On August 6th, the Department of Community Justice (DCJ) hosted its first ever artists reception on First Thursday. In partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), artists Terresa White, Yup’ik and Sean Gallagher, Iñupiat were on hand in the Mead Building lobby to share with onlookers what their art means to them and to describe the creation process. Members of tribes from Alaska, they worked in collaboration to create an installation called “Here to There and There to Here” which consists of masks supported by concentric circles of wood. The art has been installed in the front window of the Mead Building, 421 S.W. 5th Ave. in downtown Portland.
This is not the first time the Mead Building has housed art from RACC artists but it was the first time the artists were invited to come tell their stories. Community Justice Manager Lonnie Nettles has worked with RACC to bring culturally specific art work to the Mead to celebrate the diversity of our various cultures.
The lobby was full of employees, friends and family of the artists, art students from a nearby school, clients of DCJ programs, as well as the random passersby including a couple from Canada. Londer Learning Center students and participants from the Day Reporting Center were treated to an artist’s talk. Terresa and Sean talked about their background, how they got into art, and how they began working together.
Several students asked questions about the meaning of their art and where they learned their skills. One student even asked which specific villages they grew up in as he was also a Native Alaskan. Terresa shared with the group how meaningful it was for her to show her art in the Mead Building. She reflected that to her, masks are transformative and many of the people coming in and out of the Mead are in the midst of transforming. She told the group “We can make change and transform.”