The city’s arts community will put on its party shoes and celebrate its collective cool on Friday.
Portland Framed, a fundraising event for the nonprofit group that organizes the monthly art walk and promotes the city’s creativity, will be in the ballroom at the Westin Portland Harborview hotel, formerly the Eastland, and will feature affordable original art, plus music, dancing, food and drink.
“I hope in some way it captures the festive feel of the art walk,” said Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of Creative Portland, which is hosting the event. “We want it to feel special. We’re telling people to put on their party shoes and shiny things and come ready to celebrate.”
Creative Portland touts the arts throughout the city, around the state and across the country. Its most visible work is organizing and promoting the First Friday Art Walk, but it works broadly to attract creative enterprises to town.
Among its goals is to make Portland attractive to newcomers who will support the arts as artists and musicians, ticket buyers, patrons and board members. “We want them to be a part of the creative, intellectual and entrepreneurial ecosystem that will continue to help Portland grow and thrive,” said Alice Kornhauser, Creative Portland’s board president. “We feel that arts and culture is the heart of the community, and we’re here to strengthen it.”
Creative Portland does that with many different programs, all of which are free. Among the most popular of the programs is 2 Degrees Portland, where people who live here serve as hosts to creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who are thinking about moving to Portland.
In its five years, Creative Portland has never hosted a fundraising event, and is a member-free organization so it does not have dues, Hutchins said.
Its annual budget is $252,900. Of that, $100,000 comes from the city of Portland. The remaining comes from public and private grants, corporate sponsorships and individual contributions.
Portland Framed has a modest fundraising goal of $10,000, Hutchins said. Tickets cost $75 each, and people who attend will have a chance to buy original framed artwork by many of the city’s best known artists.
Each piece costs $250. Creative Portland will keep half of the money raised through art sales, and artists will keep the rest.
“We’re billing it as an art sale and revelry,” said Kornhauser. “We want people to experience being part of the scene and the creative community as opposed to observing it, or having it on a stage or pedestal where it is somehow unattainable.”
Singer and poet Lady Zen and her band will provide music and set the evening’s tone with a mix of jazz, funk and hip-hop; the event will also spotlight several creative businesses in Portland. Stylists from the spa Akari will model fashion and jewelry, and Hannah Tarkinson, who has a collection of jewelry and adornments known as Ponomo, will outfit models and servers. She repurposes older jewelry into pieces with a fresh look.
The daughter of former Portland poet laureate Betsy Sholl, Tarkinson appreciates Portland and is proud of her city.
“I love that Portland is trying to bring people together and connect them,” she said. “I really feel the most important thing an artist can do is to show other artists what is possible and help each other out. I want to support that, and I feel that is what Creative Portland is doing.”