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Standing in front of the Albina Arts Center building from left to right are: D’Artagnan Caliman, Vice President, 1803 Fund; and Albina Arts Center Selection Committee Member; Lisa Mensah, President and CEO, Oregon Community Foundation; Dr. Steven Holt, Try Excellence; Marcy Bradley, Chief Community Engagement and Equity Officer, Oregon Community Foundation; Joe McFerrin II, President & CEO, POIC + RAHS; Akasha Lawrence Spence,Conscientious Community Developer; Former Oregon State Senator, D-18; Former Oregon State Representative, HD-36; and Albina Arts Selection Committee Member; Ericka Warren, Try Excellence; Jerry Foster, Board President, PassinArt; and Ms. Joyce Braden Harris, Educator, Speaker, Writer, Workshop Trainer, Facilitator, Community Activist, Advocate for Justice and Fairness; and Albina Arts Visioning and Selection Committees Member
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 August 2023

The Albina Arts Center Selection Committee and Oregon Community Foundation announced today the new owner and steward of the Albina Arts Center in Portland, Oregon. Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc. and Rosemary Anderson High School (POIC+RAHS) will assume ownership September 1, and form a partnership with PassinArt to serve as the lead artistic program partner. The unique collaboration will ensure artistic leadership and realize the community’s vision for centering and growing Black artistic talent.

Together, these organizations share a deep understanding of the local community and its history – ensuring that decisions about the building, tenants, visitors and surrounding neighborhood are informed by the past, present and potential future of the site.

POIC + RAHS is committed to the success of vulnerable youth and adults, providing education, mentoring, family outreach, employment training and placement in 13 sites across the Portland Metro area. They run more than 20 distinct initiatives and have successfully overseen and managed several capital projects including the launch of a commercial kitchen training site.

For 55 years, POIC + RAHS has been rooted in Portland’s Black and African American community. “I have spent 90% of my life living, working and playing within 1.2 miles of the Albina Arts Center site,” said Joe McFerrin II, president and CEO, who has led the organization for nearly 30 years. “Ownership of the Albina Arts Center will further our charitable purpose by allowing us to provide a much-needed community service to support the sustainability and growth of Black-led arts organizations and Black artists and artist spaces in Portland,” he said.

PassinArt will work alongside POIC+RAHS as lead artistic program partner.

Founded in 1982 in the Albina neighborhood, PassinArt follows in the tradition of the Black Theatre Movement, which began in the United States in 1821 with roots in many African traditions of oral history and story to pass along knowledge and grow subsequent generations.

“As the oldest continuously producing Black company in Oregon, PassinArt remains dedicated to the founders’ early commitment to pass on art, history and culture from one generation to the next,” said Jerry Foster, PassinArt board president. “The Albina Arts Center has the potential to be our home base in the neighborhood where PassinArt was born,” Foster added.

“It will bring the next generations forward by doing what we have been doing since 1982.”

The Albina Arts Center Selection Process

POIC + RAHS and PassinArt participated in a competitive, rigorous, community-led grant process facilitated by Oregon Community Foundation – which began in early May 2023 and was preceded by a nearly year-long engagement to create a vision for the future of this vital community hub.

“The process for envisioning the future for Albina Arts Center began well over a year ago and involved the authentic engagement of many key Black community elders and leaders from the arts, business and nonprofit sectors,” said Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, vice president, DEI & Community Initiatives, Moda Health. Stoudamire-Phillips served as volunteer leader on the steering committee that developed the process for visioning the future Albina Arts Center as well as the Albina Arts Selection Committee.

“By seeking out and listening to Black community leaders and organizations, we have yielded a very positive outcome for the historic Albina community.

"This highly collaborative and transparent process has set up future generations of Black Portlanders for successful opportunities,” she said.

The Albina Arts Selection Committee – comprised of community, business and arts leaders from Portland’s Black community – carefully evaluated applicants and submitted a recommendation to Oregon Community Foundation Board of Directors in early August 2023.

“The Albina Arts Center’s engagement, visioning and selection process serves as a great example of what is born out of the deep experience and expertise within the Black community,” said Stephen Green, executive director, Business for a Better Portland; Founder, Greener Pastures NW; and member of the Albina Arts Center Selection Committee. “When we bring all voices into the room to and truly listen to many different perspectives, we are able to create spaces that reflect our collective vision and serve the Black community in authentic and meaningful ways,” he noted

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