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East Portland Arts And Literary Festival Ushers Out DIY Space

JAMS at SE 81st and Division has hosted dozens of arts and cultural events.

JAMS at SE 81st and Division has hosted dozens of arts and cultural events.

Courtesy of APANO

The Jade APANO Multicultural Space hosts the first ever East Portland Arts and Literary Festival.

Musical headliners are hometown heroes Rasheed Jamal and Glenn Waco (check out a new track from them here).

The venue, JAMS for short, is little more than 8,000 square feet of old storefront.

But in under-resourced East Portland, it’s been a pretty effective DIY space. JAMS is programmed by APANO, the Asian-Pacific American Network of Oregon, with community meetings, dance performances, rock shows, art shows and more.

APANO’s Cultural Work and Development Coordinator, Candace Kita, says, “It’s also been really valuable to be at such a busy and complex intersection. It was a lot of nuanced history and has been seen as this dividing line between Portland and outer east Portland.”

But the space is about to transform.

APANO has formed a partnership with ROSE Community Development, a non-profit that builds affordable housing. The existing structure will be torn down, and replaced with a brand new 4-story building with  48 units of rental housing plus new office and meeting space for APANO.

The new space won’t be big enough to allow quite as much arts performance, but it’s not the end of the creative life at the corner of 81st and Division.

Kita says it would not be right to close JAMS without a party. The festival was already in the works. So why not do it on JAMS’ final day?

A number of works on the programming bill concern themes of migration — appropriate for the diverse community around JAMS, as well as the building’s own shifting narrative.

In addition to music, the festival is planning poetry readings, stand up comedy, visual art shows and a book fair — all work by artists of color.

Everything starts at 11 Saturday, going on til 6PM. See the link for full details.

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