Mistakes get made. You put yourself out there and it doesn’t always go like you thought. But we’re all trying, right? On this week’s show, artists open up about their own challenges, from Pulitzer winners to playwrights to painters.


Alex Chiu stands by his mural at the platform of the 82nd Avenue Max Train Station.

Alex Chiu stands by his mural at the platform of the 82nd Avenue Max Train Station.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

Design Week Portland | Alex Chiu — 1:21

Design Week Portland is back — that time of year the creative community in Portland comes together to celebrate all things design. But celebrating doesn’t mean glossing over the parts of the culture that still need work. It won’t all be cool shoes and sweet looking posters — though there will be plenty of that to see. “State of Wonder” will be hosting its own event in collaboration with the PSU Native American Student and Community Center: The Native Perspective Missing from Design. We’re talking about proactive systems that make for a more equitable product and broaden the design workforce. Join us for a one-hour taping of the show, with 8th Generation’s Louie Gong, Neebinnaukzhik Southall, founder of the Native American Graphic Design Project, color designer Lacey Trujillo, and others, plus post-taping conversations on getting into the industry, and best practices for designers.

Other stops for your Design Week Portland agenda (and there’s so much, really):


Chris Murray, Nick Ferruci, Nathalie Standingcloud and Robert I. Mesa of "Crossing Mnisose" at The Armory.

Chris Murray, Nick Ferruci, Nathalie Standingcloud and Robert I. Mesa of “Crossing Mnisose” at The Armory.

Kate Szrom/Courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory

Crossing Mnisose: New from Mary Kathryn Nagle — 9:39

Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle will be back in Portland this coming week for the premiere of her new work, “Crossing Mnisose” at Portland Center Stage. You can find tickets here. Nagle was part of a very notable occurrence in Oregon last year. In astrology, the technical term for the perfect alignment of three celestial bodies is a syzygy. Last spring, on stages across Oregon, a sort of theatrical syzygy took shape. Three of the state’s most prominent theater companies simultaneously staged productions by indigenous female playwrights — and we had the unprecedented chance to speak with them. Oregon Shakespeare Festival presented Mary Kathryn Nagle’s “Manahatta,” Delanna Studi’s performed her one-woman show “And So We Walked” at Portland Center Stage, and Artists’ Repertory Theatre staged the premiere of Larissa Fasthorse’s “The Thanksgiving Play.”


Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for his book "Underground Railroad." His new novel, "Nickel Boys," is expected this summer.

Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Underground Railroad.” His new novel, “Nickel Boys,” is expected this summer.

Madeline Whitehead

Colson Whitehead Tackles the Unknown — 27:40

For 15 years, Colson Whitehead avoided writing “The Underground Railroad,” his expansive reimagining of the antebellum era. But after all the stalling, his efforts paid off in a big way — the novel won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Although his next book, “Nickel Boys,” is due this summer, Whitehead is staying busy. He was in Corvallis last week to accept Oregon State University’s Stone Award for Literary Achievement. A few days before that, he also delivered the keynote address at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Portland. “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller spoke with Whitehead about music, writing outside your experience, and more. 


HERE / Humboldt will be on view through April 23rd at PCC Cascade Campus' Paragon Gallery.

HERE / Humboldt will be on view through April 23rd at PCC Cascade Campus’ Paragon Gallery.

April Baer/OPB

Reclaiming Space and Restoring Community in North Portland — 43:12

In Portland’s Humboldt neighborhood, two artists-in-residence are working to document, preserve, and strengthen black community. Lisa Bates and Sharita Towne make up the Black Life Experiential Research Group (BLERG), which combines visual art with social practice. Bates is a professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University, while Towne is an artist and a faculty member at Pacific Northwest College of Art. BLERG’s newest project — the immersive multimedia installation “HERE || Humboldt” — allows visitors to record their accounts of black life in Portland, view art by Jefferson High School students, and contribute work of their own. The exhibit is on view at the Paragon Gallery at PCC Cascade through April 25 — watch for a pile of opening events this week, including Issue #2 of Towne and Bates’ newspaper, the Portland Sentinel.

Music Heard On 'State Of Wonder'

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.