Creative Portland Proposes New Non-Profit Dedicated to Create Space for Artist


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,237)

The problem of finding permanent artist studio space in Portland is becoming more difficult all the time and is expected  to be more exacerbated as time goes on.  Artists move into studios  vacated by failing businesses in rundown  parts of cities. As  economies improves, they are  pushed-out – uprooting  artists and forcing them to create  another arts district somewhere else.   It’s a cycle that’s repeated over and over again across the country.  It’s not a new story. And it doesn’t go away on it’s own.

Recognizing the significance of the creative economy in Portland, the city established Creative Portland Corporation, (“CP”) and charged it with supporting and promoting the city’s artists and cultural institutions.   To  this end, CP has a goal of bringing “10,000 new workers, creatives and entrepreneurs” to Portland within the next 10 years. According to a proposal now before CP, Avesta Housing and Federated Companies are among the developers addressing the issue of housing.  But the lack of creative space still needs to be addressed.

Needed creative spaces can only be established through the efforts of a separate non-profit – “Creative Space” – according to the proposal prepared by Tom Blackburn, an advocate for Portland’s creative economy.  In a five page proposal discussed at CP’s meeting on October 3, 2012, Blackburn calls for the new entity “to foster the Creative Economy in Portland by preserving existing creative space that we are in danger of losing through attrition or gentrification and by increasing the stock of creative space to meet artists and other creatives burgeoning needs.” Creative Space would be managed by a Board of Directors and an Executive Director.

Blackburn gave a number of reasons why this separate entity is necessary – through an email.  A compelling reason is  that Creative Portland is a municipal board; that means that all business must be conducted in public.  In order for this kind of work to be successful, there has to be some discretion for all parties involved initially.  Secondly, the work of Creative Space  would require a “concentrated effort with lots of time dedicated to the outcome… one has stepped up to the plate willing to make a commitment of this magnitude on a volunteer basis.”   No price tag has been attached to this proposal yet.

The next meeting of Creative Portland is December 5, 2012.