streetcar art shelter now underway

RACC and artist Jorge Pardo have begun installing a new Streetcar Art Shelter just outside Leftbank’s front door. This eccentrically shaped sculpture will provide a shelter with “rainy on the outside, sunny on the inside” experience for waiting streetcar passengers.

Fabricated of steel, wood and fiberglass, the new shelter measures 35’ long by 18’ wide by 16’ tall. The multi-faceted structure will include over 300 individual panels in shades of gray and brown on the exterior, with warm hues of orange and yellow on the inside, sheltering passengers north of the Rose Quarter in a highly visible and fantastically colorful way.

Los Angeles based Pardo was the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship who exhibits his work globally. This is his first municipal project in the United States. It is funded by the percent-for-art set-aside for the Portland Streetcar expansion project, and will take about a month to fully install.

Read more…

Get sketchy

Why sketch a still life when you can sketch real life?

At least that’s how the Urban Sketchers see it. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the artistic, storytelling, and educational value of location drawing, Urban sketchers promotes the practice of capturing everyday phenomena through a variety of mediums and connects artists around the world through a network of blogs and photo-sharing groups. By providing an online forum in which people connect through their personal artwork, Urban Sketchers has created a new type of dynamic social media that reflects not only the artists’ individual experiences, but also the living, breathing scenes and cities that they have captured. If a picture can say a thousand words, the Urban Sketchers project speaks volumes.

As a city that embodies all things ‘local’ and ‘artistic,’ it’s no wonder that the Urban Sketchers of Portland have thrived as a chapter of this global network. Combining Portland’s artistic appreciation and support for the local food movement, Urban Sketchers of Portland have designated this Sunday’s King Portland Farmers Market as the next location of it’s city-wide ‘sketchcrawl’ . They invite all artists – professional, self-proclaimed, or amateur – to join in, so maybe it’s your turn to slow down, take a break, and see the world one drawing at a time.

See you at the market!


Hey Leftbankers,

Every Friday through Sunday from now until April 25 there will be an art installation by artist Stephen Slappe, here at Leftbank as part of Disjecta’s Portland2010 “a biennial exhibition of contemporary artwork significant to Portland’s art landscape”.  So, before you head down to Upright for your Friday afternoon tasting session, why not stop by the basement garage space (next door to the cafe) and expand your mind a little?  The exhibit is open Friday/Saturday/Sunday 12-6pm.  For more information on Disjecta’s citywide Portland2010 exhibits click here.

the social life, 2008.

looking back across the rich and varied days of the last year, it’s a bit overwhelming to think of all that has transpired..     at the heart of everything is the birth of the Leftbank Project.   While it’s damn near impossible to pin down exactly when it happened, it’s not hard at all to know that it has.   Some might argue it was born through the events it hosted, and others might suggest it was when the first folks from the outside joined in.   Still others will suggest it was most deeply connected with the physical transformation of these wonderful, formerly derelict buildings… regardless, it was quite a year.    For a look back, get cozy and read on..  We’ll be doing a series of these lil’ retrospectives over the next few weeks, starting with this look at the year in events…

that is, EVENTS!
the T:BA festival, Oregon Manifest, the city’s most happening NewYearsEve party..  for a building not yet even officially ‘open’, leftbank’s arrival as a place for happenings was rather auspicious.   Honestly, Even though Leftbank’s been conceived as a place to gather people from the very start, even the most ardent believers amoung us were a bit suprised at this… The fun began in the midst of our so-called indian summer, as we opened our doors to a mellow mob of marchers holding signs that said Nothing high above their head.    It was a reenactment of Anna Halprin’s ‘Blank Placard Happening’- a playfully austere initiation of the 10 days of performance and festivity that is Pica’s T:BA festival.   As home to the WORKS, the late nite hub and spiritual center of the festival, Leftbank saw literally thousands of creative luminaries and revelers gather within its grand, raw space.   And so, the beginning began.       Just a few weeks later came Oregon Manifest, and with it the most righteous collection of handbuilt bikes and bike people on the planet.    It marked the first use of Leftbank’s Greenroom  event space and also brought the opportunity to host what was likely the most raucus bike party of the year, the Rapha Roller Race.

RAPHA Cross Roller Race – Oregon Manifest 2008 from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the garage, the people from pica were preparing for a month long gallery exhibition and yet another party of their own, this one celebrating one of their greatest patrons, Leslie Durst.  This event, called ‘The Butterfly Effect’, gathered some 120 works she has commissioned through pica over the last many years, and also inspired a series of performances Cloud Eye Control’s latest piece, “Under Polaris”.

Under Polaris-fixed from citrusink on Vimeo.

And so this way the fall tumbled on and more events came with it.. Including the IPRC’s annual Text Ball, a holiday party for our good neighbors, the Trailblazers, and in the spirit of the historic, often mind numbing and seemingly endless election season, Ralph Nader stopped by, too.   His occasion was a fundraiser for his presidential run, and while there’s no shortage of excitement around here for Barack Obama’s movement, it was a welcome opportunity to step outside of it all and discuss once more what the words democracy and citizenship truly mean.

As the year wound down, we couldn’t have closed out without a proper nightcap.. and proper it was when Stylus503 and Leftbank pioneers, Chychele,  conspired to create “Rare Magic”, the most smashing and stylish get down of Portland’s NewYears.   It channeled the boppin ghosts of the building’s jazz club past, and ushered in the new year with fine drinks, fine people, and the finest grooves from DJ Beyonda, Rev Shines, and Leroy Trenton.     All said, ’twas a damned fine time.

creative mayhem at the leftbank

one saturday morning a few months back multimedia artist seth nehil conducted a work session in the bomb shelter of the leftbank. It’s an accoustically potent space — walls, floor and ceiling all concrete — and one that he had sought out after hearing about some time earlier. That morning he and a dozen collaborators descended to make recordings to be used in a future performance piece. For a few eerie hours the sounds drifted throughout, echoes of echoes bathing the old walls with fresh spirit… call it a glimpse of what’s to come. By kind coincidence, writer/photographer johnathon allen happened to also be in the building for an unrelated shoot, and was able to capture this quick video (just surfaced a few days ago).

Find more videos like this on Oregon Media Network