at bus stops from 82nd & Division to 122nd & Division on the #4, #71, and #72 bus lines. The interviews will be matched with original original songs and spoken word poems created by the students interviewers, which the students will then perform and film at the same bus stops where the interviews were collected. This content will be used a part of a social media campaign to raise awareness about the regional plans being implemented by regional government. The footage will be compiled into a film and soundtrack, inspire a series of performance events along Division Street, and later be used to develop a curriculum on gathering testimonials for public forums. Learn more about Solomon Starr here.

Joe X. Jiang
Division Midway Stories

For the last two years, Joe X. Jiang has used documentary filmmaking to connect with businesses between the Jade and Midway Districts, exploring their roots and values as well as documenting their concerns with changes implemented by the city. Division Midway Stories will explore how businesses in the Division Midway District have responded to the safety initiatives being implemented by the city. The project will consist of multiple interviews with business owners and footage from the neighborhood, culminating in a screening with PBOT and the businesses. The project uses documentary filmmaking to help better communicate the needs and concerns of the business owners to the city.

Joe X. Jiang is a filmmaker and musician who has called Portland home for nearly ten years. His movies, which range from intimate documentaries to artistic narratives, have been featured at film and art festivals around the world. His most recent project, The Cutting Shadow, was screened at the 2017 San Diego Asian Film Festival, and is slated for multiple festivals in 2018. As a musician, Joe tours nationally and internationally in several bands and is a producer at Track Town Records in Eugene, OR.

Roshani Thakore
Jade District Contemporary Artist in Residence

This residency will consist of three main components: research and education, community workshops, and a large-scale public collective action. Roshani Thakore will work with APANO Arts & Media Project (AMP) members to discuss Contemporary and Social Practice Art Practices and their relevance to activist work in the Jade District. We will design presentations, readings, and forums for members of APANO’s leadership initiatives, as well as staff, to explore principles and projects of Social Practice Art and discuss successes and failures. Building upon the outcomes of the research and education forums, we will collaboratively design three public community workshops for 10-15 Jade District residents and community members to explore and implement creative actions. From these smaller, in-depth community workshops, we will design a large-scale public collective action from June - August 2018, that is informed by the content from the residency that best fits the concerns, needs, and strategies from the participants. We will research potential sites and events to target the action and use the time for organizing, outreach, rehearsals, content development, and production. Learn more about Roshani Thakore here.

Jake Vermaas and Ryan Nakano
Whitenoise Project

Whitenoise Project is a monthly reading series centering voices of color and folks from marginalized communities. Over the past year, Whitenoise has organized and self-funded eight readings in various venues in Portland. This year, Whitenoise Project plans to host at Milepost 5 or S1 and will be collaborating with Friends of Noise, the IPRC, and IntersectFest for pop up events as well as regular events to serve the POC communities in East Portland. Whitenoise will will expand programming for its monthly reading and discussion series centering writers of color for 2018, with several themed poetry readings/events. There will also be a workshop by a representative of Kearny Street Workshop for a few community arts organizers about how API or PoC-centered organizations can resist gentrification. In addition to two special events bringing in regional or national writers of color, Whitenoise will host regular open mic and lit events featuring local writers of color.

Jake Vermaas is the co-founder of the Whitenoise Project. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gramma Poetry, Capitalism Nature Socialism, and TAYO.

Ryan Nakano is an API spoken word artist, poet and aspiring children's book author who has spent his last year living in Portland trying to find real writing community and as the co-founder of the Whitenoise Project in support of that goal. Some of his work has been published in Voicemail Poems and Riksha.

↹ Division Street Bridge Reclamation Projects

Rodolfo Serna
Division Street Bridge Reclamation Projects

The Redstone Collective led by Rodolfo Serna seeks to bring healing and opportunity to youth by providing art and cultural experiences such as developing large-scale public art. Through the Division Street Bridge Reclamation Project, the Collective will develop community driven mural art. Students will experience the mural making process step by step. The artist team will mentor their youth throughout the experience building trust and relationships with the same way these young people will have an opportunity to mentor the students at Bridger Middle School. We will begin with community discussions about safety, which will lead into the brainstorming and the creation of an initial design. Then, we will take sections of the design to the students so they can participate in developing parts of the mural. Once the mural is installed and complete we will have an unveiling ceremony with the families and friends of the participants, cultural presenters, and the local media.

Rodolfo Serna was born in Chicago, Illinois, but his roots are from Mexico. Serna was initially a self-taught artist until he began collaborating with other graffiti artists from Chicago. From there his work had transformed once again. It was during his time in the Marine Corps that his work became smaller due to necessity. Later, when he moved to Portland, higher education seemed the next logical step. It was during his time at Portland State University (where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008) that he also began doing large-scale art projects with at-risk youth. Serna has worked with youth from multiple organizations and educational institutions in order to develop 30 plus murals all over the Greater Portland area. Recent and upcoming exhibition venues include Department of Community Justice; art and culture program as well as the Public Art Youth Progress mural.

↹ Support from the Oregon Cultural Trust

Additionally, we are grateful to be one of more than 1,400 nonprofits to receive funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust for the Jade-Midway Placemaking Projects this year. If you have visited a museum in Oregon, attended an arts performance, tuned into public radio, or appreciated the preservation of our state’s history, it’s likely that you’ve benefited from the Oregon Cultural Trust, which was created by the state legislature in 2002 to fund culture in the state into perpetuity.

To amplify your support of arts and culture at APANO and beyond, we encourage you to take advantage of our state’s unique cultural tax credit by making a matching donation to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

  1. Total your donations to qualifying cultural nonprofits (including APANO) to which you donated all year. A full list of qualifying nonprofits can be found here.
  2. Give the same amount to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31 by mail or online
  3. Claim the amount donated to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit when you file your taxes. (Up to $500 for an individual, $1,000 for couples filing jointly or $2,500 for Class-C corporations.)

Your Cultural Trust contribution comes back to you in the form of a decreased tax bill or potentially an increased refund, doubling the impact of your contribution at no additional cost to you. Learn more or donate at or (503) 986-0088 or consult your tax preparer.

Stay tuned for more information on the progress of the placemaking projects and ways to participate! For additional information, please contact Cultural Work & Development Coordinator, Candace Kita, at

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