OPB Features Black Life Experiential Research Group

April 08, 2019

In a segment titled Reclaiming Space and Restoring Community in North Portland, April Baer on OPB's State of Wonder highlights work by the Black Life Experiential Research Group (BLERG) a project by faculty member Sharita Towne and PSU professor Lisa Bates. The two recently were awarded a prestigious Creative Capital grant for the project.

BLERG spent a year in residency in Portland's Humboldt neighborhood. Their research included collecting stories of and hopes for this historically black neighborhood. The exhibition resulted in an exhibition HERE || Humboldt at PCC Cascade.

Here's a summary from OPB's website:

In Portland’s Humboldt neighborhood, two artists-in-residence are working to document, preserve, and strengthen black community. Lisa Bates and Sharita Towne make up the Black Life Experiential Research Group(BLERG), which combines visual art with social practice. Bates is a professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University, while Towne is an artist and a faculty member at Pacific Northwest College of Art. BLERG’s newest project — the immersive multimedia installation “HERE || Humboldt” — allows visitors to record their accounts of black life in Portland, view art by Jefferson High School students, and contribute work of their own. The exhibit is on view at the Paragon Gallery at PCC Cascade through April 25 — watch for a pile of opening events this week, including Issue #2 of Towne and Bates’ newspaper, the Portland Sentinel.

Hear the segment which begins at 43:12