Our quarterly variety show features intimate performances from dancers, teachers, painters, singers, poets, and comedians. The show is inspired by the chautauquas of the 19th and early 20th centuries, where people from all walks of life came together to experience education, entertainment, and culture for the whole community. We primarily feature queer and under-represented creatives.
You can read more about our show here and here.
You can read more about our show here and here.
Artist Reviews and Testimonials
Tucker Garcia, poet
"Being in the Future Prairie variety show was a chance to surround myself with people of varied cultures, experiences and artistic styles that still were both different from and simultaneously resonated with my own. Being at the show with other artists, sharing a space and energy before, during and after the show left me feeling supported, energized, and engaged. I left the show with many new connections to artists I admired and could collaborate with. The show pushed me to consider myself through prompts and my art through the viewing of other artists. Seeing and engaging with a variety of mediums, performers, speakers and artists stimulates my artistic process and sends me out into the world with a desire to collaborate. I left wanting to push my art and my boundaries to create deeper connections. The show also allowed me to feel a part of a group that is serving the needs of populations like my own, who are often turned down for experiences based on their race, gender, etc. Being a part of a show that encompasses a wide variety of experiences allows us to ask the audience to step outside themselves and come with us on a journey through the social experience. We ask them to engage in material that is sometimes uncomfortable, or unspoken in order to understand the undercurrents of the world around them. It is, in a word, magic. I’m extremely appreciative for the existence of Future Prairie. For the first time, I feel like I have a platform to reach a broad audience that will support me and send opportunities my way."
M. Sabine Rear, cartoonist and zine-maker
As a disabled performer, I was thrilled with the accommodations offered to me and to other disabled folks. As a queer person, I felt safe and welcome and among peers and caring community. Future Prairie did a wonderful job creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere and being intentional about inviting community connection and relationship building both between artists and community members in the audience and on stage. I was so excited to be in a space where I felt comfortable experimenting with a new way of performing my work. I felt encouraged, and the feedback I received was helpful. I am so appreciative to have had this space to practice new ways of communicating in accessible, multi-sensory ways about visual art. I made new connections to artists and community members, and felt encouraged to reach out to the organizers and performers for future projects. Future Prairie was a generative space for me with regards to my artistic and local community-building. I am deeply moved by their commitment to providing space for marginalized creators in physical and ephemeral spaces that are beautiful and kind, where folks can speak about their various identities with care and conviction, and in support of each other. Future Prairie offers a lot to the queer, disabled and marginalized communities.
Laura Medina, digital artist
"Future Prairie's show had a diverse lineup of artists from different backgrounds and practices, so it felt really uplifting, like a safe space to share my work. I got to meet so many amazing artists and also members of the community that felt seen or related to my work. That always makes me feel connected! I don't usually have many opportunities for VJing in this kind of setting, so at the show I was stepping out of my comfort zone and being vulnerable, which I believe makes me stronger. I shared a message of solidarity with my immigrant community. Exchanging these ideas and learning about other artists' practices can encourage collaboration. The whole evening was an amazing opportunity!"
Maiah Wynne, musician
"The Future Prairie variety show brings LGBTQ+ members of the community together as well as people of color to share their stories and art. I was able to talk about my experience as a pansexual singer-songwriter in a place where I felt listened to and supported by those around me. I also got to hear from others about their stories, saw their art, and heard their perspective. It brought so much to the community and I learned ways to be a more fulfilled person. I am so grateful for this show & community that is being built. Performing in the show made me feel connected with everyone in the room and more connected with the music and art community in Portland. I feel like I have people I can trust to support me and accept me for who I am. I feel more engaged with the community and want to help make Portland a safe creative place for everyone. Performing in the show allowed me to practice vulnerability and openness in my music and art. The show provided a safe space for me to talk about my personal journey, and I now feel more confident in doing this everywhere I perform. The show also empowered me to reach out to my community more. To show support to those who are also seeking to share their stories and spread their truth. It is incredibly uplifting and motivating. Future Prairie has the ability to reach out into the community to help others in difficult situations heal through performances, showcases, and community art therapy."
Rachel Reid, artist/activist
"Nearly every performance spoke to the nature of acceptance of self and others — how people have transcended physically, verbally and emotionally, how we, too, can all rise above persecution. The lineup had a wonderful mix of artists, diverse in backgrounds and disciplines, yet connected through message. The intimacy of the show is a major factor; the space encourages mingling between attendees and artists alike furthering the sense of inspiration and oneness. Watching other people offer their artistic gifts to others in inspiring to see. it takes guts to get up in front of others and these shows reinforce the idea that a big name doesn't make you more of an artist... its the DOING that gives you that title. Anytime that people come together to support and discuss an idea, they are becoming more civically engaged. I am excited to see where the Future Prairie variety show goes from here."
Julia Laxer, poet
"While performing at the Future Prairie show, I saw faces in the crowd who were engaged in my performance... It's a good feeling to be put on such a beautiful stage. It made me feel like my work is legitimate. The show was an excellent opportunity and challenge to perform in front of such a big crowd. Before, during, and after the show, I was able to listen and engage with other marginalized artists' stories and learn more about their unique perspectives."
Natalie Rose Baldwin, guest lecturer
"The environment was not only safe but also inspiring. Seeing people have space to exist and thrive without judgment or fear was amazing. In Portland winters, it's easy to hide and feel isolated. The Future Prairie winter show made me feel connected with people again, made me feel more proud. With this pride, it's easier to stand up for my fellow humans. I also found it uplifting to see artists who work in different mediums and spaces and learn how they find room to be creative on top of every other part of their life. Future Prairie helps the unseen be seen. This work is valuable."
Tiana Garoogian, musician
"The Future Prairie show was an important space for me to practice using my voice, being seen, and performing intimate work in a new way. I found it beneficial to watch so many different types of art forms in one show. I loved watching how everyone had their own style and process. It reminded me that queer artists are important. Art is what gets passed down. We can use our voices and our poetics to share information and lift everyone up. Seeing historically-marginalized folks on a stage, given time, space, and resources to share their art was powerful. I was able to identify so much with a lot of the content regardless of whether I intersected with the same background/class/race/gender. The energy of the room was vibrant and welcoming, from the person running the door, to the presenters, to the audience, to the artists. Walking in to a room like that made me want to be more open and friendly. I met people at this show I didn't know were a part of my community; it made me excited to see there's always more room to connect together. Knowing this show exists gives me a lot of hope to keep on keeping on!"
Anna Suarez, poet
"Future Prairie has impacted my life as a Latinx creative. They do an amazing job at opening a space for marginalized artists navigating a white, male dominated art world. They feature people of color in every show, and Joni also keeps me updated on exclusive Latinx events, which makes me feel seen as an artist. Future Prairie's artists bring their personal background, culture, and identities, which allows me to have a broader awareness of social and cultural issues. I feel such a sense of joy when I'm connecting with the Portland community of emerging artists, and I see how we all support and encourage one another. I have met friends and supporters at her shows that I still keep in touch with. I can learn something valuable from every show. After the shows, I always have a wave of inspiration from watching the other artists perform. It is probably one of the most inviting and peaceful places I have ever performed. I don't worry about being judged, and I get the least nervous at these events."
Hannah Kim, writer
"The lineup featured women, members of the lgbtqia+ communities, and POC. I was able to make new connections with fellow artists. It was very inspiring to see what other people were working on! There was such a variety in terms of medium and aesthetic and tone with the acts. It was exciting and inspiring. The show gave me lots to think about as well as new ideas for my own artistic practice."