We recently completed our residency at Portland Parks & Rec. This was an excellent opportunity to have ample space to get together and work on collaborations. We want to thank Nick Fish for his support of affordable arts space and all of the RACC and PP&R staff for assisting us with this initiative. Our artists are grateful to have had that free studio space to make and share work. We were the first cohort to go through the program, and we look forward to seeing other arts groups make use of the space later this year.
Meghan Hole, a Seattle-based graphic designer, volunteered to help us with a rebranding project and designed a whole suite of assets for us for free! Soon we'll have a fancy new logo in all shapes and sizes, a color palette that suits our style, and a few fun merch options available for sale in our shop.
We curated work for and performed at Pride at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in the middle of June! I was worried the outdoor stage would be a challenging environment for some of our performers, especially the poets, but they rocked it. We had dozens of passerby's stop in their tracks and settle in. I think we provided a neat juxtaposition to the hustle and bustle of the festival — a literary escape, if you will. Local drag performer Shenekah Telles gave a lecture on the history and culture of drag, and they shared stories about their experiences performing and experimenting with makeup and fashion in drag. Then we had poetry performances by Rhiannon Flowers, Nastashia Minto, Tucker Garcia, Anna Suarez, and me, and musical performances by [trine], Dreadlight, and Maiah Wynne.
The following week, we hosted our biggest variety show EVER on the evening of the summer solstice. Our theme for the evening was "becoming", and our audience enjoyed musical performances by Lucy & La Mer, Crystal Cortez, Cristina Cano, Merilou Salazar, POLARTROPICA, and [trine], a drag performance by Sarah Jo and Anna Swanson, video installations by Laura Camila Medina and Caroline McAuliffe, a jewelry showcase by Teresa Huynh, and spoken word performances by Anna Suarez, Maryam Imam Gabriel, Selam Habteab, Noah Schultz, and Marissa Seiler. We were lucky enough to get Annie Dang and Christina Provencio to photograph the event, and Libby Landauer provided graphic design services. The show had American Sign Language interpreters thanks to funding from Regional Arts & Culture Council and facilitation by CymaSpace. You can see the videos of the show here.
One of our new mini-plays was featured at the Risk/Reward performance art festival at the Imago Theatre the last weekend of June, with some nice press coverage from KBOO.
We are out in the field all summer talking to marginalized artists about the future. We're recording them for episodes of Season II of Future Prairie Radio, our podcast. If you know someone who would make a great podcast guest, feel free to send them our way. We could use $150 or so to get these podcast episodes transcripted, so they are available to the Deaf and hard of hearing community. As a reminder, we're a 501c3 arts organization, which means you can make tax-deductible donations; if you want to kick off Season II with a $25-$50 donation to help fund our podcast episode transcription project, feel free to Square Cash, PayPal, or Venmo @FuturePrairie.
A few shows coming up:
We hope to see you around at one or all of these performances. Let us know what else you'd like to see from our collective of queer and marginalized artists. We would love to hear from you. Thanks for your continued support!
All my best,
Joni Renee Whitworth