Client: Emerson Street House
Services: Brand Strategy, Art Direction, Public Outreach, Content Creation
Outcomes: Complete Brand Idenity, Print Collateral, Publication, Design Week Portland Event
Excerpt from the publication
What is this Place? Conversations around the Emerson Street House
Julie: I’ve been thinking a lot about why I call what I do ‘art’ and I think it’s because it allows people to participate. So your work interests me because you didn’t come from a journalistic background. You just had a wake-up-call when you saw Ferguson and you had to go. I think that motivation is something we share.
Now, I want to focus on your curatorial vision for the Emerson Street House. At this point I’m more interested in how the next person is going to fit into that puzzle. And how you’re gonna keep growing this place that develops conversation, asks questions, and helps connect people.
Donovan: You reached out to me when you heard about me coming into the position as Director. And I’m grateful that you did. I didn’t know where I was gonna start curating the gallery. I had some loose ideas. The fact that you had just had your exhibit at the Historical Society and you were willing to bring it into this space without having even seen it. That was really dope.
Julie: It’s gonna sound ridiculous to use this word but I was, I don’t know, desperate to get the show into this community. I wanted it to be in a place where it could create conversations around it, rather than a place that people just walk through.
Donovan: In a lot of ways that was supposed to be the first exhibit, that was meant to be at the Emerson Street House. I really believe that. I think that was a moment of definition for what we’re going to become. We’re in the heart of Northeast Portland, in the heart of gentrification. Your exhibit defines the community outside of the sadness of it all. The sadness is present but it’s not the focal point of the exhibit. It’s a part of life just like it’s a part of life still if you’re black in Portland. I just love that we started there.
It’s important that you had so many people from your community show up. I went out into the community and knocked on doors to let people know the show was happening. And we had actual neighbors show up, and people from other spaces that showed up. I think we did a lot of things right.