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Business Districts Beautified by New Street Art
If you have been quarantining indoors for the past several months you may not have noticed all the beautiful, new street art that has gone up in business districts recently. Thanks to groups like the Portland Street Art Alliance, boarded up windows and formerly blank walls now speak volumes as Portland’s commercial corridors have been transformed into colorful masterpieces from some of Portland’s most talented artists. Safely Venture Out to your favorite district and see what has popped up. Here’s a sample of what you will find:
- Alberta: Derek Yost painted a feather mural on the side of the American Legion on NE Alberta and 21st Ave; Emma Berger produced a Black Lives Matter mural on N Alberta and N Albina Ave on the Neil Kelly offices.
- Belmont Area: Kyra Watkins painted ‘Untitled LXXII,’, which references an allegory left by their late grandmother and Tatyana Ostapenko portrayed a mural inspired by her native Ukraine at SE 14th and Morrison.
- Central Eastside: Nia Musiba created a colorful piece about flexibility and play and Cloe Ashton painted a cycling-inspired mural and Maria Rodriguez depicted a mural of Indigenous, Latinx, and POC farm workers at SE Hawthorne and Water Ave; Oliver Casillas created a mural depicting the Sonora Desert in collaboration with Mad Dad Tattoo at SE Morrison, under the Belmont Viaduct.
- Division/Clinton: Gary Thomasson, Mayfair and Beth Myrick helped transform the shuttered Oregon Theater into a block-long work of art at SE 35th and Division.
- Foster Area: Borrowed Times Sign and Design worked with Robert Gomez who produced a crow mural on Thunderbird Bar and Jay Caleb who created a tiger mural on Starday Tavern; Jamaali Roberts, Christian Grijalva and Edmund Holmes helped transform the vacant Phoenix Pharmacy building at SE 67th and Foster.
- Hawthorne: Emily Kepulis painted this basketball-inspired mural at Communion on SE Hawthorne and 35th Ave.
- Hollywood: Margaret Klement produced a mural of Oregon plants at Rose City Food Park at NE 52nd and Sandy.
- Pearl District: Alex Valle and Daniel Santollo painted murals at Really Big Video at NW 10th and Hoyt Ave.
- Soul District: Christian Grijalva created a mural honoring George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor on Union Market at MLK Jr. Blvd and NE Failing; Henry V’s For the People Initiative will execute two pro bono projects annually for local black-owned businesses or organizations fighting against racial injustice.
If your district is interested in hosting some new public art, The Central Eastside Industrial Council hosted a discussion specifically aimed to businesses and building owners wanting to get art on their buildings. You can watch it here. Also, consider contacting The Talented X. They are an organization doing Portland-wide work around amplifying black experiences and connecting it to the overall identity of Portland. Currently they are putting portraits of local black neighbors and leaders in the windows of our local businesses in St. Johns.