Saturday, February 07, 2009

February 9 Talks

Rick Lowe is an activist artist architect planner. His inspirational projects show social practice work spans each. Most importantly, it is the kind of good news so sadly lacking. At the urging of neighborhood kids who knew the community's real needs, Lowe redirected his studio art practice in an entirely new direction. Lowe organized a group of artists to buy a few contiguous blocks of row houses scheduled to be leveled in a very depressed community. The artists transformed the houses into a creative utopia of homes, galleries, child care spaces, spots for visiting artist residencies, a school and homes for people who needed them. Lowe's work predates and presages many ideas of Richard Florida as well as some early ideas of Mark Lakeman's City Repair project which urged more flexible live, work, shop opportunities in a few block radius. The idea that creative designers can contribute business and economic insights was also adopted in the early millennium by management guru Tom Peters, while many of Lowe's principles support the New Urbanism credo which began to establish currency in the 1980's. To an extent, Portland developers incorporate the art community into identity and branding in some development. Pioneered by developers with personal interests in art such as Jim Winkler and Al Solheim, it was made into a repeatable process by the branding element of Ziba Design. It was an part of the Queen Street West developments in Toronto as well. Local developers Randy Rappaport, Brad Malsin and the developer of the Ford building have curated creative businesses into their developments. Yet a truly revolutionary project that respects our established planning principles, revolutionizes a community in need and takes advantage of the very large dedicated cash flows in PDC's 30% setaside for affordable housing eludes Portland. Perhaps Lowe's talk can be the beginning of that inspiration. He speaks as part of the Portland Spaces magazine Bright Lights lecture series at Jimmy Mak's (jazz bar by night), 221 NW 10th Ave. Doors 5:30PM talk 6 Free

The PSU Monday Night Lecture Series presents Julie Alt. Alt spans creation, curation and editing and is a cofounder of the art collective Group Material. Combining these roles is commonplace today, yet is still criticized in some quarters, unnecessarily in my view. Hear Alt's version. Talk in Shattuck Hall, Room 212, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free