Musician and creative coder Helen Spencer Wallace discusses memory, vulnerability, resilience, healing, and how she made her interactive sculpture, the Brain Shrine. Listen to the whole episode on iTunes or Soundcloud: Future Prairie Radio S2E1: Brain Shrine with Helen Spencer Wallace ▶️🎶⏳
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
In conjunction with PRIDE Month, Multnomah Arts Center is exhibiting a juried multimedia show called “PRIDE” showcasing art created by artists in the LGBTQIA+ Community of Portland and the area. The exhibit begins June 7. An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 7, 6-9pm. The show runs through July 2 and closes at 5pm on that day. Some of our Future Prairie artists are featured in this show, including Julia Laxer, Anna Suarez, Tiana Garoogian, and Joni Renee Whitworth.
All LGBTQIA+ artists will be sharing their perspectives on aspects of their lives – coming out, confronting bias, surmounting challenges, finding love, and celebrating queerness. The show includes drawings, paintings, mixed media and collage, digital media, zines, jewelry, kiln-formed glass, photography, sculpture, poetry, prose and video from 29 artists representing a wide range of perspectives and reflections on life in the LGBTQIA+ community. Please come on down to SW and check it out!
We've been enjoying recognition as a 501c3 arts organization, which means you can now make tax-deductible donations to Future Prairie. If you want to kick us off with a $25-$50 donation to help fund our summer programming, you can Venmo @FuturePrairie.
We have four shows coming up:
We hope to see you around at one of these. Thank you for your support!
We hosted a big show to mark the beginning of spring, with musical performances by me, Vivian Cecylia Tylińska, and Allegra Jongeward, live painting by Jasmine Co, Kathleen Boudwin, and Megan Krzmarzick, comics by Sabine Rear, poetry by Chris Gonzalez, Julia Laxer, and Olivia Marovich, dance by Jaleesa Johnston, photography by Sam Reynolds, and a guest lecture by Roseanna Zanna Colabella. We had American Sign Language interpreters thanks to a grant from CymaSpace. Our show is now more inclusive of the Deaf and hard of hearing community.
We were recently awarded studio space from Portland Parks & Rec. Having a studio space to make and share work has been incredibly helpful. If you know an artist who could benefit from this resource, please send them to us. We want to share this opportunity with our community.
Recognizing a vital need for affordable creative space, the City of Portland and Commissioner Nick Fish, in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, have decided to award Future Prairie a grant of studio space so our artists can develop, create, and experiment with new work. We'll be making and sharing at the Multnomah Arts Center. We are excited to share this resource! Please let us know if you have ideas about how best to utilize the space and uplift our community.
In our second-to-last episode of season one of our podcast, musician and mathematician Vivian Tylinska discusses her Russian futurist-inspired transcendental black metal project, Victory Over the Sun.
"I like to make music that is complicated...to use math, to use the ideas that were developing in the 20th century in classical music using the language of metal. There is definitely correlation between math and music in terms of music being sets of pictures, the frequencies, the way elements interact. Over the last year, I’ve been very interested in microtonal music, which uses notes that are not the 12 notes that are most common in Western music. We get different relationships between tones, which gives you different flavors and qualities of chords. That can give you very different range of emotional feelings that don't exist in Western music. There's math in that, the way that you choose the notes, the way that you arrange things.
Rhythmically, there are also complicated rhythms that have more large scale structures. What I've been doing this year is, I will take off the frets on a guitar and fill them in and cut new frets in. I use 17 tones instead of the usual 12. You get different flavors. 17 is nice because you can do similar stuff that you can in 12 but there are alien sounds, there are foreign and dissonant sounding intervals, which I think are really interesting. Whenever I show people microtonal music, at first, they’re like, 'This just sounds bad and out of tune.' I’m like, 'No, but it's a different tune!'
My solo project is called Victory Over the Sun, which is the name of a Russian futurist opera from 1917. It's designed by this Soviet artist, Kazimir Malevich with text by other Russian futurists. I've been very interested in Russian futurism. Italian futurism was closely associated with fascism, which I absolutely condemn; I have no interest in Italian futurism. Russian futurism is what fascinates me most. I am working on a new project about Kazimir Malevich called 'The Objectless World', based on his ideas about art as pure emotional expression and a non-objective representation of feeling."
Hear the whole podcast episode on iTunes or SoundCloud: Future Prairie Radio Season 1 Episode 11: Victory Over the Sun.
For our latest podcast episode, we interviewed ceramicist Jackie Gow. Jackie makes narrative, symbolic ceramic art as well as laser-etched tableware and planters. She’s a student of International Migration and Public Policy at The London School of Economics and Political Science and previously worked on the Family Reunification Program for the International Rescue Committee, where she represented and advocated for her clients’ human rights.
We visited Jackie at her art studio in what used to be the immigration building of Seattle. Jackie’s art is quite relevant to discussions of the future as we grapple with a federal government shutdown while divisive rhetoric around the potential construction of a southern border wall rages on. We can’t have sensible discussions around options for our future without looking, at least in part, through the lens of the past, and ceramics are one of humanity’s oldest art forms. Jackie spoke about her art practice, the American dream, sustainability in ceramics, and her favorite form of tableware, a hybrid of a bowl and a plate that helps reduce food waste and is suitable for meals from many different cultures and cuisines.
Given her passion for human rights and migration policy, we released her interview on the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After the interview, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we share a few fundamentals of universal human rights.
Hear the whole episode here.
See more of Jackie's work here.
Last night was by far the best variety show we've hosted thus far. We had a packed lineup of artists who were excited to showcase new work on our theme of "New Year, Old You". Our inspiration was dancing into the new year, drawing from our histories, calling on our past, dredging up what we want to carry forward and honoring what we are ready and wiling to leave behind.
We enjoyed an opening invocation by Reema Zaman, musical performances from Joni Renee Whitworth, Maiah Wynne, Layla Laubach, and Whisper Hiss, live oil painting by Jasmine Co, spoken word by Julia Laxer, Nastashia Minto, Tucker Garcia, Kalong Wong, and Meron Medhanie, an inspirational lecture by Natalie Rose Baldwin, and a beautiful burlesque dance by Evelyn R-w.
This was the first show we've held that was sold out. That meant that we were able to compensate our artists much more than we usually can. In our industry it is rare to be fairly paid, perhaps rarest of all for poets. We are pleased to be paying emerging and under-represented artists because we believe art is important to the health and happiness of a community. Thank you for your support as we continue to learn and grow.
For the latest episode of Future Prairie Radio, we interviewed artist, illustrator, and GIF queen Courtney Brendle. Courtney discusses GIFs, the future of visual communication, using art to make tech more human, and of course, how to make a GIF.
Check out the whole thing on iTunes and SoundCloud: Future Prairie Radio Season 1 Episode 9: A Thousand Words with Courtney Brendle.
See more of Courtney’s work here.