Home can be a place you love and a palace of mixed feelings. But at its best, home is the place where you can be seen and feel understood.
As we kick back in the folding chair with a frosty glass and some porch music, we’re thinking about all the comforts of home. Writers Jesmyn Ward and Mitchell S. Jackson trade stories about recreating the places they grew up in. A dozen nonprofits make a home away from home. And some beloved assets of Portland’s parks system — its arts resources — get ready to transition off the city budget.
Portland Parks Budget Cutbacks —
For many city residents, one of the primary ways they experience the arts is through parks and recreation facilities: free outdoor concerts, affordable classes and creative summer camps. Three in particular: the Multnomah Arts Center, the Community Music Center and the Laurelhurst Dance Studio have given generations of Portlanders access to art. But a crisis in the city’s parks budget means changes ahead.
Arts Hub on the Move —
Since 2015, Artists Repertory Theatre has conducted an experiment, asking the question, Can arts groups fare better when they bunk together? The theater offered offices, rehearsal halls and performance space to 11 resident companies, making the most of its 30,000 square foot building. But this summer, all the companies had to move into temporary digs, as Artists Rep prepares for the bisection of its building. We touch base with executive director J.S. May about the ArtsHub’s landing, and what’s ahead in a year of touring productions.
Jesmyn Ward and Mitchell S. Jackson —
Colleagues and friends, Jesmyn Ward and Mitchell S. Jackson have drawn on their own lives to write fearless memoirs and fiction. Their settings could not be more different, with Jackson’s roots in Northeast Portland and Ward’s background on the Gulf Coast. But as Jackson points out, both their work is preoccupied with the idea of home. While their stories engage with difficult and sometimes heart-rending situations, neither of them is lacking in humor. Ward and Jackson came together for a conversation at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, recorded by Literary Arts Archive Project. Hear their entire conversation here.