CCPA Summer Series 2017: Susan Kelly ’18, Portland Street Art Alliance

CCPA Summer Series 2017: Susan Kelly ’18, Portland Street Art Alliance

This summer I am living in Portland, OR while working with the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA), funded by the Liberal Arts in the Workplace grant. PSAA is a small non-profit organization that was made to create, support, and advocate for street art in the city. Muralism and graffiti are often just as political as they are artistic, and unlike many other forms of art, can carry heavy punishments if done without the proper permitting. PSAA promotes street art by helping artists legally display their work, protecting them and their art, educating the community through bike tours and outreach, and conducting community projects involving murals. My work this summer focuses on two projects in the Belmont District of southeast Portland, a historic neighborhood also called “Sunnyside.” Every year for the past 20 years residents of the neighborhood come out to repaint an intersection known as Sunnyside Piazza. The design, an intricate sunflower based off of Fibonacci geometry, is repainted every year with the same colors and pattern but with a different center image. During the long weekend one day was open to the community, where my tasks included a lot of child monitoring and paint distributing. There were people painting who had contributed for years, knowing a lot more about the painting and neighborhood than I did. The two other days were much more mellow, as it was just PSAA a smaller group of volunteers working to clean and prepare the space and later give it the finishing touches. Throughout the weekend it was incredible how much positive feedback from the community we received. People from the neighborhood walking...