Oregon City event makes 2024 list of Metro honors

Metro, the regional government, is adding funding to Oregon City’s first ever Indigenous marketplace.

Now in its eighth cycle, Metro’s Community Placemaking program annually awards 10 community-led creative projects more than $200,000. The program supports equity-centered arts and culture-based efforts that strengthen community and foster connections to different neighborhoods across the greater Portland region. Metro is the regional government serving the urban portions of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

This year’s grants include $21,000 to support Indigenous marketplace events, staff and the arts and culture programming in Portland, Fairview and — for the first time — an Indigenous marketplace in Oregon City.

The grant also will fund Art in the Park events at Blue Lake Park in Fairview, educational workshops for the more than 100 Indigenous vendors, three art and culture workshops open to the public and a vendor picnic in Oregon City.

“Representation and positive experiences are essential to the healing of (minority) communities in Oregon,” according to a Friday, April 19 press release from Metro. “Marketplace events have become part of better experiences for community members.”

Metro received 88 applications for this year’s round of grants. The selected projects will be led by, and are intended to benefit, “Black, Indigenous, Latine, Chinese and Ethiopian communities; youth; families; entrepreneurs; the Black and African transgender, queer, nonbinary, two-spirit, intersex community; and people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity,” the release reads.

Other honorees are:

The AfroFuturism Oasis – AfroVillage PDX, $21,000, North Portland: The grant supports the first year of engagement and visioning, following the installment of a few retired TriMet MAX cars, to establish The AfroFuturism Oasis — a healing hub in the Albina neighborhood that integrates nature, culture, art and technology to create a sanctuary for Black and BIPOC communities to rest, collaborate, innovate and access pathways to economic empowerment.

Ballet Folklorico and Centro Cultural Del Condado De Washington, $25,000, Cornelius, Forest Grove and locations in Washington County: The grant supports elder and youth dance cohorts led by local, culturally specific artists through a lens of identity, accessibility and cultural preservation.

The Community at Play, PassinArt Theatre Co., $21,000, Albina neighborhood, North and Downtown Portland: Funds will support intergenerational programming intended to build community, increase family learning opportunities and develop new and younger audiences for theater. It includes programming to support the community hub and literacy efforts at the Albina Arts Center, nine intergenerational play readings with author discussions and family nights.

Community Events for Black Queer People, Black and Beyond the Binary Collective, $21,000, Southeast Portland: Funds will support a series of events for Black-African transgender, queer, nonbinary, two-spirit, intersex community in the spring and summer.

Conversations from the Heart, Black Education Achievement Movement, $20,500, North Portland: This grant will support cultural arts and storytelling workshops with Black middle and high school students who will create a public exhibit at an educational hub in the Albina neighborhood.

Dia de los Muertos, A Celebration of Life, El Programa Hispano Catolico, $25,000, Gresham and East Multnomah County: This grant will support a multi-phase Dia de los Muertos celebration. Six storytelling circles will be designed to capture familial memories with groups that include youth, seniors, survivors of domestic/sexual abuse and people experiencing housing instability. A mural designed by a local Latino or Latina artist will be based on the storytelling circle sessions and the community will paint the mural. It will culminate in a two-day festival

The Ethiopian Afterschool Art and Leadership Program, Oregon Ethiopian Community Organization, $13,300, East Portland and locations around the region: This grant supports Ethiopian and Ethiopian American students’ connection to their heritage through visual art, music and time spent in community.

One Willamette, Network learning and celebration ceremony, Nesika Wilamut, $21,000, Downtown Portland: Funding goes to Indigenous-led efforts to foster an equitable river health movement by centering impacted communities, strengthening relationships, building a shareable curriculum and reconnecting people to the lower Willamette River.

Serenading the Departed, Artist Horatio Law and MediaRites Production, $21,000, Downtown and Southeast Portland/Lone Fir Cemetery: The grant will support a project to reconnect Block 14 in Lone Fir Cemetery with Chinatown during the Ching Ming Festival. Block 14 is a once-forgotten corner of the cemetery that had served as temporary, segregated gravesites for members of the Chinese community during Portland’s early day. Performances of Chinese instrumentalists, Cantonese opera and storytellers will take place in Chinatown and be broadcast to Block 14 as virtual offerings to honor the deceased.

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